My mom and I had been riding around for about an hour and I was lost in my plans for the day, when the sound of my cell phone interrupted my thoughts. It was someone I hadn’t heard from in over a year. She excitedly stated that she’d been trying to get in contact with me for a while.
After we inquired about each other’s families and health, she stated that she had an urgent need for my assistance. I was attentive as she explained the situation. She was going through a challenging time in her life and her need was very evident.
As I considered her request and the time I’d need to invest in helping her, I informed her that I’d be available in two weeks. Then, I offered other resources to help her in the meantime. Her disappointment was palpable. I knew she wanted (and maybe even needed) immediate assistance, but I was under the pressure of several approaching deadlines and other commitments.
When the call ended, my mother (who had witnessed the entire conversation) was shocked. She asked, “How do you know that she does not need you right now?” I simply replied, “I need me right now.” I knew what was pressing on my calendar, and I knew what was heavy on my heart. I knew the things I had already committed to, and I knew those things deserved my attention and my resources.
In the past, when I was under pressure or needed rejuvenation and someone requested my assistance, I’d feel guilty for not being available. As a result, there were many instances when I pushed my needs aside and assisted them. But after ten years in full time ministry, I have learned the importance of saying, “No” or at least “Not right now”.
I am committed to helping people understand and receive the love of our Heavenly Father, but God has not asked me to take on every need or every request for help. He wants me to follow His leading which protects me from becoming overwhelmed, over-committed and over-it-all (aka burned out).
With that, I no longer ignore the fact that my physical and emotional well-being matter to God, as much as the people I support and pray with. I no longer value everyone’s needs above my own and I no longer feel guilty about saying, “No”. Most importantly, I no longer forget that I am His beloved child too.