Learning to say “No”, in a “Yes” world.
I don’t know about you, but I say yes a lot. I say yes to ministry, to helping people, to watching friends or families kids, bible studies etc. All these things are good, but they can be bad.
Follow me now…Ministry, helping, bibles studies and the like, are all good things. No, they are great things. But, when you say yes to too many things…that is when it becomes bad.
Now, I LOVE being busy. I love having multiple things going on at the same time. There is nothing wrong with that either, but I would argue that there are seasons for those times when you are busy, busy.
“…For every season…”
Women in the church
“What we know, and research supports, is that post industrial revolution there was a shift in the home and thus in the church. As the men went to work outside of the home, women began to take on a larger role in the spiritual development of their children. They also began to take on a more prominent role in the church as leaders and volunteers. What we know, currently is:
- The typical U.S. Congregation draws an adult crowd that’s 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories. (Some churches the % of female members can reach up to 70%)
- On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America’s churches.
- This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands. (Even if their husbands profess to be Christian)
- Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.
There are more women attending, and participating in the active life of the church. This is why you may see that Women’s Bible Studies outnumber their male counterparts. Or, why Women’s Ministry is still a vital ministry in the church… but Men’s Ministries are waning.
Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry.” https://womensministrycouncil.com
MORE WOMEN ARE SAYING YES!
As women, we are naturally inclined to fill the gaps when we see them. We naturally want to help, and so when we see a need, we are more prone to just say “I can do that!”, and help out where needed.
My personal opinion is that because men in our culture are being demasculinized (making men “weanies”), a majority of them are prone to just say, “what the heck…let the women do it…they seem to be in control anyways!”
(Feminism at it’s finest)
That’s another story for another day.
Now, let me just tell you…I love being busy. I love being involved in everything. I am good at taking charge, and I love to use my gifts in areas of leadership, music, decorating, coordinating….you name it! And, for a while, I was doing all these things. All at once!
Last year, I had one of those seasons where I had to learn to say no. My youngest was one-year-old and I was overwhelmed. Having 4 Littles, homeschooling, leading worship on Sundays and Wednesdays, house chores, bible studies, supporting my husbands hectic schedule with work, etc. I had to learn to set boundaries for myself and for my family. The problem was, I didn’t know how.
At first, I just kept on with everything. I didn’t get much of any “down time”, which I did fine with. But, I started noticing how drained I was becoming. I was starting to get “short” with my kids more often, and would get angry easier. I didn’t like that, so I began praying that God would show me what to do. You see, I never could stand being a “flake”. I have always admired consistency in people, and was striving to be “consistent”; to the detriment of those around me. Especially my kids.
I think that is when God started giving me a word. One very simple word. SIMPLIFY. That word kept “showing up” in my devotional times, in worship music, in talking with people. It was everywhere. And it was then that I started realizing that the word meant something deeper to me. I started realizing that God was trying to tell me something. “SIMPLIFY.”
To me, that was a clear “writing on the wall”. I knew I had to start “off-loading” some responsibilities. I knew I had to be intentional about not only saying “no” to things, but also letting go of some things. I cannot even tell you how liberating it is to do that! As a semi-control freak, I thought I would have a harder time of letting go of things, but I think that God gave me the peace I needed to do it.
So I did. I started saying no. I started planning for days that had nothing planned (which was foreign to me). Days where I could take my kids to the park, or on a hike, or just sit with them and read a story.
I aint gonna lie…for this need-to-stay-busy mama…it was tough. I think of that season of my life as a discipline season. One that I struggled finding a comfortable “groove” in. But, like any discipline, it got easier over time.
How do we say NO?
You may be able to relate to me. Maybe you have too much going on right now, and you are thinking, “how do I get rid of all of this responisbility?”
The question is, how do we as women begin to say “no”, when there is so much that needs to be done?
Let me just tell you…It’s not your job to do everything, be involved in everything or to be apart of every ever-livin bible study!!! AND THAT’S OK! SHHHHH…
I’ll give you what I did…I began to just say “NO.”
Here’s where you can start:
- Begin to prioritize your life.
- Sit back and think about what you want to be important in your life, and focus on that.
- Be intentional on that.
Do I have it all together? Nope. Do I practice this stuff perfectly? Nope.
But, I know that since I have begun to say no, and to limit the things I say yes to…liberation has began to envelope me. I do feel a “lighter load”, and I also feel freedom. I love that I can take the day off school if I want to, and just spend the day doing fun stuff with the kids. I love that I can take the day to just deep clean my house (I’m a nerd and like to clean). I love that I can take a day and spend it being with my family.
Let me make something clear real quick…something that I am STILL learning. MY HUSBAND AND MY KIDS ARE MY MINISTRY. They are the most important ministry I could ever be involved in! They deserve my attention, my love, my service.
All that being said, I pray that this little post encourages you. If you are struggling with saying no to people, ministries or work…just know, you’re not alone. The struggle is real! But, with God’s help, you can do it! JUST SAY NO!