Just Say No

Train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home.
Titus 2:4–5

French naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre once conducted an experiment with processionary caterpillars, so called because of their genetic inclination to follow one another. He lined them up around the inner edge of a flowerpot and watched them march in a circle. Then he put pine needles, their favorite food, in the center of the pot. The caterpillars continued to walk without breaking rank. Finally they rolled over and died of starvation, just inches from their ideal food source.

Many of today’s moms are a bit like these furry little creatures. They trudge around in circles from morning until night, wondering how they can get everything done. Many are employed full-time while also taking care of families, chauffeuring kids, fixing meals, cleaning the house, and trying to maintain marriages, friendships, and spiritual obligations. It’s a breathless way of life we call “routine panic.”

If we’ve just described your life, realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. The tendency for families to take on too many commitments is rampant these days, but it can be avoided by employing one little word: No. As the apostle Paul wrote, we are “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12). Self-control starts with saying no to frantic living—and yes to a more orderly existence.

Before you say good night…

  • Are you overcommitted? What could you cut from your schedule?
  • Do you end current obligations before adding new ones?

Save us, Father, from our addiction to constant motion and endless commitments. Grant us courage to rethink our priorities, to say no instead of yes. Lord, give us the self-control that will bring peace and rest to our family. Amen.

Illustration adapted from Bringing Up Boys copyright © 2001 by James Dobson, Inc. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.