Are you often overwhelmed? Overcommitted? Do you have a hard time saying no? Then hang around this week. We’re going to start off the new year by learning to say “no” to filling our days with busyness and say “yes” to the things God wants in our lives.
Choose Commitments CarefullyAnswer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:7-8, ESV
If you’re like me, your mind is spinning from one task to another from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning (sometimes before) until you collapse in an exhausted heap on the bed at night. Or early the next morning, because you’re up til after midnight getting things done. I get it. I really do.
Admitting you’re overwhelmed is the first step. We have to learn to be honest with ourselves about how much we can really handle, and how much time we will have to commit to any particular project. There are always going to be demands on our time. You probably know from experience that once you’ve proven to be someone who will step up, the requests seem to increase exponentially. The trick is learning which to accept and which to politely decline.
So how do you know? How do you decide, especially when all the choices are good choices?
Honestly, I’m still learning this myself. But here are a few things I’ve begun doing.
1. PRAY FIRST. This is probably the most important point. Don’t say “yes” or “no” right away. If someone is pressing for an immediate decision and won’t let you take the time to pray about it, politely decline. Don’t be rushed into a decision that may not be right for you. If you’re not being rushed, then take the time to bring the request to Jesus, listen carefully when you pray, and let the Holy Spirit lead you.
2. Remember your other commitments. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “yes” to something only to look at my calendar later and remember I already had something planned on that date or at that time. Keep track of appointments and such on a smart phone or computer calendar. A quick glance could save you a world of headache.
3. Don’t be afraid to say no. This one is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn. Because I am a people pleaser by nature, and I really want to help everyone who crosses my path, saying “no” is hard! I guess I’ve always been afraid someone would be upset with me if I turned them down, or that there would be no one else to help if I was unavailable. What I’ve learned is that saying “no” often gives someone else the opportunity to step up, someone who might not even have been asked if I hadn’t declined.
Pray. Remember prior commitments. Don’t be afraid to say no. Three simple things that I’m learning to do that will (hopefully) make my life a bit less stressful this year. Perhaps they’ll help you, too.
In His Love,