“The Yes, No and Maybe of a Balanced Life” - Part 2
By Wendy Pope
"If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it." Mark (NLB)
Yesterday, in part one of this topic, we focused on the decision to say “YES” to the important first step of bringing balance to our lives: spending the first few minutes of each day with God. Through scripture we were reminded that the God we serve is a God of order and His purpose is for us to live a life of order and peace. That can happen best when we order our day with Him.
To proceed with our exit off the “cul-de-sac of nowhere,” we must move forward with steps two and three toward a balanced life.
In Paul's description of Jesus in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 2 says that Jesus, though He was God, did not cling to His rights as God. When this verse became real to me, it was like someone had hit me in the stomach with a two by four.
I lived my life looking out for "my rights." My favorite phrase was, "I deserve …” You fill in the blank with anything from a new outfit, to a night out with my friends, to a hot bath. It was all about me. I served so I could get.
I did not realize that because I was a sinner, if I got what I deserved, I would be dead. The wages of sin is death. I really had to pray and ask God to change my thinking. I wanted my motives to be pure and honorable with no intent of selfish gain. I needed to learn to say “no” to my selfishness.
God answered that prayer, often using my children to help me realize that life was not about me. Being at home with two small children - well being around anyone else really – there are countless opportunities each day to say “no” to self and bless others instead. There are times I say “no” to self by handing the last Oreo cookie to my son. I grit my teeth while doing so, but I do it, and I grow because of it. Challenge yourself to give away the "last Oreo" and watch God work. Ask God to help you see where you need to say “no” in order to grow.
Saying “no” is difficult for women. By our very nature we are caring individuals. We desire to serve and we have great compassion for those who are hurting, so we seek ways to help. I love these things about being a woman. God designed us this way, but all too often we say “yes” too quickly.
We become caught in the captivity of activity. When there is a need, we fill it! When someone needs a meal, we cook it. When a class is without a teacher, we teach it. We serve and serve until we are completely worn out. We need to exercise holy restraint and truly pray about each opportunity we have for serving. It is our responsibility to ourselves, God, and those we love to examine our current commitments before saying “yes” to another.
The philosophy I recommend for saying no or maybe is found in Matthew 6:10 where Jesus teaches us how to pray. There we learn to do only those things which are in alignment with His will for our life. How do we know when to say “yes” to an opportunity? Take time to ask Him. He has the answer!
Dear Lord, You are the God of Peace. Peace and order is what I desire. Do all things necessary to bring me in alignment with Your will for my life. Show me when to say yes, when to say no, and when to say maybe. I eagerly await the answer to my prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
When You’re Running on Empty by Cindi McMenamin
Examine your current list of responsibilities. During your morning prayer time with God, ask Him what your role should be in each one. Follow through with obedience in what He tells you. Trust Him to fill the vacancy saying no might create. Record the results.
Am I currently a captive of activity?
How often do I say no to self?
Ecclesiastes 5:3, “Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.” (NLT)
Matthew , " Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (NIV)
Mark , "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (NLT)
Hebrews 11:6, "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (NLT)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105