This post first appeared on Janet Sketchley’s blog on Friday, February 26, 2016.
I usually have my post to Janet well ahead of the deadline, but not this month. In fact, I needed a nudge—even though I had a reminder in my day planner. Sometimes that just isn’t enough.
I have recently started covering for our church administrator while she’s on maternity leave. I enjoy the job, but it does leave me scrambling because of the other responsibilities I am also juggling.
This post may very well be a case of “do what I say, not what I do,” but here goes.
Just how can we determine if we should take on any given task? Here are six ways you may want to consider the next time someone asks, “Oh, could you . . .”
Pray About It
If you’re a Christian this may seem self-evident, but how many times do we take on something without asking the Lord for wisdom? We can’t do all the things that are asked of us—not even all the good things.
Evaluate the Task
How long will it take? Does it fit naturally into our schedule? Will we have to set aside something that should remain a priority? Will it hinder our ability to fulfill our current tasks effectively? Will it steal the downtime that is crucial to our mental and emotional well-being?
Give Something Up
I once heard a speaker say she never took on a new task without setting aside one she was already doing. Talk about self-control! I can’t see myself doing this—at least not yet.
Remember . . . No Is Not a Bad Word
Some of us have difficulty saying no when we’re asked to do something. We don’t want to let the other person down. We don’t want to miss an opportunity God has for us. This is another key reason we need to pray before we take on a task. God promises to give wisdom to those who ask. Plus, He will give us the ability to graciously decline if that’s what’s necessary. We must remember, too, that it is His responsibility to deal with how the other person responds. We shouldn’t buckle under pressure if we are confident God has not called us to a specific task—at least not at this time.
Consult Your Spouse or a Trusted Friend
If it’s going to put a strain on the relationship with our spouse, it’s likely best to beg off. I have such an easygoing hubby sometimes I don’t think to ask him what he things of such and such a decision. He is always gracious and never makes me feel bad about making up my own mind, but I really should keep him in the loop . . . and not always after the fact. And whether we’re married or not, a trusted friend can often give us a perspective we can’t see because we’re just too close to the situation.
Finally . . . Pray Some More
Sometimes we take on something and it’s good for a season, but we just keep doing it even after that season is over. Praying over our schedule regularly is a good habit to get into. As I’ve often said, no matter how much I love my lists, the only To Do list that really matters is the one God has prepared for me. And the only way to discover what’s on that list is to dig into His Word and pray—lots!
So . . . are you taking on too much? Why not review these pointers and make changes to your To Do list as needed. I just may have to do the same.
Contributed by Stephanie Nickel, CES writer and editor