Are you one of those women who feels compelled to say “yes” whenever someone asks you a favor?  Do you spend hours every week listening as your neighbor/friend/sister pours out her troubles which seem pretty consistent with the ones she had last week?  Is your life a traffic jam of committee meetings and volunteer hours, all of which you dread?

Its okay to say, “No.”  Or maybe, “Not right now.  That’s not what He wants me to focus on at the moment.”

Several weeks ago, a woman at church asked if she could nominate me to be an Elder.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I told her I’d have to think about it although I just wanted to say, “No way. What have I ever done to you?”

Fortunately, another friend came to my rescue.  Sort of.  “Do you have any idea how much she hates meetings?”

The woman who asked to nominate me looked more than a little put out.  The fact of the matter is that we need new people on the board, but I really and truly do hate meetings.  Still, the church needs people. . . “Give me time to think about it,” I said.

Fortunately, I didn’t just think about it.  After all, I can talk myself into all kinds of things.  This time I did something else.  I prayed about it while walking the labyrinth.  “Lord, is this what you want me to do?  Do you want me to be an Elder?  How can I best serve my church?”

I walked.  I prayed.  I listened.  My mind wandered.  I listened.  I thought about an errand. I prayed some more.  Did I want to hear His answer?  He does have a habit of telling me to do things I don’t want to do.

Still, I listened.


“What?  I am praying.  How do you want me to serve my church?”


“I am!  What do you want me to do?”


At first, I thought that He wanted me to keep praying about this particular issue.  We have already established that I can be a little dense.  But finally I came to a different conclusion. He wants me to spend my time, right now and in the near future in prayer.  Coming to Him.  In His presence.  Praying for my church and those around me.

What about being an Elder?

I asked how He wanted me to serve my church.  He didn’t tell me to accept the nomination.  He gave me a very specific job. The job I’m pretty sure he wants me to do.

Sometimes it really is okay to say no.