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No Guilt for Saying No

An earthly "no" may very well be the best "yes" you've said to God in a very long time.

Guilt. It's a driving force behind much of our exhaustion. As Christian women, we say too many nos to the rhythms of rest and too many yeses to good things, like baking cupcakes, shopping for a neighbor, or helping with the church's website. Every guilt-driven yes means a no to something important in our lives.

As gifted as we are at multi-tasking, there are concrete limits to what we can get done in any given day. The result? We routinely short-change the top priorities of our lives. We're irritable and impatient with those we love. We forfeit our need for sleep. We pass through many days oblivious to the presence of God.

A remarkable story about guilt is tucked into the very first chapter of Mark. When Jesus visited Simon's home where his mother-in-law was sick in bed, Jesus healed her and the news spread quickly. That evening the whole town gathered at their door. Jesus ministered to each one late into the night.

Waking early the next morning, Jesus slipped away to a quiet place to be alone with his Father. As the sun rose, a fresh batch of people gathered at the house. A group of disciples went looking for Jesus. When they finally found him, they announced, "Everyone is looking for you!" Can you hear their intent to instill guilt? The people waiting at the house for Jesus had legitimate needs and a real desire to meet him. Yet listen to Jesus' reply: "Let us go somewhere else … "

Refusing to be guilt-driven, Jesus chose to be Spirit-led. Jesus' holy yes to God meant an earthly no to real people with real needs. The lesson is clear—just because there's a need, doesn't mean I've been called to meet it.

The next time an opportunity knocks on your door, think it through with the direction of the Holy Spirit. We're asked to run hard, but not at the continual expense of rhythm. An earthly no may very well be the best yes you've said to God in a very long time.

—Brenda Jank. Excerpted from Brenda's article, " Overloaded"

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Boundaries; Burnout; Busyness; Guilt; Rest; Slowing Down
Today's Christian Woman, October , 2010
Posted October 1, 2010

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