Monday, April 14, 2008

Saying "No"

I am the worst at saying "No." I'm a confessed people pleaser, and along with my perceived role as a pastor, saying "no" to others just does not fit my job description. I have learned, however, that when I say yes to whomever randomly asks me something I have automatically said no to someone or something else. The opposite is also true. When I say no to randomly generated requests I can say yes to the more important relationships in my life. Follow?

This past week in our series Escape the Blur: Slowing Down to Make Room for God, I talked about the importance of saying "no" in order to make room for God and others. Here's the outline. If you want to hear the message, you can go here.

Fatigue rather than rest is the new spiritual discipline. We are blessed to have so many options to say Yes, but without the discipline of NO, we will never find time to rest in the Lord.

Saying no aloud is harder for most people than saying, “I’ll be glad to…”

To say no is to say yes to God and others. These did:

Hannah said no to raise her only son in order to be obedient to her yes to God. (1 Samuel 1:24-28)

The apprentices of Jesus said no to their livelihoods to say yes to Jesus’ call to follow Him. (Matthew 4:18-22)

Jesus said no to one crowd in order to serve the needs of others. (Matthew 8:18)

You can say no to these things in order to say yes to God:

Perfectionism (Romans 8:15-17)

Three lies we believe that contribute to our rush to busyness: (In Tired of Being Tired by Steve and Mary Farrar in Pause issue.)
  • You can have it all.
  • You can do it all.
  • You deserve it all.
Your children (Ephesians 6:4) TV, video games, sports and activities add to the blur of our children.

Entertainment (Colossians 3:1, 2) Americans average 3 hours of television a day. You? If you cut it out for a week, what would you do with the additional 21 hours? A friend calculated:

3 hours a night watching TV x 365 = 1095 hours;
Based on a 40 hour work week, that’s the same as going to work 9-5, Monday – Friday for 6.8 months each year. Now think if you focused on one specific subject, let’s say learning to speak Spanish, or learning to write, or understanding art appreciation, or learning the skill of web development, in place of watching TV. That would essentially be the same as taking a 6.8 month sabbatical to learn that subject, and no doubt, you would not only be knowledgeable, but would probably be considered an expert in whatever subject you were focused on. So, what do you want to learn?

You can find additional resources for saying "no" intentionally at our Escape the Blur website.

You can also check out 20 Ways to Say No if you need some help.

What will you say no to today in order to say yes to more significant things?

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