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Does It Have Your Name On It?

Does It Have Your Name On It?

You don't have to be overcommitted.
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At this very moment, my children are at Vacation Bible School. And I am not.

If that sounds too good to be true, keep reading.

After years of saying yes to leading and crafting and even performing an uninspired rendition of a "Space Cowgirl"—suffering a painful pelvic situation after break dancing wearing a huge metal cowboy buckle—I finally gathered the courage to say the naughty "N" word, to serving at VBS, which is so rare among women in churches today. I said no.

Clearly, per the pelvic injury, I learned this lesson the hard way.

Surprisingly, what finally gave me the courage to say no was someone who believed in the power of a good yes.

Melinda, a wise woman in my church, regularly welcomes others to join whatever God is up to by asking them to serve. She begins every gracious invitation—to lead at VBS, to provide a meal, to rake a lawn, to host a shower, or to offer a ride—with some form of "I'm just wondering if this has your name on it . . ."

Can you hear the freedom in those words?

  • Implicit is the acknowledgement that whatever the legitimate need, the person she's asking may or may not be called to meet it.

  • Inherent in the "ask" itself is the freedom to respond with a yes or with a no.

  • Understood is a confident certainty that God will provide someone to meet the need.

We serve God most faithfully when we use what we have been given.

Basically, Melinda's gracious style of invitation to serve others is no less than kingdom genius.

And it's so much more than a clever marketing strategy. Melinda truly believes that declining to serve where we're not called opens up a blessed opportunity for someone who is called and equipped.

Her wisdom resonates with the wisdom of Paul, who suggested that the body functions as it should precisely when those of us who are ears aren't trying to see, and those of us who are eyes aren't attempting to hear! In Peter's letter to scattered believers, he similarly exhorts, "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another" (1 Peter 4:10). We serve God most faithfully when we use what we have been given.

In Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, pastor and author Adam McHugh recognizes that while many of the ministry opportunities are well-suited for extroverts, a lot of the roles esteemed in the church aren't good fits for introverts. McHugh encourages introverts to release the burden of squeezing into a mold that doesn't fit and, instead, seize those opportunities that complement their natural giftings.

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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck is a TCW regular contributor. Follow her on Twitter @MargotStarbuck.

Sign up for TCW's free e-newsletter, Lifework with Diane Paddison, for biweekly updates and encouragement for women who desire to pursue God through their calling and career.
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Margaret Frothingham

June 28, 2014  1:40pm

Amen, Margot! M

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Kimberly Harms

June 27, 2014  3:03pm

Amen!

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annie55

June 26, 2014  9:11am

I believe in the power of a good NO and also a good YES. We had a woman at church who wanted to be involved in EVERYTHING. Unfortunately she was so stressed out from being overextended that she did a poor job on everything, and was very difficult to work with; soon there were fewer people willing to work with her, which of course made things even more difficult for her ("How come I have to do everything by myself!? Why won't anyone help me?,) and it just became a vicious cycle. When church Council finally stepped in and suggested she free herself from some of these things (for her own good and ours) and let others also have an opportunity to serve, she was so offended she actually quit the church ("No one appreciates me!") Immediately 12 people stepped forward saying they had been waiting for an opportunity to serve in this capacity or that, but were unwilling to deal with her. The shame is that if she had just stuck to what she was REALLY called to do, she would have done great!

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