Friday, June 03, 2016

Say NO to Many Things and YES to the Main Thing by Rose McCormick Brandon

In one of his Every Day with Jesus devotionals, Selwyn Hughes wrote that he "has learned to say no to many things in order to say yes to the main thing."
As a young, zealous Christian I said yes to almost everything. Name a Christian activity and I've probably been involved in it at some point in my life. Besides what I considered ministry, my three children each had sports, music and other activities that required my attendance. I did these things, not out of obligation, but sincerely and with a desire for others to discover this amazing life in Jesus.
In spite of my lofty motives, eventually, over-commitment left me exhausted . . . at the end of my rope.
In what's known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." (The Message)
Forced to reconsider my involvements, I took the summer off from my job (I forgot to mention that I also worked). Over two leisurely months, I found myself learning to enjoy life again, breathing deeply, re-discovering the magic of creation.
While lounging on the beach and sitting at nightly campfires, I decided to prune my over-busy calendar when I returned home. Like Selwyn Hughes, I began to say no to many unimportant things (unimportant for me) so that I could say yes to God's focus for my life.
I still found myself tending to become over-busy, unwilling to disappoint people by saying no, and some projects appealed to me so much I wanted to say yes. Pruning my calendar wasn't an easy one-time experience. I've had to do it many times.
As summer approaches and activities wind down, could this be a good time for you to reconsider what your fall schedule should look like?
We can't do our best at anything if we try to do everything.
"Lord, help me to become quiet enough to hear from you about the main focus of my life. Let my thoughts drift in you and find joy in the miracles that surround me. As I prune excess from my life, I lean on your wisdom for guidance."

cover One Good Word 2Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of One Good Work Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home - Stories of Canada's British Home Children. Visit her website at


Peter Black said...

Thank you Rose for sharing your experience and this message. It's a necessary one for me. I get brought back to it time and again, since it runs counter to my natural tendency and temperament.~~+~~

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

More difficult for some than others to say No. It has always been difficult for me. Like you, I get brought back to this necessity too.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

I think quite a few of us have to learn to say "no" a little more often so we can do fewer things well... and not get too worn out.

Glynis said...

O my giddy aunt (British phrase) but I was totally nodding during your second paragraph. I have a lot of trouble saying no, although as I am getting a little older, it's a bit easier. I always feel like I have to offer a reason or justify my 'no' so I am still working on it. Wise, wise advice, Rose. Thanks for making me think twice!

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

I've had to do that so, so many times. As soon as I get my calendar down to a managable size, I immediately begin thinking, "With so much space, I can now do this...and this... and this. Before I know it, the process needs to be repeated. Do you think that's why God allowed me to have a bum leg right now? I CAN'T to as much now. : )

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