Friend, are you doing something you’re not called to do? If so, I want to encourage you today in the area of saying “no” to things you’re not called to … because God called you to do a thing, and it’s high time you allow yourself to focus on it. 🙂
In Christianity today, I see a lot of pressure being put on people to do things they’re not called to do.
Maybe that pressure is coming from your church or pastors. Perhaps you’re being told:
- That you should attend every church service;
- That you should serve at every opportunity;
- That you should step up and do things you’re not called to, just because the church needs that role filled.
Or, maybe the pressure is coming from a friend who has different gifts than you have. Maybe the pressure is coming from a well-meaning spouse or parent.
Regardless, however, I want to encourage you today in this:
It’s okay to say “no.”
Here’s the thing:
If you don’t focus on what YOU, and you alone, are called to do, then a bunch of things occur all at the same time:
- You spend time doing things you are not called to do …
- … which means that same time is not occupied with what you are called to do …
- … which can also breed discouragement, because doing things you’re not called to do is frustrating, aggravating, stressful, painful, and burdensome.
- By doing things you’re not called to do, you are also robbing yourself of the opportunity to fulfill your call in life …
- … which robs you of the JOY that comes with walking in total obedience to God in the fullness of your calling.
- By doing things you are not called to do, you are also occupying a space in the Body of Christ that belongs to someone else. Literally, you are robbing that other person of the opportunity to do the thing they are called to do, because you are in the way. But if that slot was open, they would be more compelled to step into it, as they should.
- And the most compelling fact of all: If you are doing things you’re not called to do, you’re disobeying God. He didn’t want you to do that; He asked you to do this other thing (a.k.a. your calling), and you’re not doing it.
WOW! If you think about that, the ramifications are huge.
The problem is that people will tell you you ought to do a thing, just because they need someone to do it!
Take the church example, for instance:
Let’s say the pastor wants a vibrant volunteer corps of door greeters.
However, let’s also say that you’re the most introverted of introverts. You hate talking to new people; you don’t want to stand in front and smile; you clam up when you’re expected to make conversation with people you don’t know. But, you keep hearing that you ought to volunteer at door greeting!
So what happens if you give in, against your better judgment (and against wisdom), and you volunteer to greet people at the church doors?
- You’ll feel awkward;
- You’ll be frustrated;
- You may likely be grouchy while serving; and
- You’ll start dreading going to church.
All because you were pressured into doing something that’s not your grace!
But what happens if you LOVE media, and you feel called to it; so you say “no” to door greeting and you volunteer to run a camera for your church services instead? Well, in that case ….
- You’ll probably enjoy what you’re doing;
- You’ll be filled with the fruit of the Spirit while doing what you’re doing; and
- You’ll look forward to coming back to church to serve the next time!
Let’s take it even deeper and look at things even more seriously:
What happens if the Lord is trying to launch you into your own ministry …
… but you spend all your time and energy trying to support other people’s ministries?
There’s nothing wrong with supporting a ministry if God has called you to it. However, the thing on my heart today is that God often uses a growth period of general service to build character in people.
When they’re in that phase, the Lord puts a burden in them to just serve as much as they can (e.g. in every department at church that can use them). During this period of generalized service, the Lord draws them to Himself while teaching them humility and self-sacrifice. This is important, for Jesus said he who wants to become the greatest must become servant of all.
But after awhile, the Lord removes people from that generalized period of service and focuses them in on what HE has called them to do.
This doesn’t mean a person serves any less when they transition from the season of generalized service into the season of specific service. However, it does mean they focus. And when they focus on what the Lord has called them to do, they serve more excellently than they ever have … but they serve only in the area of their calling.
The Lord has gradually walked me through this transition over the course of many years.
I can testify because I’ve been there.
Years ago, after I had just given my life to Jesus, I served in everything at the church I attended:
- I was in the choir,
- went to every prayer meeting with the intercessory team,
- attended Sunday School,
- was part of the prophetic team,
- then eventually transitioned from the choir to the orchestra,
- taught Sunday School/LifeGroup,
- taught prophetic ministry,
- did home visitation,
- taught Bible journaling class for awhile,
- and so much more.
The opportunities to serve were endless, and I jumped into them all with both feet!
However, as the Lord grew me more and more, getting me closer to His launch point for this ministry, He began to transition me out of things I wasn’t specifically called to do:
- I asked another teacher to take my place in the Bible journaling class;
- I had to step out of roles in the worship ministry so I could focus more on the prophetic and prayer ministry; and
- I stopped feeling obligated to attend every special church meeting, just because the doors were open.
If I hadn’t transitioned out of those things that were important but not specifically in line with my calling, I’d never be where I am today, walking fully in my own unique calling and ministering the Word to you.
Here’s a key to know if you want to experience everything God has for you:
When God transitions you out of generalized service and into His call on your life, FOCUS. And do only those things that only you can do.
Again, if you’re still in that season of generalized service, there’s nothing wrong with serving anywhere and everywhere. But when the Lord puts it in your spirit to refine your schedule and focus on what He has specifically called YOU to do, you’re going to have to make some tough choices.
And you’re going to have to learn to say no, and to focus on those things that only you can do.
- Anyone can open doors at church, but only you can preach your message. Don’t sacrifice building your Bible-teaching ministry that God has called you to, just so you can open doors at church.
- Anyone can serve in the nursery, but only you can parent your child. Don’t feel obligated to take care of other people’s children when you haven’t spent quality time with your own child this week.
- Anyone can attend yet another conference, but only you can be a spouse to your spouse. If you haven’t paid attention to your spouse in weeks, you don’t need to trot off to yet another conference. Go home and put first things first!
When you learn to focus on what only YOU can do, your life suddenly gets pretty simple.
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By focusing in on strictly obeying what God has called YOU to do–instead of people-pleasing!–you suddenly realize that your priorities are:
- One-on-one time alone with God in prayer and Bible study;
- Your spouse and health (you won’t be around to dwell with your spouse if you don’t take care of your health);
- Your children;
- Your job and calling …
And everything else comes after that.
This means people-pleasing comes after those things. (And, hopefully, people-pleasing for its own sake doesn’t happen at all.)
This means you listen carefully to the Lord about what He wants you to do and where He wants you to go, and outside pressure from outside your God or your marriage doesn’t play into your decisions at all.
This means you zero in on the center of God’s will, and you abide in that, even if it goes against Christian culture.
Beloved, it’s time to FOCUS on what you’re called to do.
The time for people-pleasing is over. The time for robbing other people of the opportunity to serve just because you think you’re some kind of church savior is over. The time for batting at shadows is over.
It’s time to identify your calling; identify what only YOU can do (which includes taking care of your marriage and children); and focus on those things.
Beloved, it’s okay to say no to things you’re not called to do.
I’m serious … it really is.
People who tell you otherwise are using you.
Stop letting yourself be used.
Make a plan.
Get in the center of God’s will, focusing on your dream and your calling and obeying what God has told YOU to do.
It’s your time.
Leave a comment below if this message speaks to you today!