I hate saying no.
I really stink at it. I detest feeling like I’ve let others down. I have to work myself up to near-frenzy to get the words out and I typically feel remorse about it afterward as if I’m single handedly crushing someone’s spirit through my negative reply. I struggle with this. It’s a constant battle for me not to overbook myself, feel totally overtaxed, and want to retreat from the world.
I was complaining to my mom about this feeling and she said something which totally blew my concept of saying “no” out of the water.
She quoted Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Then she went on to exegete the passage saying, “Kelly, God prepared for you good works, specific good works, and you should walk in those working at them mightily. Other works may present opportunity, and they may appear good from the outside, but if they’re not the good works that God prepared for you specifically, then they won’t be good if you say yes.”
Mind blowing truth! What beautiful freedom!
If I say “no” to everything, I’m being disobedient by failing to walk in the good works God has prepared for me. If I say “yes” to everything, I’m not being a good steward of myself! By stretching myself too thin I’m failing to give enough energy, time, and attention to the specific works which have been chosen for me. But perhaps even more frightening than that is the fact that by saying “yes” to everything I could be inadvertently usurping a work meant for another and thereby denying him of the opportunity to walk in the good works prepared for him!
I’ve found myself praying my own version of the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to say “no” to the works not prepared for me.
The courage to say “yes” to the works which are prepared for me.
And the wisdom to know the difference.