Just Say No

Today’s post is written to all of you who are just too busy. And specifically to those who find your identity in what you do. So truth be known it is a reminder to me as well. I am a somewhat reformed overcommitted woman.

But God…

One day God whispered to me during my quiet time. Do you believe He whispers to us? Well I have never heard Him talk aloud to me have you? Elijah the prophet understood the whisper of God:

The Lord said: ” Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the north of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are doing here, Elijah?”. (I Kings 19:11-13)

Friends, God speaks quietly to our hearts in a whisper so that we draw near to Him. When a person is whispering, don’t you lean in? I am wondering if that is why the Lord speaks to us quietly. We must make space for His voice and sometimes that means being still.

Be Still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Back to my quiet time. The Lord whispered: “Joanne, examine your activities. There are things on your plate that I never asked you to do. And you have no space in your life for some of the things that I need you to do.” That was a moment I will never forget. Those of you in my Bible studies may have heard me say or read in one of my books my story that followed, but essentially I took everything off my plate and then one by one asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to resume doing or take on. He led me in a powerful process of understanding that my yes is to be reserved for God’s designed and appointed assignments with my children, grandchildren, spouse, friends, ministry. I now start my day with checking in for duty with the Holy Spirit.

It’s time for some of you reading this to just say no. No to those things that are stealing your joy and your energy. Where God guides He provides. And where He provides, there is fullness of joy. There will undoubtedly be things that He asks us to do that are challenging, but we will begin living into a new paradigm of only wanting to please The King.

I spent some years mixed up with thinking my identity was in what I did. I now spend my days, knowing my identity is in Christ and my life is HIs. The beauty of saying no to things I sense I am not called to do is that the burden suddenly becomes light and my life more purposeful.

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

And in Eugene Peterson’s version of this scripture:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me; watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. (Matthew 11:28-30 Message translation)

Listen for His whisper. He will show you the way…..

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