What Matters Most

Saying no can be really hard for me. There are two main reasons. Number one is that I don’t want to miss something fun or miss seeing someone I’d like to hang out with at an event I don’t really have time to go to. Number two is that I hate to disappoint people. What if they think I’m a slacker for not being willing to help. Or, what if they never ask me again? I may miss out and there I am back at number one reason.

But you see there’s this 24 hour thing God did when He created a day. He thought it would be a good thing to put a limit on the time cycle between dark and light. I used to not like that plan of His, but I’ve learned that He is really smart.
This girl’s gotta sleep ’cause she gets cranky when she doesn’t do that enough. So if days have 24 hours and I need to shut my eyes during 8 of them, then I only have 16 leftover to take care of my family, carpool, exercise, eat, work, have fun, relax and serve at my church or in my community. (Notice I listed time to relax and have fun -novel idea for us busy women, huh?)

I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to say no because I’ve needed to say it more these days. Every time I turn around there are opportunities to help with something or get involved in different activities at church, at the kids schools, at work, etc.And with the holidays coming, I need a plan so I don’t over commit. I need a reason to say those two little letters N-O and then attach them to two little words, thank – you.

In her book, Only Angels Can Wing It, Liz Curtis Higgs suggests a few questions that I can ask myself before taking on something new.

  1. Will this activity really matter one week from today? How about a month from now?
  2. Does it satisfy a heart need for me or someone I love?
  3. Is this something only I can do or is there someone to whom I can delegate this activity?
  4. Is there someone who does it better than I do that would be excited to have this opportunity?
  5. What are the ramifications if I don’t do this and the outcomes if I do?

Now I don’t go through these questions every time I make a decision. But, when something requires extra time, money, energy or emotions, asking these questions helps me make the most of my 24 hours so I can focus on what matters most!

When I do ask these questions, I also ask God to show me the answers from His perspective because He can see things that I can’t see. He’s got my days numbered and knows what each one holds.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. elaine @ peace for the journey says:

    Perfect fit for the season we’re in! I’m learning my “no”. Thank you for the questions to aid our thinking in the matter.

    God bless your Thanksgiving with a rich and deep sense of his abiding presence and love for you.

    peace~elaine

  2. Morning,

    I am finding the same need to say “no” in my own life, and to protect those white spaces on the calendar. With my last day of work fast approaching I find that I am excited about the “free-time” (LOL!)that I will be gaining. It seems that I am already planning to pack more activity into my days. Most of which are wonderful pursuits linked to my service in ministry, yet I do realize how important it is to not overbook myself. We do need to keep our priorities in order and constantly seek to do His will.

    You are indeed a treasure in my life. Thanks for your encouragement and friendship.

  3. Elizabeth M Thompson says:

    Perfect timing. I was just organizing my to-do list for the week and your post brought some great clarification.

  4. Timely advice!

    Just over a month ago I wrote a post about taking on a new ministry role (you can read about it here: http://princessjoyful.blogspot.com/2008/10/serving-or-servant.html) It's often so hard to know when to say 'yes' or 'no', but the Lord certainly spoke LOUD and CLEAR on this one!

    My key to any 'yes' or 'no' is prayer. I wait for God's leading and if I don't sense any direction, I go with the saying, "When in doubt…don't". If I'm feeling uncertain, I don't say 'yes' until I have the freedom to do so – freedom in my spirit, freedom with my family support etc…

    So thankful I have a Heavenly Father who knows all the things I should 'yes' and all those I should 'no'. The questions you included here are great to consider when decision making as well. I think the reason that it's often so hard to decide what to do is because we aren't deciding between right and wrong, or good and bad, but between the good and best.

    Trust all is well with you.
    Love & prayers,
    Joy

  5. Lelia Chealey says:

    Thanks for this reminder to do this Renee.

  6. Laurie Ann says:

    I’ve suffered through Approval Addiction for way too long. I’ve learned to say no to everyone but my earthly father…Ack! Thanks so much for your post! This helps!

  7. I heard a phrase about a year ago that I immediately had painted on a canvas to hang in my room.

    Only do what only you can do.

    It’s hard for me because I want to help others, but I have found that I can be more effective when I’m helping in the areas that I am best qualified to help. If I try to do everything, I am robbing others the opportunity to do something.

    Thanks for the great tip. I’m going to add those other questions to my list!

  8. Amy L Brooke says:

    Good thoughts, Renee. I probably say, “Yes” too quickly all of the time. I need to ask myself some of those questions.

    It was a hard day. If you can, throw up a prayer for me so I don’t go to bed with it and then carry it around tomorrow!

  9. Shari Braendel says:

    Wonderful having lunch with you today…you looked beautiful…yes, even in the black! LOL! Loved your post…you are so wise! Thank you for all your wisdom today, too, my friend. love, Shari

  10. I just got home from my counseling appointment, and my homework is to make a list of things I need to let go or at least consider letting go. She says I’m overloaded and that I have “compassion fatigue.” I have something, that’s for sure! I’ve never been so weary in all my days.

    Thanks for the questions…I’ll have to check out that book, too.

    Hope you are doing well..love and prayers, Lee

  11. Digging for Pearls says:

    Thanks for the reminder today Renee. I’m praying for you. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Blessings,
    Pearls

  12. Great post, Renee. I have a hard time saying no, too. I will print out this list of questions to remind myself of the big picture. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Debbie

  13. Great post, Renee. I have a hard time saying no, too. I will print out this list of questions to remind myself of the big picture. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Debbie

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