Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. – Philippians 2:4
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. – Proverbs 3:27
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. – Galatians 6:10
If we’re not careful, we can take the above verses out of context and make ourselves very miserable indeed. On the surface, it sounds as if God is instructing Christians to give of themselves at every opportunity and to never ignore or resist a request made of them. If we can do it, we should. If we have the opportunity, we should seize it. Never mind our other obligations. Never mind that our schedules are already so full that the only “free time” we have is the eight hours of sleep we try to get each night. Never mind that we’re so tired and stressed that we can’t even think straight. Christians ought to give and give and give in every way they can.
The trouble is that that is exactly how many of us interpret these verses, and as a result, we suffer from the disease to please. We refuse to say “no” to anything, and we take on far more than God ever intended for us to carry. While He does want His children to serve and to give when they can, He (more than anyone) understands what we are made of. He understands how fragile we are. He knows our schedules and our fatigue. And it is NOT His will that we take on more and more projects when we’re already struggling under our current load.
Think about it. Is it God’s will for us to neglect our families so that we can head that committee or host that Bible study? No. Is it God’s will for us to forsake the very thing He’s called us to do so that we can help with the party decorations or bake the six dozen cookies for the class bake sale? No. Is it God’s will for us to take on projects that we know will bring us to our breaking point and likely cause us to perform the task with a bad attitude, which, of course, will affect everyone around us? Absolutely not. Our time has limits. Our energy has boundaries. Our stress level has a tipping point. God knows this. He created us as we are, and He wants us to understand the concept of balance.
If taking on another task, no matter how admirable or good, will bring us to the breaking point physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, then it is not in the power of our hands to do it (Prov. 3:27). If a new project will take time away from the ultimate calling of God on our lives, then we do not have the opportunity (Gal. 6:10). God has plans for our lives, and sometimes that means we will need to say “no” to some good things so that we will be able to say “yes” to better things. Saying “no” is not a sin. It is not ungodly or selfish. It’s simply part of the Christian life.
Before agreeing to another task or taking on another project, I urge you to spend some time in prayer. Ask the Lord to guide you in making the right choices and to show you which jobs you should accept and which ones you should graciously decline. Seek His will, and follow His leadership. After all, it’s the only treatment for the disease to please.
In what areas do you struggle with the disease to please?
I LOVE this article!!! I am in agreement with you 100%. I had to learn the hard way about setting limits on my time. A few years back I was in full time ministry and never, ever said no to anyone’s request of me. The demands for my time and lack of balance in my life lead to me developing adrenal fatigue. I have been recovering ever since. Now, I am ever so prayful and mindful of what I say yes to. I have learned to tune out others expectations of me, and tune-in to the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Stephanie. Funny, your story sounds like my own. I, too, suffer from extreme adrenal fatigue, and recovery is rough! And to think, I could have possibly avoided it if I had just learned sooner how to say, “No.” It’s definitely an important lesson.