Good Things Aren't Always God Things

Stephanie Gilbert, Jessica Taylor and Jenna Allen

by Stephanie Gilbert, Jessica Taylor and Jenna Allen

Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.



Good Christians are busy… or at least that’s what the three of us tell ourselves as we serve the church as pastors’ wives. But don’t most of us fall into this trap? If we are to be an integral part of serving God’s kingdom, we are to die to ourselves and say yes to every open door to serve, whether that open door is cleaning the church’s carpets, serving at a soup kitchen, or leading a Bible study. We should do it all with humility and a happy heart (and face). This is the narrative many of us fall into, but it’s not biblical, nor is it healthy.

When a door opens, even when it looks spiritual, it doesn’t mean God opened it for you. There is wisdom in differentiating between when God opens a door and when the breeze blows the door wide open. If you don’t pause to discern the difference, you may find yourself stepping through someone else’s open door wrongly interpreted as your own. As we abide in Christ, getting to know His voice, we can distinguish between the open doors and clearly see what God is asking us to do. Once we discern those God things, it’s time to make room for them. Some doors to good things must close to make room for God’s best things, and we want to guide you in determining what doors to close and how to say no to these “good” opportunities.

Establish Your Non-Negotiables

First, establish your non-negotiables. Your non-negotiables are the callings God has already revealed to you. One of our non-negotiables is taking care of our families. I Timothy 5:8 says, “those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” We have witnessed pastors placing their families low on the list of priorities. They pour all their time and resources into the church, neglecting quality time with their families and sending their kids far from the church and a relationship with God. Serving God is always good, but we can’t do everything without something being neglected – we won’t let it be our God-given non-negotiables.

Yes to First Things, No to Other Opportunities

After pinpointing your non-negotiables, protect them, cherish them, and be faithful in keeping the first things first. “No” is acceptable even when we say “no” to good opportunities. As ministry leaders, someone asking us to lead a Bible study is a good thing, but since the three of us are already traveling multiple weekends throughout the year and are absent several nights of the week doing what God has called us to do, taking on another small group to lead because someone else thinks we should is not the best decision for us. It hurts our God-given non-negotiables. We need to set boundaries ahead of time to be ready when faced with these scenarios.

Pray, Pray, Pray

Another crucial component in distinguishing good things from God things is to pray without ceasing ( I Thessalonians 5:17). We have been guilty of waiting until an open door presents itself before getting on our knees to ask God for His guidance. But if we desire wisdom, why not start asking now, before facing a critical decision? As we abide with Him and He in us, our desires shift, becoming more and more like His, and making our paths straight. Suddenly, knowing the difference between something good and something God-ordained is crystal clear.

Why to ask ‘Why?’

Ultimately, you need to unpack your “why” when deciphering between good things and God things. Why do you want to step through this door of opportunity? Is it to please people or God? In our walks with Christ, we take account of our “whys” often. Seeing the real us as we stare into our proverbial mirrors is humbling but essential. Are we saying “yes” to everything because we want people to “ooh” and “ahh” over our suave ability to juggle our Martha-sized to-do lists? Are we more excited when people see us serving or when they see the Jesus we serve? The “why” matters. Take an assessment of what you’ve already said “yes” to. If God clearly calls you to a God-sized task, but you don’t have room for it, you might have already over-committed yourself to good things, not God things. Let them go.

Doors may open to dream jobs, positions, or “spiritual” service, but if God isn’t in it, we don’t want it. Only His open doors lead to serving from overflow. His burdens are light, whereas those “burdens” of service are the ones we chose to take. In the words of Paul, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God (Acts 20:24).” Strive to choose the God things now.



Stephanie Gilbert, Jessica Taylor, and Jenna Allen are cohosts of the Pastors’ Wives Tell All podcast and authors of Pastors’ Wives Tell All. Stephanie is a blogger, speaker, and youth minister’s wife who has made it her life’s mission to seek out joy amid the junk of everyday life. Jessica is a speaker, pastor’s wife, and founder of Come Away Missions and DO GOOD Project, a nonprofit serving the people of Rwanda. Jenna is a creative, photographer, tech wiz, business owner, and discipleship/worship pastor’s wife who brings beauty and a clear message into every project she touches. Connect with them on Instagram.