Because you’ve been there, right? In that place where things and stuff, and everything between, are threatening to choke the life right out of your life. Where the requests and demands outweigh the time and the space. Oi. I’m exhausted just typing it.
And so learning to say no has become a thing. A really, really important thing. And I’m not here to say that it shouldn’t be. Because at the right time, and in the right context, it is a skill that must be honed. It’s a matter of survival.
But will you forgive me if I offer the suggestion that perhaps so is learning to say yes?
It’s just that in the hustle of life it’s easy to think man, I’ve got to slow down! something has got to give. And then, by way of those thoughts, you bring as much as possible to a screeching halt. Everything that isn’t nailed down has got to go, you determine. And so it does.
But what if you let the wrong things go?
What if instead of saying no to that ministry you were asked to spearhead, God was asking you to say no to your job. As in, maybe even give it up. Now, I’m not saying He is. I’m just saying what if? Because it’s entirely possible that in a time of the super-sized and the super inflated, money can assume a place it’s not due. In our quest to provide, is it possible we’re providing the wrong things, even when they seem so very good?
You know the answer and so do I. But also, the answer is different for everyone. Which complicate things, a little.
Or does it?
God is not the author of confusion, He is the author of answers. But we must be reading the right Book if we ever hope to find them. So if you are in this place of learning to say no, but aren’t wanting to miss out on the yeses (is that even a word?) here are a few things to consider:
- Are you saying no selfishly? Because sometimes saying yes isn’t wrong, it’s just tiring. Sometimes it just takes sacrifice and the setting aside of self to offer the best yes. And sometimes we just don’t want to. So before you say no, ask
yourselfGod if He’s asking you to make time, room or patience for it.
- Are you saying no because everyone else is? I remember a time when I was asked to do something, not because I was the first choice for the job, but because nobody else would do it. By the time the request made it to me, enough people had declined it that I was afraid. There had to be a reason nobody wanted it and I sure didn’t want that reason plopped firmly on my lap. But I ended up saying yes and, while the task was challenging, it turned out to be an incredible experience. Sometimes everyone else says no simply because the yes was meant for you.
- Are you saying no to protect your wealth? There are times when what is being asked costs money and nobody likes the yes that comes with a price. Especially if the price seems to great for an already tight budget. But when you stop to consider that the price and your budget are no mystery to God, it suddenly becomes easier to give what you feel you don’t have.
- Are you saying no because saying yes is too risky? We all live in our proverbial boxes. We like things predictable and under control. We don’t like surprises unless they come wrapped in a bow. But living sold out for Christ is none of those things and it’ll take you through all types of terrain in all kinds of weather. Getting out from under the umbrella is sometimes where we’ll find the greatest reward. Dare to go anywhere and do anything, no matter how crazy it seems to the world, if you’re doing it for Christ.
- Are you saying no because you’re too busy? Because that may be the worst of reasons. It just depends on what you’re too busy doing. If you’re too busy ministering to your neighbor, or feeding the hungry, or helping the oppressed, or sharing the gospel, than it’s possible you’re arent too busy, but are just busy enough. And certainly every load has its limit. You may even be in a season where the training of your children is consuming your time and to say yes would be to the neglect of that. Never neglect your first work. But if you’re too busy building your bank account or maintaining your stuff or planning to retire with the greatest of comfort, consider the possibility that you’re too busy period. You might even too busy preserving your energy for the pursuit of pleasure. Take care not to put yourself before God.
Hear my heart…many, many things should receive the answer no. I’m not suggesting otherwise. I’m only encouraging that we should be exceedingly careful that we’re using discernment and a willing heart when we determine which things are too much and which are exactly enough.