Last Sunday a counselor in our bishopric approached me with a request to chair a party committee for our ward’s Autumn Festival, a traditionally well-attended party held in a barn on a farm. A big focus is involving non-members and inactive members, who seem to look forward to the party every year. I immediately said I didn’t think I would be up to it physically, but the counselor powered through and I ended up taking the paper he held listing all the tasks needed for the celebration.

I felt overwhelmed and ill immediately, thinking of all the party planning entailed. I knew I could do it and that I would be good at it. I had a lot of ideas immediately; a flash mob! I am particularly gifted at befriending others and have many non-member and inactive friends in the ward. I can be counted on; I keep my word. But I was filled with dread and guilt. I know myself well enough to realize that I’d be flat out for at least two weeks after the party and I wondered how it would affect Thanksgiving and Christmas, a very real concern.

I dumped on myself for the next twelve hours and prayed about it. Then early the next morning, I very clearly remembered saying yes to a calling years ago that I did not feel good about—RS Homemaking counselor. I felt sinful NOT accepting it. I served valiantly for six months in that calling, lost fifteen pounds and hated it. I begged for release and afterward, in hindsight, realized I should have said no when I was first called. I knew what I had to do now. I called that counselor and told him that my serving as chairman of the festival was out of the question.

You can’t imagine how relieved I felt when I hung up on that call. And I’m surprised to realize I’ve never said no to a request or a calling before. I’ve never failed to follow through or do my duty. Frankly, I think my life might have been a little better if I had. People, consider your circumstances and if you don’t feel good about it when you’re called to do something, just say no. God will get over the blow.