Sometimes we have to say “no” to things that seem GOOD, so that we can make space for BEST.
A close friend of mine recently advised me to be careful of becoming too busy. You see, BUSY can be turned into an acronym:
“Bound Under Satan’s Yoke.”
It is so easy to become caught up in doing so many objectively “good” things without stopping to ask if these are the best things for us to do.
When we become busy with things that feel urgent, we can begin to neglect the truly important aspects of life. Stop to really evaluate – is your time consumed by work demands, projects, hobbies, or daily responsibilities to the point that other things are neglected? Do you spend more time being busy than you do being a loving spouse, godly parent, or faithful follower of Christ?
The Challenge of Staying Faith-Focused
Yes – it is true that we all have responsibilities. Part of being a husband or wife or father or mother is taking care of the tangible needs of others. We must go out into the world. We must earn a living, put food on the table, provide shelter, and enrich the lives of our families. Yet we must not forget who we are and whose we are in the midst of our busyness.
A common struggle in marriage is trying to keep all the “other things” from distracting us from focusing on our relationship. We allow work, social media, hobbies, entertainment, and many other things dominate our time. We are so busy, and without even realizing it we look up one day to find that we have drifted away from one another.
I’m not sure why this happens – I doubt it is intentional. Perhaps it is due to misordered priorities or accidental distraction. Maybe it is because we believe that we could truly focus on our family and be present with them if everything else on the to-do list was done. I have learned recently that it is partially due to my difficulty in saying “no.” Sometimes we have to say “no” to things that seem good, so that we can make space for best.
Saying “no” sounds easy, but it is actually quite hard to do! We want to help that friend in need, or be a team player at work, or make it to Costco before the sale ends. None of these things are wrong or inherently sinful, but they may be undermining our efforts to be the best spouse, parent, or faith-filled person we can be. They may be keeping us away from God or our families because we have fallen into the trap called BUSY.
Overcoming the Clutter
I wish I could tell you I have mastered this area of life, but the truth is that I still have much to learn. What I can do is share with you two things that are helping me to battle against being busy. The first is to pray and ask for discernment. Often the act of pressing pause and asking the the Lord what He desires of us is all that it takes for us to know the difference between good and best. I try to include my wife in these prayers, because she brings the familial perspective to the forefront. Beyond the benefit of seeking God’s best together, we also leave these prayer times assured that God will give us the grace we need to get through anything He is asking of us as a family.
The second thing I have learned is to cease being a people pleaser. It is hard to say “no” when your self worth is wrapped up in making others happy. But when saying “yes” to others is in opposition to saying “yes” to the One who directs our steps, the right answer becomes simpler. God doesn’t place a burden on us, but rather makes clear the best path.