"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
I am sure we have all been around a two-year old who, in a moment of independence, screams, "No, No, No". Of course, these times always seem to happen in the middle of a grocery store or during a church sermon. It's always difficult to navigate through these situations, but eventually, the independence moves on and the sweet child returns.
Move forward 13 years and the independence returns. Now, our child is a teenager and those words seem to return back to their vocabulary. Maybe we are asking them to clean their rooms. Maybe it is to attend a family function versus going out with friends. Whatever the situation, the words of, "No, No, No" return, now in greater defiance. Yes, we manage to navigate through these situations as well.
Funny, though, as we grow older, how those words become more difficult to say. What was once so easy to come out of our mouths, even at a young age, becomes difficult. Work asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"! Friends ask for commitments and we say, "Yes"! Family asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"! Church asks for commitments and we say, "Yes"! We are supposed to do good, correct? We are supposed to help others, correct? Yet, what happens when, by saying yes, we find ourselves over-extended, stressed to exhaustion, and feeling resentment each time the word "Yes" comes out of our mouths?
I have been in this situation multiple times. I am certain that all of you may have found yourselves in these times as well. It is so hard to rationalize saying No. People come to us for a reason - because they need something, they need help. That is why I love this verse so much. We are tempted for many reasons to say yes in all situations. Helping others makes US feel good. There is a sense of pride that comes with "doing it all". These are all common reactions. Yet, when the"yes" overcomes us, we can fall into many negative behaviors that are not Christlike.
When I get overextended:
- Sleep evades me
- Happiness turns into constant seriousness
- Worry takes over
- Resentment sets in
- The tone of my voice can be bitter
God will never give us more than we can handle. Many times, especially during times of trial, it feels like He does - but He always provides a way out - a light that shines on us. The same happens when we get to the "no" point. What am I supposed to say "NO" to Jesus? Talk to our Jesus, let Him know your anguish and pain. HE will tell you, He will provide you with the words.
- "I wish I could, but my plate is a bit full right now. I wouldn't do your request justice. Maybe there is someone else on the church council that can assist."
- "I would love to take on this work project. Maybe you can assist me in prioritizing my work so I can ensure a quality job."
- "Gee sis, I just can't get together this weekend - but let's make a date for next Wednesday".
Saying "no" can be difficult, especially for us "yes" people. Yet, in can be freeing. In saying no to certain things, we will be able to do the "yes" things with our full attention. God doesn't want worry and resentment in our lives. He will guide us to a less-stressed life with His power to say no!
Heavenly Father, I don't find it easy to say, "no". I want to help others and be of aid. Yet, when I over-extend myself, I know the stress of the situation can become unbearable. Help me and guide me to go to you FIRST before saying YES. Guide me to situations where I can say "no" with greater confidence and in love to all. In your gracious name I pray, Amen.