How to know when to say no

Crystal Cox

Although I am a rather introverted person, I enjoy time spent with friends over dinner or beside the pool. What I do not like, even dread, is the preparation for those events.

What starts out as, “Let’s have a few friends over,” turns into a couple days of stress and busyness and wondering what in the world we were thinking. The to-do list gets longer and longer. In between school pickups and practice carpools, I’m running to the store and madly cleaning the house.

And, because I have been known to start deep cleaning projects that would better be done when people aren’t arriving in 30 minutes, my husband, kids, and I are often cleaning until moments before people come in.

Do my friends really care if the baseboards are wiped off or if the fans are clean? No.

Would my friends have as much fun if things were in a little more of the normal, lived in state? Yes.

By the time people arrive, I have to adjust my attitude because I have gone crazy to impress.

Stressing About Impressing Is Not New

If we’re being honest, most of us don’t just feel this stress from time to time when special parties or events are happening. On the contrary, most of us feel this busyness and stress most of the time.

We are working, taking care of a household, planning parties, and running our kids from activity to activity. We are going to the salon, getting our nails done, and working out. We are making updates to the house, making sure the yard looks just right, serving on  committees, and going to meetings. We blame the pace of the present world and our responsibilities. But is it possible, that like my preparations for parties, some of our daily busyness is truly rooted in trying to impress people?

Many of the things keeping us busy are good things, but we don’t want to get so busy that we miss God’s purpose or presence. 

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet enjoying His company, “but Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

Martha gets frustrated that her sister isn’t helping and even asks Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Martha has lost her focus. She is worried about household tasks more than enjoying the presence of God. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Having the house look nice when people come over is a good thing. Many of the things keeping us busy are good things, but we don’t want to get so busy that we miss God’s purpose or presence. We don’t want to impress others at the expense of our intimacy with God. When faced with a task, ask yourself these questions and pray God will show you if you are getting caught in a trap of trying to impress.

How To Know When You Need To Say No

1. What is your motivation?

If you love making crafts and cute snacks for your toddler’s birthday party, go for it. If you are doing it to keep up with the neighbor’s party last month, order a pizza, buy some dollar store party favors, and let the party begin.

God has wired each of us differently. We get the most joy and He gets the most glory when we stop trying to keep up with each other and allow ourselves to be who God has made us to be.

2. Do you enjoy doing this?

It is true God will ask you to step out of your comfort zone and maybe even do something you don’t want to from time to time, but if you are continually hating your job or agonizing over a volunteer role, consider God may be leading you in another direction.

3. Why are you saying “yes”?

Saying yes because you love something, feel called to it, or want to serve someone is great. Saying yes just because it’s what you’re supposed to do or because you don’t want to look bad is the wrong motivation.

4. Is this bringing you closer to Jesus?

Is your relationship with Jesus growing more intimate or more distant because of the thing keeping you busy? Matthew 6:33 says to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” If something is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus, it’s time to make changes in your schedule.

Ask God to guide you as you answer these questions. God has a great purpose for each of us. Don’t allow being busy to cause you to miss it!

Related Content

to Discover More

Article

How to simplify your busy life

stress busyness discipleship

Our lives are full of so much activity every day. We live in an age where social media, instant communication... read more

Read Article

Article

Ready to quit? Practical advice for when burnout takes hold

purpose rest work stress overwhelmed

As a teacher, everyday can feel like one of “those days.”  A typical day at school includes... read more

Read Article

Devotional

Don't stop chasing your dreams

From Genesis: A 7-Week Devotional

planning purpose dreams

You had a vision to start a new business. You felt you should go back to school to further your education. Yo... read more

Read Devotional

Devotional

Your pain is not in vain

From Genesis: A 7-Week Devotional

purpose suffering

Fictional characters who endure hardship and die to save somebody else are often called Christ figures. As Ch... read more

Read Devotional

Devotional

Your story is the truth

From Reasons For Your Hope: A 5-Day Study to Discover the Power of Your Story

evangelism hope purpose

Imagine if you were in the crowd when Paul shared his story or when one of his letters was being read to you ... read more

Read Devotional

Devotional

Your story is about Jesus

From Reasons For Your Hope: A 5-Day Study to Discover the Power of Your Story

evangelism hope purpose

The young woman came running into the marketplace holding her skirt, breathless, sweat on her brow. In her ey... read more

Read Devotional

Devotional

Your story is a calling

From Reasons For Your Hope: A 5-Day Study to Discover the Power of Your Story

evangelism hope purpose

Healing of the man born blind was not what you may call a straightforward “win.” The miracle was ... read more

Read Devotional

Devotional

Your story is a blessing

From Reasons For Your Hope: A 5-Day Study to Discover the Power of Your Story

evangelism hope purpose

Paul’s God-confidence is everywhere in the New Testament. His faith in God has been lived in public fro... read more

Read Devotional

Story

Ed Byus got connected

March 17, 2019

family community serving purpose promises discipleship connect

Ed Byus retired from the U.S. Army and relocated to Greenville. Connect Classes helped him discover what

Read Story

Sermon

Stories of Purpose

From Chasing Purpose

Sep 1, 2019

joy purpose following jesus

Everyone has a unique purpose. And that means we all have a unique story to tell about our journey of chasing... read more

Watch Sermon

What's happening at NewSpring Church?

  • Need to Know: Weekly email to keep you informed about what's happening at NewSpring
  • Fuse News: Email for Fuse parents sent on the first Monday of the month
  • KidSpring Scoop: Email sent at the beginning of each series to give you the scoop on what's happening in KidSpring
  • Read My Bible: Daily devotional sent via text from 6-7am

Subscribe