Along the Way – Permission to Say “No.”

August 9, 2018

Just in case anybody noticed and wondered, I haven’t been writing any “Along the Way” pieces for some time now.  I realized today that after a year and a half or so of not doing it with any regularity that I never explained why.  I think it is because I never really gave myself permission to say no.  In fact, the deadline for it still pops up on my calendar every week. I’ve never given myself permission to take it off.  Instead I just kept coming up with excuses in my own mind why I couldn’t get it done this week and convincing myself I’d get back to it next week.  Honestly, I never thought of myself as having any wealth of creativity, I’m a pragmatist at best.  So when you are drawing on a shallow well to prepare for at least one sermon a week, a Sunday School lesson, a Tuesday morning Bible study, Wednesday morning Bible study, Wednesday night Bible study, sometimes Thursday lunch Bible study, not to mention trying to write something for the front of the bulletin, and oh yeah there are those wedding messages and funeral eulogies, and……  You get the picture, staring at the computer screen with nothing but a blank stare wondering what I’m going to write for the “Along the Way” piece.

But, I was thinking today as that reminder popped up about “Along the Way”, that maybe there were some of you out there who are like me.  People who find it really hard to allow yourself to say no, especially to good things, or worse just admit, things that might affect what people think of you.  I was thinking maybe I should give myself permission to take it off my calendar, and to write about it, so maybe it would prompt some of you to give yourself permission to say no if needed.  I’m pretty sure God understands, after all He knows our hearts, I know I’m the problem not Him.

Jennifer has a “no” button on her desk that all the kids like to play with when they come into her office.  When you press it, it says “NO” over and over.  I walk by it every day and I’ve never pressed it (I doubt Jennifer has either!), but maybe I should.  Don’t hear me wrong, I love what I do here, and I really want to do it well and to be selfless as much as possible, but I do know in order to say yes and mean it, we do have to learn how to say no.  Some of you might read this and remember that when I preach I’m always preaching to me and letting you overhear what God is dealing with in me.  And here’s my last honest admission.  I probably only ended up writing this inane rambling today because I’m procrastinating that sermon that is staring me in the face and coming up empty.  As Paul once wrote to one of his churches, and I join him in the request, “pray for me that the Word might spread quickly and be honored wherever it goes.”