When I first began in youth ministry, I found myself taking on every project and every activity. As a youth pastor, it felt like it was necessary. Many individuals in youth ministry, or ministry in general, find themselves taking on a large amount of work because they feel like they need to justify their jobs.
When young pastors are placed in their positions, the word “no” is very difficult to say. It’s hard because they know there are unspoken expectations. If they aren’t where people expect them to be, then questions arise as to what they are doing in their “job”.
It isn’t just pastors who fall into this trap though. I think, if people aren’t careful, they can begin to feel this pressure.
They feel the need to take on more than they can handle on their own, in order to prove they are able to move “up the ladder”. When you, or anyone else does this, what they are setting themselves up for is failure.
Failure is alright for character building, when it isn’t because you drop the ball, but rather because you slightly miss the mark.
Dropping the ball means you couldn’t handle the task being tossed at you. Either because you already had too much on your plate to begin with, or you weren’t able to manage the assignment.
Missing the mark is merely trying to accomplish the job you were responsible for, but not doing it exactly the way others wanted. This could have been because you had too much to handle, but most of the time its because you just didn’t reach the expectations of the person you were doing the job for,
So, what can you do to avoid overload?
Feel free to say “NO”. I think I have written about this before, actually it wouldn’t surprise me if I did, because I was set free by learning how to say this one little word.
I was at a youth specialties conference in 2005 and Doug Fields shared a message that encouraged youth leaders to figure out how to say no.
When you say no, you free yourself up for the right “yes’ moments.
There are plenty of good things to be connected with, but in order to keep your sanity and energy, you need to learn how to say no.
Jesus said no at times. In fact, He even said no when one of His best friends died. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was ill. Instead of rushing to the rescue, Jesus stayed where He was in order to do the work He was charged with.
By the time He arrived, Lazarus had died. Mary and Martha were upset with Jesus and He actually wept over the death. He ended up bringing Lazarus back to life, you know, because He is Jesus, but at the moment it felt like His saying no was unfair. (John 11)
Jesus didn’t say “no” to show off His power, but because He had a role to play. He had other things that were calling for His time. He needed to care for the needs first. In order to do so, He had to have margin and say “no”.
For some of you reading, you need to find margin. Be wise in your “yes’s”. I think I made that up, but it works.
What happens when you can’t say no?
Well, we will talk about that later this week.
As for now, may you figure out how to say no. Figure out when it is necessary to lighten your load by using two letters, N and O. Be aware of your energy level and ability.
Don’t drop the ball.
Peace and blessings friends.