Learning to say "no" is quite the challenge. For me, I supposed this inability to say that little word comes from some sort of pride...to think someone needs me. If I don't come through no one will. And besides, no one will do it as well.
How egocentric is that?!
Reality is much different than the thoughts that run through my mind.
In reality, I'm just one person.
In reality, many people can do what I do just as well.
In reality, life should not be about hopping from one task to the other.
In reality, life should not be about doing everything for everybody else and wasting the calling God has on my life because I'm too tired or too spent.
In reality, "no" is not a dirty word. (It doesn't even have four letters.) "No" is just a word. It brings balance into our lives. It brings rest to our minds. It frees other people to do what they're called to do.
I think my pastor, Mike Buie, said it best. "Sometimes we have to say 'no' to good opportunities so we can say 'yes' to God opportunities."
Truthfully, for me, this is very difficult. I want to change the world so much more than I have and experience so much more of life than I have and be so much more than I am, but reality has to rule here. If I'm so busy with good opportunities, more than likely I'm going to miss the God opportunities that are passing right in front of my eyes.
Leonard Ravenhill once said, "The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity." That's the thing...opportunities will pass right in front of our eyes. They can slip through our fingers. We can run right past them with every intention to return. But when they are gone, they're gone.
In the past, I've missed opportunities. I've missed some because I was scared to jump. I've missed some because I was trying to be submissive. I've missed some because I was just flat out lazy. I've missed some--many--because I was too busy to recognize those opportunities as defining moments.
I've written about this truth before, but let me just remind you of Paul's words in a few of his epistles.
Ephesians 5:15, 16
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Make the best use of your time. Make the best use of your God opportunities. Say "no" to good opportunities so you can say "yes" to God opportunities.
This next year, 2015, I'm not making a resolution. I'm working to adopt a word. Purge. Purge the things in my life that clutter my attention. Purge things that distract me from God's purpose for my life. Purge so I can make the most of every opportunity.
The end of this year is very near, but it doesn't come before we celebrate the most blessed event to come to the earth: the birth of Jesus Christ.
This Christmas season, we wish you the happiest of Christmases. We look forward to the new year the same as we look to the redemption God brings to us through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son and our Lord, Jesus.
The new year will bring many changes and many challenges, but it will also bring a blank canvas to be painted on creating a beautiful masterpiece guided by the Father's hand.
"I don’t want you to be waiting, to be sitting there hoping for me to arrive. No, you are so much more than me, you have a life that is full of meaning and beauty. I don’t want you to leave your canvas blank because you think I’ll be the paint, for you are the paint to your own canvas, you are being made into something wonderful. Don’t dream of me, and forget to live your own wonderful life, because I’ll meet you one day, and we’ll have so much to catch up on. One day, you can take me through the museum that is your life, and I will fall in love with all the stories that lay within those walls. So don’t wait for me, because you and I will start a new life when the time is right, but for now, love the story you are in; I know I will."