Of all the 171,476 words in the English language, "no" is the healthiest.
"No" is the word that gives you freedom in this chaotic and congested world. It's almost impossible to grow in faith, hope and health without using it. Regularly.
There's no doubt that our world is always on, and life in our era means we're constantly subjected to media messages, almost unlimited scheduling options and a near-constant stream of requests/invitations/obligations. Just for ourselves, and even more-so when we add kids, spouses, friends and families with their own sets of options!
All of the above can wreak havoc on even the best-intentioned and most thoughtfully written personal health plan.
Saying "no" helps break through the chaos of life in 2017 in several ways:
1. Saying "no" creates boundaries.
You can't do or have it all. It's true! I've been so blessed to sit under some amazing teachers and leaders in the past few years ... folks who look on the outside like they really do "have it all." I've made it a point to ask them how it is that they pull this trick off, and the answer I've received time and again is that they truly don't "have it all." They say no to a great many things that seem like good options, so that they have time, energy and passion available for the best options God has for them. They're clear with other people about what they can and can't do, and they don't hesitate to say "no" as frequently as they need to.
For those of us with ongoing health challenges, saying "no" and setting boundaries allows us to reserve our energy for the things we really need to do. Getting to doctors' appointments, maintaining rest schedules, sticking with healthy diets, etc.
2. Saying "no" creates space.
When you say "no" to any set of things that don't work well, you create space in your life for the things that do. When your schedule is over-crowded and you barely have time to take a breath, you have no space to pray, spend time in the Word, rest, exercise and/or prepare a healthy meal. Saying "no" to things that might look or sound "good," creates space that allows for the "best" healthy options to maintain their status and presence in your life and daily routines.
3. Saying "no" confirms choices.
I've found that saying "no" allows me to maintain focus on my priorities, keeping working the plans I've prayed over and put in place, and helps confirm whether or not these plans and choices are the right ones at the right times. When my schedule and task lists are cluttered with "false yes's" (things I've agreed to when I know I shouldn't!), I have a hard time discerning what's working in my life and what's not.
As you go about the business of growing in faith, hope and healing this week, I hope you'll take some time to think through the areas in your life where you're over-extended, overwhelmed and over-committed, and then say "no" to the good things in your life that need to go so that you're able to experience only God's best for you in this season of your faith, hope and healing journey.