*This is day 4 of "31 Days to Focus". You can read what this is all about and view previous posts here. *
"No" is probably the word I say second most often throughout these mothering days... "Alexa", the sassy little one I'm holding, being the first.
My nearly-three year old helps develop my relationship with Jesus in all kinds of ways. I'm being held in the fire for dross to come out.
Oh, and it does. There is some nasty scum and waste surfacing from some deep places in me.
My strong-willed girl is in strict training these days. She is learning boundaries. She is learning to pay attention and obey when I speak.
And the little reflection that she is displays so clearly this same issue in me.
I rebel against hearing "no".
When I see something as good and needed, or I am asked to do something I consider good and needed... my default is to immediately say "yes!".
This comes from a "here am I, send me!" kind of desire to serve my Beloved King well and with all of me.
But when I give an answer before listening to Him, or when I commit to something in haste only to later consider my vows... My "yes" can actually be a "no" to God. Whether from misdirected ambition--OR good intention-- my "yes" can really be a "no" to His perfect plan.
Learning to accept "no" is an issue of trust. Learning to agree and say "no" is a necessary practice of focused faith.
Yes, I would love accept a volunteer position at several beautiful, God-honoring ministries. Yes, I would be honored to be a full time counselor and accountability partner to every young woman within a 50 mile radius. Yes, I would love to help fill those extra positions at church, attend that small group, respond to every email, go to every birthday party, make every play date etc.
But I must remember, when I automatically say "yes" to what I have not prayed about and heard a "yes" from God about... what I am actually saying is "No. I don't trust You, God."
I don't trust You that 14-16 hours of awake time is enough to get all the tasks done that You have for me to do today.
I don't trust You that You could have someone else who can fill that role as well as I could... better than I could.
I don't trust You that there is a time for everything and this may not be the season for this added responsibility.
I don't trust You that if I pass on this that I will still get the real desires of my heart.
I don't trust You to deal with the fallout from that relationship if I disappoint by not meeting expectations.
I don't trust You to speak to me through Your word or Holy Spirit to direct my paths.
I am currently in some strict training. I am learning boundaries. I am learning to pay attention and obey when He speaks.
And He is a stunning, awesome, glorious God of "Yes!"
But He also says "No."
Sometimes His "no" is temporary.
Sometimes it is permanent.
But it is always, always for our good and His glory.
There are some things I have no doubt He is calling me to. But many other areas are "grey" areas. How much time and energy should I invest... if any at all?
God has that answer every time.
He has all my days ordained before they even happen... He has good works laid out in advance for me... He knows if I need to take the right or the left path...
But He's been telling me clearly: I need to acknowledge that it is not His plan to take both the right and the left path at the same time.
I need to trust Him that He will say "this is the way, walk in it."
I need to be willing and ready to say "NO."
"No... I can't commit to that yet... I need to pray about it first..."
"No, I don't feel this is the right season for me to take on that responsibility."
"No, that would put a strain on our finances, and I have committed to follow a budget and not spend what we don't have..."
"No, even though I could make that timing work, I don't have the
emotional energy that would be required before, during, and after..."
How can you hear the "no"?
I have several things that help me decide if I need to say "no".
1) Would adding this responsibility/event/thing keep me from doing something I know God has called me to?
**For me, some of the things I know He has called me to at this point in my life are, in no particular order:
*Godly wife and mother--this includes emotional availability
*proper(NOT perfect) care of my home and taking responsibility for providing healthy meals for my family as often as possible
*not spend money we don't have
*quiet time with Him, scripture memorization
2) I specifically ask Him if I should say yes or no and continue to study His word and pray.
3) I ask for advice and prayer from my husband, my parents.
There is much I don't know... but I have to remind myself that the LORD is a God Who knows. And He is perfectly capable of communicating what He wants me to do.
I want to listen and accept a "no" even when I don't understand.
Until I understand what God wants me to do... there are many, many more "noes" than there are "yeses".
There are so many things we see that are good and that need involvement... but there is only one way we can spend our lives.
Focus is as much about what you don't see as it is about what you do see.
For correct focus we need to know where to not focus.
And there is so much we can't see because of the "urgency" of things up close in our faces. But the Lord sees perfectly because He has the perspective of beginning to end, and He is not pressured by a shortage of any type of resource.
Let's lay it all out before the One who knows how to delegate correctly, Who clears away what distracts, Who draws all eyes and hearts perfectly to Point of it all.
How do you discern when and how and what to say "no" to? Have you found that saying "yes" to less helps you focus on God's specific call on your life?