The Bible outlines almost everything in black and white… or so it seems. The Bible is full of things it tells us to say YES to:
* Obeying our parents (Ephesians 6:1)
* Tithing (Malachi 3:10)
* Having faith (Hebrews 11)
And I could go on for pages if that’s what this were about. In addition, the Bible gives us plenty of NOs, all the “thou shalt not” commandments, or namely, sin.
But it’s come to seem like every “good thing” every thing that isn’t sin, even every Christ-honoring thing… we should probably say yes to. Yes to every ministry opportunity, yes to every fellowship, yes to everyone and everything that asks you. Because Jesus would have done that… right?
In the hustle and bustle of the world around us, it’s easy to feel judged if we take time to rest. And people are sure to judge us if we don’t say “yes” to every seemingly great opportunity. Yes to every mission trip, every ministry, every class and event and job.
Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all GREAT things. One of the most fulfilling things in my life has been teaching kids or leading worship at my church. But I get burnt out.
I’m in one of those slumps right now. I’m so burnt out and tired that I feel incapable of putting my best foot forward in anything. I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off. I’m flirting about from place to place trying to fulfill all my tasks and duties… and it just isn’t working.
Last week, I was crashing. I was too tired to think straight and there didn’t seem to be any hope on the horizon of things getting calmer. But I felt trapped. I couldn’t say no to anything… that would make me a failure. God said His power is perfected in weakness, so that must mean I should just keep pushing… right?
The people around me who loved me kept telling me that I needed to slow down. But I didn’t even listen because I felt like they were saying that because they didn’t believe I could do it all and I wanted to prove that I could. So I fought harder to the detriment of my health, my grades, and my relationships.
Finally, I hit a breaking point. I was talking to the chaplain at my job and trying to be cheery about everything going on in my life. But she could easily see how tired I was and when she asked about it, all of my stresses began to pour out. I couldn’t keep doing everything. But I felt trapped. I couldn’t honestly identify a single thing that could go. It was all important.
She remained adamant. Gently but firmly, she told me I needed to make a list of absolutely everything that was filling up my time and pray over it until I had laid down the things that God was telling me to lay down.
I didn’t think I would find anything. I honestly thought that I would just use my list to make a more updated schedule and become a better time manager and let that be enough. But God had different plans.
He began laying on my heart the same lesson that He taught me all of last school year and that I had become so busy that I was forgetting — lay down what’s good, and find what’s BEST.
One of my dear mentors always tells me that we should do everything we do for God with excellence.
I sure wasn’t doing anything with excellence when I was giving it the bare minimum amount of my time possible before flying to the next task. And so it was time for things to go.
I never thought I would drop out of a college class, it seemed like that would make me a failure, but God said do it.
I thought that it would be wrong to give up being involved in a certain ministry at my church, but God said to slow down.
I thought it would make me a failure to cut my blog back to one post a week, but He reminded me that this is all for Him, and He decides when and what I need to write.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30
God didn’t design me to keep putting such a heavy load on myself. He designed me to need rest. And when I’m overloaded, my heart isn’t soft to the new things that He may be bringing to my life.
I’ve always believed that I had to say yes to too many things. Be committed too many places. Do every “good” thing. But this week, God taught be that sometimes, “No” is the best yes to my life. The best yes to His plans for me. The best yes to having time for the things that really matter.
The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” — Exodus 33:14
As You went with Moses, LORD, go with me in everything I do. May I glorify You in all and find rest in You alone. Amen.