How many times did you say “yes” last week? Yes to that bake sale and coffee with a friend. Yes to that spontaneous road trip and that extra volunteer work. Yes to Netflix binges when you needed sleep. Yes to social media when you needed time with Jesus.
Each day is troublesome enough without additional obligations (Matthew 6:34). But what good is a bake sale without your famous chocolate chip cookies? Why not help a neighbor rake leaves or invest in friendships? We say yes out of guilt or an imbalance of priorities. Fellowship and service are vital to the health of the body of Christ, but so is time spent with God. The Church needs your talent and skill, but what good is a helper stretched thin?
When reading Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, I made Proverbs 4:23 my theme verse. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” An unguarded heart is like living paycheck to paycheck. You survive the day, but you don’t thrive. To survive is to endure. To thrive is to grow. If you’re like me, each week is a raging river. I dive in Monday morning and pray to survive until I surface Friday evening.
How does time management relate to matters of the heart? It’s all about what you say yes to. I’ve reflected on my hectic schedule and have decided only two things need my “yes” each day: God and myself.
Say Yes to God:
He’s the creator and keeper of our hearts. When we say yes to God, He fills our hearts to overflowing with His love and His joy. It’s His eternal love and joy that gives purpose to our days. It’s His eternal love and joy that fuels us to serve Him and others throughout the week. When we attempt to love and serve others by our own strength, we fail and end up depleted. Only God’s strength sustains us.
Practical Application: Read the Bible. Read a devotional book. Listen to encouraging music. Sing. Pray. Do whatever it takes to draw close to God. Sometimes I set aside “date nights” with God. On date nights, I read a passage or story and pour out my heart to Him. Lately, I read a passage at a time and write down my questions, observations, and thoughts. Is your week too jam-packed for a date night? Is your morning too rushed for reading and journaling? Do something small. Resist the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to time spent with God. If ten minutes is too much, give five. If five minutes is too much, pray on the way to work or school. Like they told me at church camp years ago, “quantity yields quality.” If you’re going to make a change, it’s better to start small than not at all.
Say Yes to You:
I’ve been told a million times, “Take care of yourself.” But it feels selfish. And what does it look like? Three years ago, I figured it out and developed a foolproof self-care plan.
Practical Application: Create a list of everything you love to do (or how you de-stress). At the top of my list was “spending time with God and family.” Other activities included: working out, writing, listening to music, and crocheting. Whenever I feel depleted, stressed, or depressed I select one activity to accomplish before bedtime. For me, it was the perfect, practical way to shift my focus away from the negative and to the positive.
In the busyness of our days, we are obliged to say yes over and over again. When life is too hectic to handle, we are advised to “just say no.” But what do we say no to? What do we say yes to? Keep it simple. Say yes to time spent with God and self-care. These two vital investments fill our hearts with the love and joy we need to thrive each day. It can be a challenge, but start small. Start somewhere.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being the creator and keeper of my heart. Please help me to say yes to You and self-care more often this week. I want to serve you with a full and healthy heart instead of relying on my own strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photo Credit: Michael Reavis Photography, Sphinx