Learning to Say No

It may surprise you to know that I am not a very busy person. Sure, I have busy weeks just like everyone else, but those are the exception and not the rule. I used to try to max out every day of my life. I was proud to work long hours, volunteer my time and lead community organizations. As you can imagine, those days lead me to be nearly burned out as a Pastor.

Over the last 7 years, I have committed myself to not being busy all the time. For me, that meant learning to say “no” to numerous activities. I dropped out of community civic clubs, stop doing most weddings, limited my involvement in youth sports and started keeping a tighter schedule. In fact, I find myself saying “no” much more than I say “yes.”

First – I needed to establish my priorities.
For my that meant making a short list of who gets my time. My time goes to the Lord, my wife, my children and my job. I enjoy sports and so does my family, but it is not a priority. I enjoy having several hobbies but they will not take away from what is really important.

Second – I needed to set boundaries. For example, if you want to meet with me on a Friday, my response is “no.” Friday is a day off to recharge my battery and spend time with my family. This type of thinking lets me leave most nights open instead of packing them full too.

Third – I needed to stop playing to the crowd. Too often we are busy because we desire to make everyone happy. We can quickly fill our time trying to please the people who we feel are watching. It sounds like this, “I better get more involved at school or the other parents will think I am a slacker.”

Fourth – I needed to understand that most busy people end up in heartache. I am not trying to scare you, but most of the people I know who have had an affair, one of the people was too busy. Either they were not at home and they got connected to a person at work or they were always alone while their spouse worked and finally they got lonely. Long hours and lonely nights are always a recipe for destruction.

Fifth – I needed to stop trying to be God. One of the reasons I was busy was because I tried to live as if everything depended on me. My control issues would not let me give responsibility to anyone else. I thought that no one could do it better than me. I kept taking on more and more work while I tried to control the world. I had to learn to trust people and let God run my universe.

Over time my life has gone from run, run, run while trying to multitask to a large amount of my time is free. It is not because I do not care about other things, it is because being busy was a symptom of the problem with my soul. Sometimes the most Godly thing we can do is to say “no” to the rest so that we can say “yes” to the best.


One thought on “Learning to Say No

  1. It shows that you have balance in your life and that you have your priorities straight!  Before fibromyalgia I tried (or thought I controlled everything)!  I have to work everyday to put things in perspective and spend time with God and then everything else.  As a Mom, Grams, Daughter-in-law and Provider it is hard to balance. I have been a workaholic to prove that I wasn’t dysfunctional like the family I grew up in.  I used to want to be with “people” every minute I was awake.  I now treasure time alone or with just Jerry or one or two close friends that I enjoy spending time with.  At age 45 I learned that trying to please people was definitely giving me heartache.  My children grew up with me being an officer, chairman or leader in every area of my life.   I was seeking fulfillment and approval of people.   I was spending less time with God. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and both my children were in college that I realized that wanting approval from everyone was taking away from my family and I was not getting the personal satisfaction that I was trying to find.  I went to a conference and it hit me that being a servant of God meant truly praying for people in our church family and serving them when God directed me to. I have learned to listen for God’s voice telling me what to do and what not to do.  It takes away all guilt of deciding what to do and what not to do. I have gotten more deep personal satisfaction from praying and doing service behind the scenes.  I enjoy serving also where I have gifts and not just to please others.  This blog and many of your blogs have touched my heart many times.   Another blessing is that I used to get depressed and take it out on my husband!  I have pain and have more restriction than I ever have had and I’m not depressed.  When I let God control I have so much more joy.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still not easy to live with some of the time and  everyone can tell when I am not seeking Christ first.  We prayed and followed God’s direction and have been so blessed with your family being called to Adrian.  I think my biggest admiration that I have for you is your love for your parents.  I love to hear the life lessons that your Father taught you!  I would soak up every minute I could writing down every word he says!  He has no idea how much his legacy and his faith is passed on through you, your sermons and blogs!  You are truly gifted in speaking and writing. Sorry this is so long!  We truly appreciate you and Michelle!  Enjoy your Friday you deserve it!  

    From: Second Chance Pastor To: stephensjeanie@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2016 9:22 AM Subject: [New post] Learning to Say No #yiv3803899580 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3803899580 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3803899580 a.yiv3803899580primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3803899580 a.yiv3803899580primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3803899580 a.yiv3803899580primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3803899580 a.yiv3803899580primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3803899580 WordPress.com | matthewlewisharris posted: “It may surprise you to know that I am not a very busy person. Sure, I have busy weeks just like everyone else, but those are the exception and not the rule. I used to try to max out every day of my life. I was proud to work long hours, volunteer my tim” | |

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