No Is The New Black.


There’s a book I love by Kevin DeYoung called Crazy Busy. Its about a man, a very busy one, writing a book about working on controlling the busyness in his life. What I also love about it is the fact that he hasn’t arrived in this area, and that he realizes its an evolving way of life. He’s not writing it as an expert, but as someone in the journey with the reader. That, is exactly what brings me to today's topic: No is the new black.

"Plant your roots deep, not wide"

This simply means that we should focus on a few little things with intent and passion versus giving our all to everything. By nature, I think I am a person who is not shy when it comes to responsibility. I take things head on and though adjusting to the flow of things aren’t always easy, I’m able by the grace of God, to handle it. Whether its coaching a team, entering a new job, taking on a project, ministry involvements, etc. Through this the one thing that I am learning is the virtue of balance and time. In the midst of all of these things, there is a need to not just do things, but do them well. One thing I never want to do is be a “Jack of all trades but master of none”…. Surprisingly, this two letter word has been helping me refine that in life.

It is helping me get my priorities straight. Its helping me announce to others what my boundaries are and it is also opening up an access of much needed time for spiritual, relational and personal needs. It’s also helping me have time to renew strength and not be so scatter brained all of the time. I’ve even noticed the much that is gained in focused time with God because of it. I’ve learned a few things during the last couple of months so I thought I would share them. In Thorns and Lilies fashion, it wouldn’t be a blog if it didn’t include practical steps, so here we go:

It starts with a “No”

I am wholeheartedly a person who loves being with my family, friends, team and church family. I love the communities I am apart of and I thoroughly enjoy being around them. However, that can get really hectic real fast if I don’t decline two or three invites every now and then. It hasn’t always been easy to decline an invite or even an ask to come over my home but I know the feeling of being rested is better than being worn out with too many "yes" replies. Birthdays, weddings, baby showers and the like are important. I believe in showing up to support and celebrate people. I also believe movie dates and kickbacks are essential too, however if the balance isn’t real, the struggle will be. That’s in the book of Experiences Chapter 5 verse 2.

15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:15-16

The grace to extend.

I by no means am saying there aren’t times when I’m not super involved in a project or a team. I have responsibilities to lead in certain areas and I don’t overlook the fact that it will be times I have to stretch myself in order for things to get done. I think when people believe it is a cookie cutter way of being in certain roles it brings frustration when you have to extend. Staying an extra hour later, helping someone when you didn’t intend to, or changing your schedule for something important can be aggravating to someone who has a “clock in clock out” mindset. The key to it, just as Jesus displays in Luke, is that he often retreated to pray. There is supernatural strength in that. If He gives me the grace to do it, I know I will recieve the help

I need when things feel like its too much.

Though there is grace to extend, there is also wisdom in it. There’s a difference between strain and grit. One is to perservere the other is to max out. I think we have to know the difference between when we need to roll our sleeves up and keep going versus when we need to check out and rest. Choose wisely!

When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8

My No leaves room for my Yes.

During this process of being more steadfast in figuring out what is important and what is not, I’m realizing even the more that when I say no to something, it leaves room for my yes to more important, even pivotal things. Essential things like time with my family, building memories with friends, time to sleep, or time to relax for much needed “me time”. Some of what it leaves room for are spiritual. If I say no to time consuming things I leave room for prayer, quiet time with the Lord and time to study His word. At the end of the day, It will always be something. There will always be somewhere to be or someone you could be with. However, time in the secret place can’t be trumped by things of lesser value. Our help doesn’t come from a planner full of invites, it comes from God. So lets make time for that first.

Schedule a No

I have one day out of the week where I have nothing planned, Nada. Zilch. Nothing after work. Weekends don’t always work out because its so many different things that go on during a Saturday. However, when that specific day comes, I know it’s a day I can look forward to. A day where the only thing I plan on doing is going home and doing whatever I like. It could be a nap, cooking for the week, watching TV, or reading something interesting. Or, just simply sitting on the couch talking to my sister in my pajamas. It works for me and I enjoy It every week. Not only is it enjoyable, its needed.

Until Next Time,

Jess

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