“I’m so sorry, but I have to step down from everything.”

These were the words I spoke to the pastor of the church I attended back then.  I was serving and leading in four or five different areas in the church, plus I was working two nursing jobs.

I had taken on so much, I burned out!  I learned the hard way how to simplify and set limits.

So today, I quietly listened as one of my dear friends shared how God is leading her to scale her schedule back.  He’s asking her to step down from a major position to do what He’s called her to do.  Though she knows what she needs to do, she’s having a difficult time doing it, mainly because of people.  I think that’s called peer pressure!

I was reminded during our conversation how difficult this was for me back when I stepped down years ago.   I remember my pastor at that time looking at me like I had lost my mind.  This is hard for most women!  Our identities get wrapped up in the things we’re involved in.

People pleasers, we don’t want to let people down.  Problem solvers by nature, we never want to be the problem by quitting or saying no.  And if we’re completely honest with ourselves, the titles are nice to be able to throw around, and often feed our self-worth.

Admittedly, there are times I battle whether or not I should return to work as a nurse.  It’s something I worked hard for.  I immersed many years of my life in it.  It gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment to know I had helped someone–we’re geared that way too, needing to be needed–but, my identity was tied up in it.  I needed it for my sense of worth.   I, I, I, me, me, me…pride!

But God is making it clear to me that He wants my identity to be tied up in Him.  He IS my identity and my worth comes from Him, not a title, position, or career.  Not being able to let go and be ok with that is pride!  Feeling like I need a back-up plan, if something happens to my husband, is just me wanting to be in control.

Controlling and not trusting God is rooted in pride.

I hear God saying, “Let go.  Trust Me!  Let your identity be found in Me, not in your titles and abilities.  Follow My lead, and life will be better than you’ve ever imagined.  Do what I’m calling you to do, not what you (and the world) think you need to do.  TRUST. ME.  Seek to please Me, not people!”

We need to learn how to say that, tiny but oh so powerful, word…NO!  If we’ll  get comfortable with it, the people who love us will continue loving us after we’ve said it.  And honestly, most of them will respect us even more for saying it!

Now there’s a nice way to do it, something like, “No, I’m so sorry.  I won’t be able to do that at this time, but I’ll be praying for someone who can.”

But first, to be sure…

Pray and ask God to confirm.  Just because we can do something, and maybe even do it well, doesn’t necessarily mean we should do it.   When something is noble and good, that doesn’t always mean it’s right.  We should be careful not to get caught up in pleasing people to later find ourselves drained dry with nothing left to offer.  Our goal should always be to please God.

Ask, does this line up with what God’s calling me to do, or is it a noble distraction?  The enemy will gladly use noble things to get us confused and sidetracked from what God really wants us doing.

And remember…

Open hands are letting go and releasing all control to God.  They are open to receive His many blessings, while clinched, tight-fisted hands miss out.


Saying no will leave that position open for another person.  Perhaps it will give someone else the opportunity to step up and grow up in an area that we find easy.  Maybe it’s God’s will for someone else to do that job.

Denying ourselves and saying NO to others, creates the margin to say YES to God!

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

Pray, and be willing to let go.  Let God be God.  Let Him lead.  Let Him bless.  Don’t settle for good when you can have God’s best.


Congratulations to Laurie Whin for being the winner of Giveaway Week 2!  Laurie, please email me at with your mailing address, and I will gladly get “Everything” by Mary DeMuth in the mail to you!

12 thoughts on “No!

  1. fullherlife says:

    Good sharing and question asking sister. Holding “things” loosely, with an open hand. “Thank you God for direction and gifts”…. ~ Love from Maine, Amy

  2. Tina says:

    I left my career to stay at home with the kids. Repeatedly, when asked what I did “for a living”, I felt ashamed to say “stay at home Mom”. In fact, it literally threw me back to a time when I was a single teenaged Mom on welfare -head hung low – no self esteem – it seemed to be the equivalent, (at least that’s how I felt people were judging me) even though this time around my circumstances are entirely diferent. I knew by staying home that I was submitting to what God had put on my heart, but up until recently, I have had to battle my pride. I know my days are FULL of responsibility – I also LISTENED intently to women older than myself, who warned me “these days will go by too fast – and you will wish you had put more time into your children, be careful not to put them 2nd to your career. (In the first years at home, I also volunteered a crazy amount to feel needed or valued?) I can’t speak for all working Moms and Dads – because everyone’s circumstances are different, but being in the military when I married again and had my 2nd family, travel (and adventure) were abundant in my job, as were recognition and awards, but at the expense of being far from home and deeply distracted by the things that were not godly or beneficial to my home life. I know why I can’t have both now, because great anxiety and depression come when I try to serve two masters. xx God Bless xx (p.s. I’m not suggesting people can only do 1 thing at a time, but KNOW your limits so you can SHINE where you’re meant to !)

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      I love this Tina. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I know that “feeling” too…the one that goes with saying “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” like it’s not good enough or something. But, I KNOW the truth is, I’m BLESSED to have been able to stay home. What a privilege it’s been to be there for my kiddos! A gift really. Truly, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to teach and write if I had not been home.
      God bless YOU, and again thank you for expressing what many have felt!

  3. Christina Pruitt says:

    Wow. Really needed to read that. Had to say no lately because I was on the edge of burn out and I’ve felt really guilty about it. This is one of those lessons that is so hard for me to remember!

  4. laurabennet says:

    Absolutely true! Oh how hard it is sometimes to follow this sound advice, but I’ve found that when I really present each situation to the Lord he leads me into amazing opportunities. I had one yesterday! Those are the events that we feel excited about, anticipate with joyful expectancy and walk away from feeling far more blessed than what little we seemed to give away. Isn’t that great?

  5. Ruth Coghill says:

    Thanks Rivera
    Well said. I’ve been there too many times. Since I’ve committed to knowing God more intimately, I realize there is a condition to that desire, wrapped up in being ‘still.’

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