It’s Okay to say “No”!

A few months ago I wrote a post about being “Coach Mom” for the second consecutive season.  I had a blast coaching basketball and always enjoy being with the team.  But with it came the challenge of how to manage my schedule.  I keep a whiteboard calendar on my fridge to keep up with everyone’s schedules – I wish I could show you what my February calendar looked like – it was crazy! And then March was so busy I didn’t even update it.  I knew that this commitment was just for a season and that I could push through, but even though I was having fun, the busyness eventually started taking a toll on me and my family.

One night in the car on the way from an all day b-ball tournament to a church dinner, my daughter said “Mom, you can’t physically keep going like this – you need to rest.”  My kids don’t usually notice things like that, so for her to notice enough to say something meant that I had let things get out of hand!  Of course, I knew she was right, but I blew it off thinking I have to finish what I started; it’s just for a season; I need to push through, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!  I even used scripture to justify my busy schedule and to try to encourage myself – “I can do all things through Christ…”, “Don’t grow weary in doing good…” ect.

A few days later I left for a week-long work trip and I continued to push through and all throughout that week in my time with the Lord, He was speaking to me about rest.  Over and over, the Holy Spirit was telling me that it was time for a season of rest.

  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
  • “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
  • Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well.  John 4:6

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?”  Luke 14:28-30

In the fast-paced world we live in we always feel pressured to do more, strive for perfection, try harder…  It’s almost as if we feel like we have no purpose if we aren’t constantly busy.  We wage this war in our minds, telling ourselves we need to conquer the world and if we don’t push ourselves we’re being lazy… And by the time we come face to face with our own humanity, it’s too late, we’re already committed and we think that quitting means failing.  Yes, God does call us to do things, and pour into others lives and not be idle, and He gives us opportunities to be stretched and used, and He gives us strength for those seasons.  But wisdom is required to hear and obey that still small voice saying “Come away with me”.  Luke 5:16 says that Jesus OFTEN withdrew to be alone and pray.  If Jesus needed time to withdraw, rest, reflect and be alone and seek God – how much more do we! In fact, we can’t get very far without that being prioritized in our lives.  We are commanded to “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

So, how do I decide what to do when my heart and mind don’t line up?

There are times when we are given opportunities that we feel like we are expected to get involved in, and we genuinely want to help, but also feel a sense of caution.  Your heart may want to say yes, but it might not line up with your reality. Take yourself through a process of evaluation that includes your capacity.  It’s good to use wisdom, knowledge and an understanding of your resource capacity to assess your decisions.

Filter the situation through these 5 questions:

  1. Do I have the resources to handle this request along with my current responsibilities?
  2. Could this fit physically?
  3. Could this fit financially?
  4. Could this fit spiritually?
  5. Could this fit emotionally?

Learn to pay attention to your emotional capacity and be honest with yourself when you’re stretched too thin. When we push ourselves to the limit physically, it catches up with us emotionally. When we allow ourselves to get overloaded emotionally, often the worst version of ourselves emerges. And it’s not good for anyone!  Stop and evaluate – do you have the capacity to add this thing on and keep an attitude of love?

Whenever there is a conflict between what we feel we’re expected to do and what we feel we should do, it’s time to step back from that decision, and seek clarity from the only source free from entanglements:

God.

Seeking God first and being filled with His Spirit will give you the capacity to walk in love, even if it means saying no.  Saying yes when you don’t have the complete capacity to finish the work can leave you burned-out, the situation not successfully completed and can hurt your relationships.

Praying for wisdom and considering these 5 questions will give you the peace that God will provide.  He’ll provide for the situation, and He’ll provide you with an assurance that not every opportunity is meant to be your assignment.

 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”  Proverbs 24:3-4

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