For a while now, I have been in a state of “consistent overwhelm”. I have just had way too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it. I have not hidden the fact that I have been ill and that has not made this season easier.
Looking back now, I see that God may have been trying to tell me to drop a few things and FOCUS. I always say to people that when you see something or hear something, repeatedly, God is trying to tell you something. Drop everything and pay attention.
For me, it has been, “Focus” and a few other things which focus encompasses. This for me would mean facing God squarely, dropping the stupid things I do not need right now and facing the things that will help me, draw me closer to God and generally, help and progress my life. Sadly, I have been doing the opposite. It has gotten so bad that I no longer even have energy for basics like errands for my Mum, yet, I still struggle to say no.
Last month, our Church’s book of the month was ‘Boundaries‘ by Dr(s) Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Hahaha, I owned it, read it. Other people should read it. *Covers face*. I should take my own advice.
Thankfully, God is such a merciful God and He has our time – He really does. He is so patient with us – Psalm 86:15 (AMP) says, “...But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth“. I cannot tell you how true this is. It was like, God was just dropping reminders, left right and centre. Chidinma, slow down, say no, go and sleep. Did I listen? Nope! I did not hear word. Bear in mind, when all this was happening, I was not listening. It is now that I look back and the light bulb flicked on.
Today, a colleague at work (don’t get me started on work but God is good! Lol) came to ask me to do something. Normally, I would say yes and go ahead and leave my own work and help (can we all admit that at some point, there is a difference between being helpful and self-sabotage?!) but today, I heard my voice say, “no”. I declined respectfully and explained that doing what she wanted would eat into my time. She had the nerve (the ACTUAL nerve) to say that she also does things not included in her JD and so that should be enough reason for me to leave my work and help her.
Lol! That would have worked in the past but today, the vex from this morning (another story) was propelling me. I explained that, firstly, that may be so but would that not make us both wrong?
Secondly, she may feel like her role was more important and so it fell to me to do stupid tasks but this was an incorrect impression. She had something to do and so, it was important that she completed the task that she needed to complete for her job. Obviously, I only told her the first point. The second point is for us. Lol!
How many times have you done things because you felt like you had to – not because it was a part of your job but because someone has you convinced your role is not so important that you can do their jobs for them and that would be okay? How many times have you said yes to your detriment? How many times? Exactly!
Maybe it was how I said it but she simply said okay and walked away. I was fine with that. In saying no, I was able to focus on my job and do that which my company is paying me to do.
All sorts of things have been pulling at me and individually, they are not all bad. They are actually good intrinsically but bad for me in this season because it takes away from my focus – it grabs my eyes and ears from what I should be doing. They are distractions.
So many times, my spirit said no but my mouth said yes. I had to ask myself, why am I afraid? Why can I not say no? Why does my “no” have to have an explanation attached? Why am I so bothered about what would happen after I say no?
I have come to learn a long time ago and in many ways, I still forget the lesson – sometimes. If my “no” provokes a negative reaction from a person, that person should not have a space (please read, ‘access to’) in my life. I should be able to say no with absolute freedom and confidence – without fear. Without our relationship changing…
I have finally agrees with my spirit that in order to focus, I simply have to start saying no. No to friends who simply want to hang out – there will be time for that. No to acquaintances who need my help – there will be time for that. No to colleagues who want to give you that job – there can never be time for that…lol. No to events, Dinners, even Networking. There will be time for that. This season is not that season. There will be time for that.
I remember the following verse, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one” – Matthew 5:37 (AMP).
My lack of focus allowed space for nonsense. I would lose sleep over having to cancel because I could not make it, type countless apologies, give up so much time – all investing in making it up to people when I could have just said no and left it alone.
I have to begin removing everything in my life that really should have no space in my life whether it is permanently or whether it is temporal. Whether it means cancelling certain memberships, removing myself from certain groups, uninviting myself from many social engagements, stopping conversations with certain guys because we both know it was not God Who sent them my way and giving priority to the things I am supposed to – whatever it is I am supposed to be doing right now. It is so important to remember that a simple no will suffice.
In choosing to say no, I am choosing to finally focus “…because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame” – Isaiah 50:7 (NLT).
Who knows, maybe because I have finally started saying no, I will get more time and energy to focus (there’s that word again) on the things that really matter. Maybe this time out will be a time of refreshing and growth or maybe it will be a time of great isolation and faux loneliness. I do not know. What I do know is, every time I have done what I have have felt led by God to do, I have come out better. If saying no, will mean that God draws me closer to Him and I am able to focus on whatever it is that NEEDS my attention, then, fair play. I have absolutely no qualms.
I have to finally accept that saying no does not diminish me in any way. Saying no will not turn (good/right) people away. My ability to say no when I mean no is a mark of my growth and a reflection and confirmation of my integrity.
Truly, because “no is a complete sentence”.
Love and Blessings,