The power of no is already being experienced. I have spent the last 6 years being the room mom. This year? No. I was asked to lead Bible Study again. “No,” was the answer. Can I help out at choir? No. No, I can’t.
In spring, the word “no” began to be impressed on my heart. I began to understand that God was calling me to cut back on my commitments. My phone and my work are also experiencing a shunning of sorts.
The Power of No
Being over-committed is a disease in our fast-paced American society. Accomplishment makes us feel important and valued. It gives us a sense of purpose.
However, I was beginning to experience the symptoms. I was exercising less…OK – not at all. My energy was down – so down that I went to the doctor to get blood tests done. The test revealed some mild thyroid issues. Due to time on my phone and computer, my eyes were achey and my arms felt weird. My entire self felt in a fog half of the time. It was no way to live.
The summer was crazy busy, and I decided to turn down any new form of commitment when the fall began approaching. I would still serve in one ministry, but that would be it.
I went into this season thinking this year would be about getting healthy, being quiet (something which is really hard for me), and stopping to smell the roses.
It became quickly clear that I would work on all of those things during this less committed time, but there was an even more important reason for me to say no.
You see, I have always stayed busy doing. The pace gets so busy that I don’t take time to REALLY serve – to be the kind of friend someone might need. I show up, do my thing, and I’m out. It’s time to rush on to the next thing. The week goes on at that pace, and if someone isn’t in front of my face, they are out of my thoughts.
Those middle of the week texts that show you are thinking about someone – they didn’t happen.
Calling a friend just to see how things are going? That wasn’t occurring either.
Requests would come across the church network saying a family needed a meal. How could I possibly fit that in?
The kids have only been in school for a week now. I have had quiet time. I am content with the state of my house. Vanilla and cinnamon scented scones fill the air, as I am able to bake again. The paperwork load is at a minimum. Exercise has happened. Breathing deeply, I feel relaxed and at peace.
The bigger picture though is that without all of the scheduled commitments I’m able to have a happier pace while being there for people as they need.
I sat with a miserably pregnant friend just so we could both have company. Another friend’s husband has been pretty sick, so I was able to go help clean her house today. I’m contacting people just to check in and see how I can serve or pray, and I actually am thinking about them and praying for them. Those scones I mentioned? I can take those to give them to some teachers at school.
The power of no makes me present when my kids are home from school. It helps me have a real meal on the table for my hard-working husband and family. It encourages me to call my mom or a friend in another state just to check in.
I’m realizing that God wanted to open my schedule to pause the crazy, over-committed life and pace I had been living so that I could live a healthier me.
However, the more important thing is that my schedule is now free enough to build into relationships. I am learning to be a be-er rather than just a do-er.
Of course, I’m aware that I could stay just as busy being available for any call that might come my way. It will be a season of prayerfully knowing when to reach out, when to retreat, when to slow down and when to speed up.
The power of no might be just what your heart is longing for too.