Just Say No

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The plans of the diligent end in profit, but those of the hasty end in loss. – Proverbs 21:5

Some of us say “yes” way too easily, therefore cluttering our calendars.

Can you bake six dozen cookies for the bake sale tomorrow?

“Yes,” you say, even though you hate to bake.

Can I drop my kids off at your house for a few hours so I don’t have to take them shopping with me?

“Yes,” you say, even though you don’t like to babysit.

Can you lead Bible study this week?

“Yes,” you say … even though you have no time to prepare because you’re baking cookies and watching your friend’s kids.

One of the most useful skills we can learn in life is to say “no” without an excuse. Many times we say “yes” without giving the request much thought. Our calendars say we are free, so we don’t have an excuse, and the perceived urgency of the request pushes us to act before weighing its importance and pertinence in our lives.

Granted, many requests are not bad, and some times you have to pitch in and help out a friend, a co-worker, your kid’s teacher, or a family member in a tight spot whether you want to or not. However, saying “no” to some requests is also a legitimate answer. Pausing before answering gives you time to think, review your priorities, and decide how to answer. If the task is too time-consuming, mentally-, physically-, or spiritually-draining, then have the courage to pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically say “no”.

Prayer: Remind me to say “yes” to You before I say “yes” to everyone and everything else.

Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor. It’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living. – Peter Walsh

Martha, Martha, Martha!

 

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 38:41-42

I remember reading this story for the first time (and several times there after), sympathizing with Martha’s complaint. Mary was being a free-loader! They had an important guest and the meal needed to be perfect. To leave her sister to bear the burden of the preparation alone seemed an enormous injustice.

Confession: I am an amazing Do-er and a terrible Be-er. If my feet aren’t moving, my hands not working, my mind not thinking, I feel unproductive and insufficient. Most of the tasks I’m DOing are not bad in and of themselves – cooking (like Martha), cleaning, running errands, driving kids. However, when they are crammed together one right after the next, leaving no time for rest, prayer, or reflection, I lose my focus on God and all pursuits become hollow.

Mary saw what was right in front of her and mindfully ignored the nonessential happenings that surrounded her. She kept the main the main thing. How would our calendars differ this year if we sought God first?

Prayer: Please take over my schedule this week. Show me where I should be DOing less and BEing more with you.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey

(Many thanks to the poor middle child, Jan Brady, for the inspiration for today’s title)