What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: It’s Okay to Say No

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.


It’s Okay to Say No

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Proverbs 3:21-22 NIV

saying-noThis is such a great opportunity to serve! I’ve really wanted to read this book or do this Bible study. I’ll join this group because I’ve been looking for buddies to work out with. I really need to take this class because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that. If I don’t agree to help plan that, who will? Besides, they need me!

Guilty of any of these? I know I am. Wanting to help, wanting to learn new things, wanting to find ways to connect socially is not a bad thing. Overcommitting yourself to the point of stress in your life is. We can always justify what we think we should be doing, as well as what we simply want to do. Unfortunately, we have only so much of us to go around, and we can start to feel like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” One of the most apt descriptions I’ve ever heard!

Most women are natural caretakers. There’s a joke about what would’ve happened had the three wise men who came to baby Jesus been three wise women instead. They’d have asked directions, shown up on time, helped deliver the baby, brought practical gifts like diapers, made a few casseroles for Mary to heat up later, and cleaned the stable while they were at it. It’s funny, but there’s a lot of truth there!

Learning to say “no” is very hard for a lot of us. It’s just not our nature to turn down someone requesting our help. But when we overcommit, we have so much on our plates that we can’t give everything the necessary time. We end up rushing through things, or forgetting them altogether. We want to help, and yes, receive the blessings that come from serving, but are we really serving if we’re so overcommitted we can’t give something a hundred percent of our attention?

Saying “no” to something I really want to do is one of the hardest things for me. What I’ve learned is that most of the time the project will still get done, even if I’m not the one to do it. Maybe by someone who wouldn’t come forward as quickly as I would but is just as willing to help. Maybe someone who has never been asked. As I said before, saying no often gives someone else the opportunity to be blessed by serving. So if your schedule is already busting at the seams, and you know that still, small voice is telling you you’re already too busy, don’t be afraid to say no. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray for the right person to come forward. Suggest a name if you know someone who might like to help. You never know how that opportunity might bless someone else.

In His Love,


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