Sometimes I tell people I'll pray about whether I should be involved in their project or ministry and then I commit or pass without actually praying about it. Maybe that's just me.
Some things are an easy "yes" but for anything that requires more than about an hour of my time, I give myself a chance to think it through. Sometimes I consult my calendar, my mother, my husband...but I don't always specifically pray about it and wait for a response.
Recently I was asked to help with a large leadership event held at our church, fulfilling the same role I held last year. Last year, it ended up being the equivalent of a part-time job for about three months and a full time job for a couple of weeks. I told the team leader I'd pray about it.
I sat down with my journal, Bible and pen and a few strategic questions in mind, expecting an easy "yes."
As I went through the questions, read some scripture, sat quietly and listened...I was surprised when the answer started to turn into a "no." I was reminded that there are things in my current season of life that only I can do, and that I know God has called me to do...and that the position for the event could be filled by someone else. I knew God was leading me to cut back and simplify.
I called the staff person and told him the news. A week later I was having coffee with the gal I passed the baton to, an acquaintance I've known for years. She's going to do a terrific job. A few weeks later, I found myself at the orientation lunch, serving food and coffee to the people who'd served on my various teams the year before. It was surreal, but it felt right.
The confirmations that I made the right choice kept coming.
Within a week, I learned that another ministry team I'd been a part of for years was being absorbed into a larger ministry, eliminating my role. An event I was supposed to help with ended up being postponed and yet another project was cancelled. It was like God was taking a giant celestial eraser to my calendar...and it all started with praying and listening.
I had to wonder...what had I missed out on over the years when I dove in to projects head first without seeking God beforehand? Now when I say I'm going to pray about something, I really do. Sometimes it means I'll be leading teams and sometimes it means I'll be serving dessert to the team. Either way, knowing I'm fulfilling God's will for me is the best place to be.
Isaiah 30:21 "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."