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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,

Amy

What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: Cut the Clutter

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.

 

Cut the Clutter

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-13, ESV

clutterI don’t watch a lot of television, but one of the shows I have seen from time to time is called “Clean House.” A team of people go into a very cluttered home, help the residents clear out the clutter, and then redecorate the home. The results are usually amazing, and when they revisit the residents later, they always talk about how much easier their life is—how much more peaceful they feel not having all that clutter around.

I admit —I’m guilty of this to an extent. My home may not look like an episode of “Hoarders,” but I know I could live without a lot. As I’ve told my husband—it’s not that our house isn’t big enough. We just have too much stuff in it. We’re working on decluttering, but it’s a long process. (See the photo above. Yes, that’s my office, before and after. It became the dumping ground in our house. Please don’t judge me. )

Life is like that, too. Your life can become so “cluttered” with demands and commitments that you feel as if you’re suffocating under the weight of it all. When your “to do” list exceeds the number of hours in the day every single day, you never feel as if you accomplished anything. It’s not a very peaceful way to live, and certainly not the way God wants us to feel day in and day out.

If you feel completely overwhelmed, take some time to look at your schedule. Then look for ways to free up a little time. Is there someone you can carpool with, taking the kids to school, even if it’s only a couple of afternoons a week? Is there someone else who can take charge of the Girl Scout cookie sale this year? Do you really have to serve on five different committees? Remember, saying no isn’t rejecting an obligation. It’s giving someone else the opportunity to be blessed by serving!

Don’t let your control-freak streak take away the peace God wants you to have. You can let go of some things. You might even find that (gasp!) someone is better at something than you were, but they never had the chance to step up! So pray about your commitments and let go of the ones God tells you to let go of. I promise, the world will not collapse. Give others a chance to serve!

In His Love,

Amy

What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: Choose Commitments Carefully

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 Carefully

Answer 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

Basic RGBHello, my name is Amy Greene, and I’m a commitment-aholic.

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,

Amy