Do you ever have trouble saying no? I do.
Let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
I have known and loved this verse for a long time. Today I recognize in it, something I have never paid much attention to. Paul tells us to throw off sin. Take all the ugly, yucky stuff in our lives and get rid of it. Let it go and keep running the race of life God is calling us to run. Makes sense. Who wants to carry all that stuff? Not me. But, that’s not all. He starts by saying, “Let us throw off everything that hinders us AND the sin.” We need to let go of the yucky stuff AND anything else that is hindering who God wants us to be. And that stuff, might not be yucky.
I love life. I feel blessed and honored to run this race. But it can be exhausting. Yes, the yuckiness of life can weigh me down, but so does the good stuff.
I love people. I love to be around people. I love to help people. I love to share Jesus with people. I know the race God has called me to is one of sharing my life and faith with others, and I LOVE it! My problem? It is so hard for me to say no.
How can I say no to a good thing? I used to never say no. It just did not feel right. But I’m learning that saying yes all the time is completely exhausting.
Do you see the freedom in this verse? Paul gives us permission to say no. Sometimes, I put so many good things on my plate, I do not have the energy for great things. I just don’t have the strength or time to invest.
I suffer. My family suffers. Even those people or projects I have said yes to suffer. They are not getting the best of me because I have too many things to tend to.
What is it that God is calling me to? What path, what projects, what ministry, what people? That is where I need to invest. I can not do it all. We were never created to do it all. I’m learning to say no. God has plans for someone to step into those things. It is ok to say no sometimes.
Carrying too much will not help us run this race with perseverance and strength. To make a difference in this world we need to run the race marked out for us. That means saying no to some good things. Say no to things other people are called to say yes to.
Saying no is not always easy to do, but it is necessary for a healthy race. Today I need to refocus and fix my eyes on Jesus. I need to listen and follow Him down the path, to the people he has prepared for me.
Sometimes it’s not sin that’s most difficult to throw off. Sometimes it’s the good stuff that gets in the way of our becoming who God is calling us to be.
What do you need to let go of or say no to today?
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