21 July 2014

Planned neglect; saying 'no' to good things so we can say 'yes' to the best

I was asked recently -
"So... what are you busy doing?"

I'm not sure he really understood my answer - -

"Well, actually... I have no desire to be busy. And I would rather be, than do."

This article addresses the issue much more eloquently than I did.

- - - - - - -
How to Plan Neglect: Saying No to Good Things So We Can Say Yes to the Best
by Randy Alcorn

There are times when I’m overwhelmed with seemingly endless opportunities to do good things. I have to weigh what I can or should say yes to against what I need to say no to.

I hate to disappoint people, but in those times it becomes clear that I have to be carve out time to fulfill my most basic commitments and do what I believe God wants me to.

I have to make sure I am living to please God, not everyone else.

We shouldn’t say yes to something just because it’s a good thing or even a great thing.

I must say no to people concerning the vast majority of good things they invite me to, in order to be available to say yes to God concerning that small number of things He has truly called me to.

Sometimes we tend to say yes to too many of the good things, leaving us exhausted and unable to bring our best to those relatively few God-things.

There are only 168 hours in the week no matter what we do (and during a third of those we should be sleeping!)

If we have X number of people to make time for, they have to come out of the same small pie of available time, and pretty soon the slices of the pie get smaller and smaller. You end up having dear friends who no longer get a sliver, because it’s been divided so many times.

Ask God for wisdom as to who these should be, and God will give it (James 1:3).

This is planned neglect.

We need to neglect doing the things that countless people want us to do, so that we will be available to do what God wants.

And sometimes He speaks in a still small voice, while people speak in a big LOUD voice. We have to make sure we’re listening. To do that, we need to put our ear to His Word and pray and seek His face.

I want to be available to listen to God and follow Him when He gives me those totally unexpected divine appointments.

But if I’m booked so tight there’s no room in my schedule for unanticipated God moments, I’ll miss them, and thereby miss some of life’s greatest joys and opportunities and occasions for gratitude.

If you don’t give yourself room to breathe, you won’t give God room to move.

Instead of exhausting ourselves doing many secondary things, may we do a few primary things well.

And that begins with our daily time with God.

When Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet soaking Him in, and Martha was mad because Mary wasn't doing what she wanted, Jesus said to Martha, “Only a few things are necessary, really only one; Mary has chosen the better portion, which shall not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42).

Decide what you're going to neglect this week in order to pay attention to God.

I saw this article by Randy Alcorn on Ann Voskamp's website.

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