Live Up To Your Fullest Potential By Saying No
A few weeks ago, I was at a Student Organization Fair on my college campus to represent one of the clubs I’m involved with. Around me, the student ballroom was crowded with tables, posters, people, and noise. Every table had representatives handing out flyers and making sales pitches in an effort to grab the attention of the students meandering through the room, promising them great experiences, community, and resume material.
It was exhausting.
Maybe, like me, you're one of those people who wishes you could help everyone who asks, and when you can't, you beat yourself up about being a failure (a bad friend, mother, sister, student, etc..). Sound familiar?
It seems that invitations to help, volunteer, attend events, contribute to clubs, and join ministries all come at the same time and in the middle of my busiest seasons. Maybe you feel that way too. If so, I’d like to encourage you to not feel overwhelmed, because you simply can't commit to everything. It's not healthy - not for your body, mind or your faith.
It's okay to say no sometimes. Seriously. The world won't end. Your friends will still love you. You won't fail.
Breathe. Let go of those expectations of being super woman. Don't believe the lie that you need to do everything. The fact is, we’re all human beings with limited time, emotions, mental energy, and resources. The key is to harness these valuable, limited resources in the most efficient and Godly way possible. To make each minute count.
As followers of Christ, we are often called to do more than we think we can handle. This forces us to rely on His strength and move forward in faith that the Lord will multiply our small, limited resources to become enough. But, even the apostles recognized that we are called to much, but not to everything.
“In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables. Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the teaching ministry.” -Acts 6:1-4
The apostles weren’t demeaning the necessity of serving widows – they were simply recognizing that their primary calling as Apostles was to dedicate their time to preaching and evangelism. If they were to take on the task of making sure all the widows got their allotments of food, that responsibility would take away time from their primary callings.
The solution? Find people whose primary callings were to serve the widows.
That’s the beautiful thing about the Church – God oversees and orchestrates every aspect of the world. He can raise up workers. He has a role written and casted for every single person on this Earth.
You must only focus on what He has called YOU to do.
I once heard it put this way: The good is the enemy of the best. Just like a plant with too many buds cannot possibly sustain all of them, so too are we if we’re overloaded with commitments. Some of the buds might have to die to divert the energy so other buds can flourish.
Take some time to pray and ask God what it is He wants you to do at this time; it may be a little or a lot. But once you have that, do not allow yourself to be stressed out or pressured by any other requests for time and help that you simply cannot give. Know your calling and excel in it.
Rest in the fact that God is enough; that your calling is enough. He is not expecting you to be the answer to everyone and everything. He can and will raise up other helpers.
Stay focused and relax. You are not alone.