Hi, friend! It’s my mission to help others find balance and wellness for the spirit, mind, and body—in that order. Today I’m going to start series on “wellness drainers”. I’m organized and usually follow through with what I start, but with this wellness ministry I want to be sure to leave myself open to The Lord’s leading, so this will be a series but I will allow The Lord to interrupt as He sees fit. Goodness knows He’s done that a lot lately with this blog!
What are wellness drainers? I find that in my own life my wellness deteriorates with certain circumstances of life. Since I can’t control all of life’s circumstances, I have to find a way to alter my life, to create a buffer for my spirit, to make areas of silence so I can hear the voice of God and combat things that drain my wellness and attempt to steal my joy.
One wellness drainer that most of us struggle with is the “Yes Syndrome”. I am a self-diagnosed “yes syndrome” sufferer, and I’ve had it my whole life. I am a person swayed by people pleasing and guilt. Let me expound: I commit to many things out of guilt or fear of disappointing people or God.
There are times when I have said yes so much that I am buried in an avalanche of commitments. I have spread myself so thin that I cannot give one single task 100% of my effort or time.
I’m currently battling physical illnesses that are fed or exacerbated by stress and busyness, lack of self care. In my attempt to heal, I have been practicing the lost art of saying “no”. I’ll be honest with you—it’s been difficult. For one thing, in order to make the decision as to whether I am capable or led to do serve, I need to be able to hear from God. However, my life is so full of busyness and over-commitment that I don’t have time to listen down and listen to His answer. The busyness is so loud that I can’t even hear Him.
One resource that has been a tremendous help to me has been The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman. She writes about helping people make decisions and even about “decision fatigue”, and I’ll just say that’s another ailment I have.
I’ve used this analogy before, but have you ever seen a game show with a money booth? They put the contestant in this booth with money on the floor. The object is to grab as much money as you can before time runs out, but when the timer starts bursts of air flow through the machine causing the money to swirl around high in the air. It’s difficult to grab the money as it swirls around all over the place.
Decision fatigue is a complication of the yes syndrome. It’s a vicious cycle of feeling completely overwhelmed with all of the decisions I need to make, and the thought that they are swirling above my head just outside by grasp. I can’t catch one decision so I can peacefully move on. I can’t catch one task to complete it. This brings me so much anxiety and frustration!
Another step in practicing the art of saying “no” is letting go of the guilt. There are times when I have graciously said no to someone who has requested I help or serve in some capacity. Initially I feel peace and relief, but it takes all of two seconds for guilt to set in.
The Bible states: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” One way that the enemy seeks to devour me is to try to lead me back to the chaos and distraction of overwhelm.
It’s true that we are supposed to serve others and God, and sometimes that means wearing ourselves out, but not to the point that it is detriment to our relationship with God.
I am not superwoman, but the enemy uses this to make me feel bad about myself and guilty when I can’t serve others. He tries to make me feel guilty for saying “no”.
No is a normal word in the English vocabulary, but we have turned it into a curse word. The enemy sends people to make you feel guilty for saying no. We have to remember that what others think of us is not important. God will be the one we have to answer to on judgment day, and our family is the one we have to answer to when we get home.
It is the desire of the enemy to distract us from God’s will and plans for our lives, to distract us from hearing and following the voice of our shepherd.
Now , don’t get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with asking someone for help. People have a need and are simply trying to fill it. They don’t always know who would be the best fit. They don’t always pray for guidance on who to ask prior to asking. When you say no to someone, it may be that you need to say yes. It may be that you need to say no. You need to pray too.
Instead of letting the enemy and people guilt you, what would happen if we lived by the principle that what God thinks of us is more important that what people think? How do you think He feels when we trade time and relationship with Him for something else? Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Remember to be gracious because people don’t always pray before they ask. They should, though, because you may not be the best person for the job.
What if The Lord is telling you to say “no”? What if He knows how overwhelmed you are, and that you and the requester would actually be better served by you saying no so the best person for the job can say yes?
Have you read The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst? Here’s a quote:
“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”
Lysa shows us there are times when we accept an assignment and the outcome is not beneficial, less than the best, outside of God’s will, and it affects our very soul.
When we say know, we are choosing to open up a wide array of blessings from The Lord. (Let’s get this straight that the new, popular definition of “blessings” is not necessarily anything material or monetary. People are offended by the words blessed or blessings these days, but that’s because their worldly mindset has turned it into something negative.)
Now, back to my point: the individual seeking help will be blessed because the best person for the job will give them the results they hoped for. You will receive a plethora of blessings as well because you will be walking in God’s will for you at that moment by saying no to one thing so you can say yes to God’s plan.
So, we’ve learned that we need to give ourselves permission under God’s authority to say no.
Let’s be honest, we want to be blessed. When I say yes to everything I don’t feel blessed. Neither does my family. Our home life becomes chaotic and all of our souls suffer.
There are times when we need to say “no”, and IT’S OKAY! When did we turn the word “no” into a curse word?
Think about it: as parents we have to say “no”. If we don’t, our children may do something dangerous that could severely harm or even kill them or someone else. The word “no” protects us with healthy boundaries. People who live without boundaries become selfish individuals lacking in self-discipline and courtesy for others.
For those with a need: please show grace to those who say no. Understand that they may have prayed and been led to say no so that they could get out of the way and allow the right person could say yes. We know the load we are bearing, and we don’t know everything about the circumstances of other people’s lives.
In 1 Corinthians 10:23, God’s Word says: “We are allowed to do anything,” so they say. That is true, but not everything is good. “We are allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful..
It is definitely not beneficial or helpful to pressure someone to step outside of God’s will and say yes to something just because a need needs to be filled.
To my overwhelmed friends, please remember: Show yourself grace when you say no. Remember you are trading that task for something better, something life-giving that God has in store. Let Him refill you with peace, wellness, and His spirit.