When Church Becomes a Burden

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” ~ Anna Taylor/ There comes a time where you need to realise you can’t please everyone and do everything. This goes for the work we do in church too and here is why.

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” ~ Anna Taylor

In my post called What I learned in my post-graduate job I made the statement “It’s ok to say no”. I remember wanting to do all that I could to make sure everyone was happy and my time being there was a success. Though that wasn’t a bad attitude to have, I soon realised that I can’t please everyone and do everything.

This goes for the work we do in church too.

Mind if I rant a little?

I’m a youth leader at my church and Sundays can often feel like another working day at times. I use the term “I’m a youth leader” loosely because I’m not sure if it’s something I actually wanted to be or if it was a request I couldn’t say no to. I’ve been a member of my church for about 4 years now, maybe more. When I joined, I was on fire for Jesus and wanted to get involved in any way I could. I found so many youth there and was excited to walk this journey together with them. 4 years later, and a few church disagreements, the youth had shrunk in size and I was burned out.

The church began to rely on me and I was fine with that at first. I felt I had something to give and if you have something to give you should give it, right? So, I did. Unfortunately, my willingness to serve meant that reliance turned into dependence and the joy I once had for serving in the church turned into sorrow. I felt alone and singled out as the ‘can do’ person in the youth.

“Lydia, can you do this?” turned into “Lydia can do this and that and a bit more”. I don’t blame them though. Every time they asked me I said yes. Despite how reluctant or uncomfortable I felt, I still said yes. But why? Church isn’t slavery so why was I afraid to say no?

Is it because I’m afraid to disappoint people? Is it because I don’t yet know my purpose? Or is it because I have the wrong idea of what it means to serve God?

Perhaps it’s all those things and more. When I took a break from going to my church for a few weeks and started attending another church I felt free. I was happy. I was able to receive instead of giving for once and it felt good. When I returned, I realised that my name was still on the list of ‘yes’ people. Lydia, can you teach in Sunday school? Lydia, can you teach in youth? Lydia, can you play the piano? Lydia, can you lead praise and worship? My desire to serve was still there so as always, I said yes.

The bible says, “I can do all things…” but it doesn’t say I can do everything. Church is voluntary and no one should feel burdened to serving in the church or guilty for saying no to a church activity. Running away isn’t the answer but learning to say no is and here’s why.

We service a gracious God

God really isn’t happy when we’re working ourselves to death. He receives no glory when our service causes us to be resentful and tired rather than joyous and longing. Your worship to Him is more important than your obedience to man. Our service to Him shouldn’t feel like a chore, nor should it leave us more burdened than when we entered the church.

Our values comes from who we are in Christ

After some self-reflection, I realised that one of the main reasons I always say yes is because I don’t want to disappoint anyone or lose their respect. To say no is to risk rejection and be deemed disobedient in people’s eyes. But God doesn’t just see my actions, he sees the heart that comes with it. His opinion of you is more important than anyone. If your no is justified, be confident and know that He understands, even if man does not.

To fulfill your purpose and not just a vacancy

Saying no to something means we can give a wholehearted yes to our calling. If I’m involved in so many different ministries, it is impossible for me to give my all in each of them. Taking the time to give your all in one or two things makes it easier for you to see where your passion and purpose lies.

Your No could become someone else’s Yes

We are not adequate to single handily meet every need and there are often more people with much more talent than you in that particular area. If I’m always saying ‘yes’ to a request how will the church find someone else to do the work? How will someone else’s talent be found? The church may not see in some else’s potential because they rely on yours. Your no will force them to look elsewhere and ignite a fire in someone else that has been longing to shine.

When you are carrying out the will of man and not God

Sometimes we may be asked to do things we aren’t comfortable with. If the church is genuinely asking you to take up the will of God instead of your own then that’s different. Often, I feel as though I’m taking up the will of people who disguise it as God’s will. But remember, He gives you the grace to be responsible for your own life and gives you the spirit to discern what is His will and what isn’t.

The church should play a part in empowering you to say no. They have to be more strategic about allocating responsibility. Are positions advertised well enough? Do they provide training and discipleship programmes for people to equip themselves to service and support each other? These are some questions I believe that the church need to be asked before placing responsibility in individuals. Without a strategy people burn out or simply leave. I’ve experienced both first hand.

I’m still working on saying no to certain things that aren’t really for me, in life and in church. Saying no allows us to cut back, simplify and focus our efforts. It’s not easy but understanding that you have the right to say no is the first step. I might do a post on how to say no, but we’ll see!

Your turn…

Do you have difficulty saying no when it comes to church? What about other areas in your life? How do you normally deal with it? Did you find this post helpful?

Lets connect!

Share your questions, experiences and tips with everybody in the comments below.

Till next time.

Lydia x


Author: lydia-on-life

Hi and welcome to Lydia on Life! I'm the mother of a very handsome baby boy and work in software development in London. I created lydiaonlife.com and use it as an outlet to share my journey through motherhood. I love food, I love travel, I love creativity and I love technology. Most of all I'm learning to enjoy being a mother and sharing that experience with the internet.

5 thoughts on “When Church Becomes a Burden”

  1. Well welcome back babe. This is my first faith read on your blog and I appreciate this so much. I recently signed up to serve at my church too and my biggest concern was to not be discouraged by church disagreements. What line I loved the most is the following “Saying no to something means we can give a wholehearted yes to our calling” I think that is my way in going forward now. Oprah said it best when people kept calling her for charity early on in her success. She learned to say “I am not able to” not she don’t want to or why. she knew she had a greater vision in mind ultimately a school and a ton of other things. That allowed her later to engage in long term charity on a larger scale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you hun! And you are so right, we worry so much about what other people will think or what they will say about your ‘no’ to their request for you to help with their ‘vision’ that we forget about our own vision. Everyone has a purpose and our willingness to help others shouldn’t cause our purpose to be put aside. If it doesn’t move you then it’s not meant for you.

      Thanks again for stopping by gurl. I really need to get my blogging game back on by saying no to a few things I’ve found myself reluctantly saying yes to. Wish me luck! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my this article speaks to me. Sometimes I hate myself for being responsible, details, timely persons, reliable etc. You are given a position in the church and I find myself doing most of the work. When you plan a event persons are showing up till after the event is finished or sending text messages that they have house work to do. (IM LIVING ON THE ROAD SO I DONT HAVE HOUSE WORK TO DO TOO)

    The nominating committee tell themselves if you can serve for the last two years, you can do it for another years. They don’t come or call you to see if you will be willing to serve for another two year.

    All I console myself with is I’m doing it for God and my reward will be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda,

      I’m so glad this post spoke to you. I’ve not read it in a while but your comment brought me back so thank you for that!

      Church is a lot but through time and experience I’ve realised that church should be a place where people or equip to go out and serve the world. Not many churches do that and it’s a shame.

      God sees you, all of you and that all that matters.

      Thank you for stopping by and hope to see you around.



  3. Hey Lydia

    Hope you had a wonderful christmas. Thanks for replying. Yes indeed God sees me and he wouldnt give his children more than they can bare.

    May all of us have the strength to serve him when we are becoming weary.

    Liked by 1 person

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