Age and maturity has helped me improve at discerning what I can do and should do based on my strengths, weaknesses, passions and dreams. It’s freeing when we become more certain in who God has wired us to be and who He has not.
Still, I’ve learned (through many different seasons) that there are often more opportunities than time in life…even God-honoring, seemingly good opportunities. Recently, I have had to say no to some great opportunities. These were things that I would have clearly thought had to be “God appointed”, but as much as they line with my strengths, passions, and dreams I have for my life, I said “no” to them.
How do you know when to say no to what looks like a good thing…perhaps initially even like a “God thing”?
Here are four things I look for in examining my heart before responding. I say no when:
The decision conflicts with the personal vision God has placed on my heart during this season of my life. I do not believe I’m called to a place as much as I’m called to a Person…through my relationship with Jesus Christ. There are seasons of life, however, where I know He has positioned me in a place “for such a time as this”. I’m in that place now.
My heart doesn’t line up with this decision…I can get no “peace” about saying “yes”. This requires consistent prayer and wrestling with the decision, but the more I practice this discipline the more confident I become in sensing God’s specific will for my life.
When the calling of God on my life says no. This is the overall call on my life rather than a situational decision. For example, I recently had an opportunity presented which would have taken me completely away from church planting, but I know that God has a call on my life to be involved in planting churches at some level.
When my personal strengths and interests don’t match the opportunity and I don’t sense an urgency from God. I have learned that situational or physical limitations aren’t a factor if God is in the mix. He can part waters if they are in the way, so I can do things outside of my strengths, but in my life God does seem to usually work within the experiences and gifting He has granted me. Why would He waste the investments He has made in me? Therefore, apart from a sense that God is challenging me in a direction outside my gifting, I can rest within the place where He has been preparing me.
Notice all of these have to do with the heart. Discerning the heart of the decision is critical and requires a consistent, close, seeking the heart of God relationship with the Father. I realize it’s much easier to write this post than to live this post, but hopefully this will help you as you too wrestle with the seemingly good, even sometimes seemingly God opportunities.
I wish I had used this paradigm earlier in life, because it would have saved me some heartache.
Do you need to think through this issue today?
What “good thing/s” do you need to say “no” to during this season of your life?
Make this post better. Share your stories of wrestling through a decision that seemed like a good thing at the time.
For further thought, consider this post I wrote on 5 Ways to Help Determine if Your Plans are God’s Plans.