So, this discipline thing is “testing me” lately! I have to admit that I’ve had to exercise some real discipline recently, forcing myself to get some of these blogs posted at the end of the day, when some of these days have been quite long and draining. It has certainly been a challenge, and I’m sure glad that it’s an exercise in discipline, and a good reminder of why I’m even DOING this challenge- because let me tell ya, the temptation has been there to just skip it and do it in the morning, but that’s not the commitment I made, and that would not be exercising the discipline that I’ve been trying to strengthen!
So, with that said, today’s reading was about the importance of evaluating what we say “yes” and “no” to. Lucky for me, this was an issue that I really dealt with several years ago, around the time I finished college (okay, I guess I should accurately say “many” years ago, since several insinuates less than that). I used to be a very, very extremely active, involved, and over-committed person, back in my “younger years.” I remember back in my junior high, high school and college years, I was CONSTANTLY on the go. If I could possibly find some way to squeeze something into my schedule, I’d do it. It never seemed to be a big issue then, but I knew by the time I finished college, that I needed to make some adjustments, so I pulled out of pretty much all of my commitments. (It also helped that I was heading to Mexico for 10 weeks.)
The thing I’ve realized though, is that this type of thing is something that I always need to stay aware of and be “on guard” because it’s easy to get back into that type of whirlwind, crazy schedule of being over-committed, stretched too thin, “busy”, etc. I want to spend my time wisely since how I spend my time affects my family, my home, my relationships, my overall effectiveness in all of my roles, including ministry, etc.
When deciding if I should or shouldn’t do something, I can’t simply evaluate if it’s a “good” or even “great” thing. I could fill my schedule with entirely awesome things, but that doesn’t mean that’s the right thing to do. Besides, I could be committing to something, only because I feel obligated, when really, I may be taking the opportunity away from someone else who was being called but had not had the opportunity to step up. I remember first hearing that concept back in a Sunday School class I attended MANY years ago about Mary and Martha. That hit me. Just like the story of Mary and Martha, from Luke 10, Jesus did not say that by serving and tending to her guests that Martha was doing the WRONG thing, but Jesus told her that Mary has chosen what is “better” by spending time at Jesus’ feet. Sometimes I need to remember that there are times and seasons for things. Sometimes when asked to do something, I think to myself ,”Sure, I am available/capable, etc, but is this something I SHOULD do? Is this something I should say YES to or not?” Most of the time I find that I really just need to prayerfully consider my involvement/commitment. I tend to find that God has a way to let me know what is “better.”
I have found that it’s important to do things for the right reasons. There are times, yes, that we need to just step up and do something because it needs to be done, but if our heart’s not in something, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult to be real effective doing it. Sometimes, too, if we do something out of sheer obligation, we can end up really being turned off or with a sour taste when it doesn’t go as expected.
I also love how Crystal points out that “if I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.” So true, and a good point to help us to decide if the trade-off is worth it. Both could be good things, so it may be a tough decision- but one we must make nonetheless.
I’m glad I was able to see and address my over-commitment “problem” years ago. I have experienced the “freedom” and peace that come with being able to evaluate commitments before I make them and to, in turn, make wise decisions because of evaluating the cost ahead of time. I had to come to grips that it is OKAY to say NO sometimes, even if it feels like I’m disappointing someone or letting someone down. To reverse Crystal’s quote- “When I say NO to something, it means I’m saying YES to something else.” It’s not like we’ve LOST something – we’ve GAINED something “better.”