I recently came to a decision. I had over-committed my time and energies. I did so because I have a hard time saying “no” to people I care about – and because I want to feel “liked.”
The problem is that when I did that, it left me little time for a meaningful relationship with God. I had little time for personal reflection and to study the teachings of Christ. What a blunder.
I have begun saying “no” to others in order to simplify my life and make more time for God and my spiritual journey. My decision to say “no” clearly is not going to win me a popularity contest, nor is it received well by people who are used to me doing whatever they ask of me. But it is received well by God.
Initially, I felt guilt when I said “no” to others because I felt like I was letting them down; sometimes I felt fear that they would react with anger or disapproval, which they often did. Saying “no” to family and friends has such a negative association in my culture that it was hard for me to say “no” without second-guessing myself.
But then it occurred to me that by saying “no” to one thing, in effect I was saying “yes” to something else. And that perspective was empowering.
When I say “no” to anything in my life that would prevent me from having a more meaningful relationship with God, I am saying “yes” to Him. My goal is to achieve a simpler life and more time for reflection, spiritual growth, and prayer.
My desire is to achieve life where I can serve others, but also have time for my spiritual self. I’m seeking balance — with God as my priority.
With God’s grace, I will use reclaimed time and energy to focus on those things that I believe God is calling me to do. Perhaps it will also allow family, friends, and acquaintances who have relied heavily on me in the past the opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth — and the opportunity for them to become less dependent.
I do not feel as well-liked by some people since I began saying “no” to them, but I’m feeling God’s love — and that comforts me.
I have discovered that saying “no” to things that do not lead me closer to God is the best decision I can make.
For a “yes” that obscures God is not God’s intent at all.
Photo by Solovyov Andriy