How We’re Learning
by Kori Yates
One of the most difficult things in my life. I am a doer by nature. I take James’ words to heart when he says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Somehow I miss the few verses later when he talks about bridling your tongue.
Truthfully, though, saying no is SO HARD! I tell people all the time that I married my husband so he could hold my hand down.
In this military world, I think it’s even harder. There are more opportunities than people and it is the nature of our culture to “sign up.” From meals to school helpers and MWR to USO, opportunities abound. All good ones, mind you.
There are significant needs, and finding the things I SHOULD do instead of just the things I COULD do can take some work. People mention a need here or there and my first thought is always, “That wouldn’t be too hard.” All those little “easy tasks” I sign up for, though, end up overwhelming my life.
Good things, but not always God things.
I am still learning the lessons of choosing wisely, taking time to ponder, remembering I am not responsible for the whole world, and recognizing that God has created me to do something but not to do everything. My husband and my sweet friends surely help me along this road.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Saying no isn’t about walking away from the right things. It’s about choosing Christ over all, about seeking the Lord first – “seeking first His kingdom.”
It’s interesting that this verse comes at the end of a series of verses that talk about not being anxious or worried about anything. Choosing to seek His Kingdom, which means saying no to things that are not of Him or not what He’s called us to do, helps us step away from worry and anxiousness.
So how do we learn to rest in the places the Lord calls us and say no to the things He hasn’t?
How to Say No:
- Relationship: It’s super hard to know what the Lord would have us do if we haven’t spent time with Him.
- Wait: When you’re asked, take at least 24 hours to think, ponder, and PRAY about it.
- Accountability: Have someone you can throw things by and they will give you honest feedback. It is important that following Jesus is important to them as well.
- Trust: Trust that if the Lord hasn’t called you to it and He wants it to be done, He has someone to do just that thing.
Spend time with the Lord and ask Him what He would have you do and make a list of those priorities. Make sure you have an accountability partner and if you don’t, this would be a good time to find one.
Lord, show me what you would have me do and help me have the courage to do only those things.