Look! A shiny round wheel! I jump on and run for what seems like forever. Legs wobbling and breathing labored, I soon realize my destination is the land of exhaustion…and I’m not sure how to get off. Life has transformed me into the proverbial hamster running on a wheel. Instead of saying yes without thinking, maybe I should have said no. Maybe saying no can be good.
When I fill my days saying yes to every opportunity and everyone else’s requests, I fail to see no can be a positive thing. No doesn’t always have to be negative.
No brings rest, peace, and space to breathe.
No provides new opportunities to truly see others and the world around me.
No allows me to be still and hear God.
Today, life is often about how much more we can we fit in, do, post, pin or tweet. We want it all; but in the process, we may lose sight of what is most important: God and His plan. When we spend our days running on the wheel from one thing to the next, how can we listen to and hear from God? By sometimes saying no.
“Life is about choices” has been the mantra in our home lately. Our children are getting older (as are we) and more opportunities and options are available. But we remind ourselves and our children –“just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
As a cardiac ICU nurse, I cared for many older folks with multiple physical conditions in need of heart surgery. I often wanted to (and sometimes did) say to them “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. I saw what they couldn’t see: the other patients with existing conditions who had already gone through surgery. They didn’t always do well; some were never the same. Their lives, though probably extended, didn’t have the quality they desired. They were running on the wheel to nowhere.
The same holds true for all of us. What do we desire? More opportunities with a schedule so full we wind up exhausted? Or a life of quality and meaning, doing one or two things well with all we can give? This is the question I have been struggling with lately.
Let’s remind ourselves how things work in God’s kingdom-sometimes His no turns into an extraordinary new opportunity. He sees all sides of our decisions and future. I could see what my patients couldn’t; but God sees it all. I cannot see the future like God, but I have experienced Him leading me down paths I never knew existed. I need to take my cues from God, my choices to God and sometimes say no.
When life’s opportunities offer no clear best choice, let’s take it to God. Connecting with Him daily and often in prayer provides direction. But this can only happen when we give Him our time and attention. Give Him our time by reading His Word and applying it in our lives. Give Him our attention in prayer and listening for His response.
Trusting in God provides understanding as to which wheel I should say yes and to which wheel I should say no. Because sometimes…no can be good.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree