Recently, I’ve been asking myself, “What do I need to do to create more emotional, spiritual and mental space in my daily life?” During the day I find myself running from one meeting to the next; in the evenings I “catch up” on work and life at a rather hectic pace. I don’t like the frenetic hurriedness I am living in, and in the in-between times at stop-lights or waiting in line at the grocery store, I wonder, “Lord, what do you have to say about this pace I’m living right now?”

In my more honest moments, I know the answer to these questions, and I admit to feeling fear at what I must do to make some changes.

I need to say “no”.

I work in an environment that tends to promote doing, being, or producing “for the Kingdom”. Needs abound. Problems need to be solved. People need to be heard. And it appeals to my own deep need to fill their need, solve their problem, and be the one to listen. These things make me feel valuable, worthy, loved. I don’t like this frenetic pace, but I say “yes” and pack my schedule full of responsibilities so that I can continue to fill my soul’s deep need to feel valuable and important.

On the surface I say “yes” because isn’t this what all good, hard-working Christians do? In my more honest moments, I sense that I may be saying yes out of fear.

Saying “no” is risky – it tests my trust and dependence. Saying “no” means I must trust that the Lord will take care of this person or that need. Saying “no” means I may be disliked, “guilted”, or seen as uncooperative. Saying “no” prompts me to depend on Jesus to fill my need to know that I am valuable, worthy, loved.

Slowly, the question I’m asking has been changing: “Lord, what activities and conversations are you inviting me into today, and what activities and conversations may be left to another?” And then comes the prayer for courage to say “no” to the many good things that come up each day so that I can say “yes” to the better.

What is behind your “no’s” and “yes’s”? What conversation are you having with the Lord about these things?

– Lisa Igram