Helping maintain the soul by learning how to say ‘no’

You don’t make friends by saying “no.”

You make friends by saying “yes.” Sure, I will do that. Yes, I will add that to my already overbooked calendar. Absolutely, I will take care of that for you. Glad to help.

The problem comes in that while you continually say yes to more things than you should, your soul is shriveling more and more.

The Lord is teaching me that sometimes nothing is better than everything. Perhaps that is a lesson we all need to learn.

There are so many opportunities to be involved in sports, activities, small groups, classes, organizations and so much more (for you and the kids). While these extracurricular activities are beneficial, sometimes you can overextend yourself by participating in too much.

When you are overextended you don’t have time to rest. We come to the place that slowing down doesn’t even seem like a remote possibility. It’s like we get on a treadmill that is running faster and faster and it seems like there is no way to get off.

You don’t have time to rest, to read, to exercise, to take care of yourself.

Before long, you can begin to resent the life God intends for you to enjoy. We need balance in our lives, and there is probably no place that we need more balance than in our overloaded schedules.

This is certainly true for adults, but it is also true for teenagers and children. Mom and Dad, do your kids a favor: limit their involvement in extracurricular activities. They don’t need to be in everything coming and going. It runs them ragged and it is running you ragged, too.

When we let them do everything they want to do, it won’t be long until we don’t have time for the things that matter most. We are also teaching our children some very unhealthy habits that will be difficult to break later on.

Learn to say no. You don’t have to do everything. Find ways to lighten your load, then stay home to do nothing. Make time to do things like rest, relax, read a book, pray or take a walk, spend time with the people you love.

It may not seem like what you are doing is all that “productive” on the surface, but you are doing yourself and your family a huge favor when you learn to say no to some things so that you can say yes to the more important things. You’ll also be taking some significant steps toward keeping your soul in shape.

“Be still and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.