One of my girls LOVES the mall – so much so that she often tells me she wishes that was where we lived! The moment she has managed to accumulate even just a couple of dollars she's begging to go to the mall and spend her money. I find myself constantly reminding her that if we go now, if she spends now, then she is delaying being able to get what she really wants. She's learning that she must determine what matters and plan accordingly, because money, like any other resource, is finite and requires stewarding and prioritising. It cannot be endlessly stretched, and neither can our time.
I like to say yes. But I know that I just can’t say yes to all the requests and opportunities that come my way – no matter how good they are! Opportunities to volunteer, after-school activities for the kids, social invites, more ministry-hats that I could wear, alongside the day-to-day ‘to-do’ list of shopping, laundry, cooking and so on – the things that I could say yes to are endless! And every ‘yes’ spends my time.
For the past two years, God has been challenging me about how I allocate my time; forcing me to realise that ‘every time I say yes, there is less of me for something else'; requiring me to evaluate is my ‘yes’ worth the less. This season of re-evaluating how I spend my time has meant learning to say no – not just to people, but also to some of my own desires. Like right now, I really want to zone out and watch one of my favourite shows, but I know that that means I won’t have time to write. Writing is a God-priority for me in this season - and saying ‘yes’ to it requires that I say ‘no’ to some of the other things that I’d like to do!
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘no’ is a negative word – that it is shutting off opportunities, denying ourselves pleasure, closing doors and causing us to disappoint and offend people. But I am increasingly understanding that when I say no, I am really saying ‘yes’ to something that I have determined is more important at that point in time. And while this may disappoint and even offend some, it ensures that I have the resources for what I do say yes to. My ‘no’ is really a ‘yes’ to what God has called me to do.
In Luke 2:42-44, Jesus models this for us:
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus had been busy healing the sick and setting people free in the town of Capernaum. He had been doing a good thing, a great thing actually! He knew the time had come to move on to another town, but the people still had needs, so they understandably wanted Him to stay put. But Jesus was mindful of what God had sent Him to do – and that was to proclaim and demonstrate the good news in more than one place, so He tells them no. I have no doubt that His no disappointed the people! But if he had said yes to staying, He would have been saying no to God. His yes would have meant so much less for the people whom God intended to hear the good news of His love!
Let’s learn from Jesus and spend our time well by investing it in the people and priorities that God has for us in our current season. Learn to recognise that when you say no – be it to a little thing like watching your favourite TV show, or something that matters much, much more – that you are really saying yes, yes to the plans and purposes that God has for you. And that is a yes, that you will never regret!
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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