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Living A Balanced Life - By Saying No?
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by Ivan Williams



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Clergy thrive on being can-do people. We love to say yes, even to our own demise. We act as if saying no is a sin. " I'm speaking to myself."  Saying no, however is a valuable word to help us live balanced lives in a world of so many demands, dilemmas, and disruptions.  What's worse, saying yes, and not meaning it, or even worse breaking your word, or saying no and risking offending someone by being honest about your abilities and boundaries to meet their needs? 

Here is a story written by  Robert H. Ramey, Jr. in his book "Thriving in Ministry," to help drive home the point of balance in ministry and saying no.  He shares a sermon from a former student that preached about what he did not share with her regarding ministry while in the seminary.

The sermon is entitled, "Dear Bob:"

"You forgot to tell me that ministry means spending hours in the emergency room with a virtual stranger, passing cast padding to an orthopedist I've never met, and trying to be an advocate for somebody who needs one desperately.

You forgot to tell me that ministry means I'm supposed to know what to do when I get six or eight phone calls from people in varying degrees of hysteria, all of whom want me to fix the fact that people are doing things which can best be described as lewd and lascivious on the church property in broad daylight.

You forgot to tell me that there aren't enough boxes on the calendar for all the things that need to get done.

You forgot to tell me that there would be days when I would strongly suspect that I'm the only one around here who knows how to put a new roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.

You forgot to tell me that sometimes people wouldn't say what they really mean, and you forgot to tell me how I'm supposed to know when that's happening.

You forgot to tell me that I can't do it all myself, that I can't make all of the people happy all of the time, and that people can't always do the things they say they will.

And while we're at it, Bob, you forgot to tell me how to say No!"

What are ways you've learned to say no? Discuss on our facebook page.