Leading with a No.

Recently I have been thinking alot on leadership, and what leaving a legacy means. (Thanks to David Landrith for that six week series by the way!) There’s been talk of leadership changing, leadership growing, the direction of leadership…and ultimately what my leadership leaves behind. David has reiterated over the last six weeks that the life we are leading now is our very own funeral sermon, our obituary.

If you are like me, I hadn’t really given that much thought. At 32 I don’t really contemplate death and what my funeral will be like. (In my early twenties I did dwell on that far too much…and the journals from that time detail what I wanted should I pass) I have been more conscience of what my life is saying about me though over the last year, whether I realized it or not. For a time it said I was too wrapped up in a relationship to notice red flags about the situation. It said I was too focused on a person instead of on God. It read like a anthem that busy was the way life should be led.

Photo courtesy of nursinguniforms.net
Photo courtesy of nursinguniforms.net

There were things I said no to this last year that I can be proud of. I took a volunteer position that ultimately was not in line with what I felt God was doing in my life. I respectfully stepped down, with no guilt, no shame, and no regret. It is a great opportunity, but not for my legacy. I struggled with the decision to change churches. Not for someone, but for my own spiritual growth and development. I had felt the call to this church, even before I moved to Nashville (long and awesome story later…). I don’t regret leaving CP because I know it is doing amazing things for the kingdom, but it wasn’t where I was called at this time in my life. While it was difficult to step away from the college ministry there, I know God’s got something even grander in store in my journey.

So often these days we feel called to say yes to everything, then complain when we are worn out, overbooked, and stressed. I control my schedule for the most part and I allow in what I feel I am passionate and called to do. But the bragging of busy is overrated and inexcusable in everyone’s life.

In saying no, it doesn’t make me a lesser person or weaker leader. In giving a no, I am fervently deepening the yeses I say. That is the most powerful thing as a person, as a believer I have, is the power of a yes. The yes to God in my life, the yes to where He is leading, and the yes of obedience. Those are the yeses I value. Sometimes does it hurt to say no? Absolutely. Is there a struggle to decide? Most definitely. But when I say no, even to something incredibly good, I make space to say yes to the audaciously great.

Knowing that, I can live with a few more “no”s in my life.

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