Just Breathe
Melanie Chitwood

“It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127:2 (MSG)

Many women today share a few common denominators: we’re busy, we’re tired, and we need some breathing room! We have jobs outside the home and in. Husbands need meals, romance, clean laundry, and more romance. Kids have play-dates, sports, church activities, and homework. We volunteer at the school, run carpools, clean the kitchen, walk the dog, do laundry, squeeze in a walk - and on and on our list continues. Whew!

Ladies, we cannot do it all. The good news is that we were never intended to do it all. Today you have permission to say “no.” For some of us that comes easily. However, for many of us women, whom God designed to be givers and nurturers, this word does not come out of our mouths very easily.

Here’s one practical way I’ve learned to say “no.” I ask myself, What are my priorities? I have two levels of priorities. The first level includes God, my husband, my children, and the home front. This level is set in stone. The second level of priorities includes ministry, friends, and exercise, and this level of priorities has more variation for me. Taken together, these priorities are my compass, helping to guide me to a “yes” or “no” when considering adding another activity to my life.

Let’s see how this works in real life. Last year I was asked to teach a women’s Bible study at my church. Now, at first glance, this seems like an automatic “yes.” After all, teaching Bible study is a good thing! However, I took the time to pray, and God very clearly showed me it was not the right time to add this commitment to my life. Looking back my family and I were incredibly busy last year in some ways I hadn’t anticipated. I see clearly how saying “no” was the right answer at that time.

In a sense I have to give myself permission to say “no” because for most of my life I’ve said “yes” when deep down inside I’ve wanted to say “no.” Here are two practical guidelines to help you learn how to say “no.” First, if you immediately know you don’t want to do something, just go ahead and turn it down by saying something such as, “Thank you so much for asking, but I just cannot make that commitment right now.” The next guideline – pray! If you’re asked to do something and you really want more time to consider the situation, be honest by responding, “Let me take some time to pray and I’ll give you an answer in a week.” Then really pray and listen to God’s leading!

Take a deep breath and say it aloud – no. Now breathe again, sit down for ten minutes with a cup of coffee and enjoy the breathing room you’ve created for yourself.

Dear Lord, You show me by Your example of resting on the seventh day of creation that I, too, need rest. Show me your priorities for my life. I pray that they align with Your will for me. Help me to say no to the things that appear good but might take me away from the better choices You have for me. Lord, I pray that I will have breathing room in my life, times to be refreshed and moments of quiet closeness with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst

Balance that Works When Life Doesn't by Susie Larson

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Consider your life right now. Do you have breathing room?

Pray for God to help you create priorities

Who or what gets your best attention, time, and energy?

Do your activities reflect these priorities? What can you do to align the two?

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”(AMP)

Genesis 2:2, “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” (NLT)

Psalm 91:1, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (NLT)

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Blogger Lisa said...

Oh thank you! How amazing! My Pastor JUST used that 'time and purpose' passage on Sunday and I had just read the power verses you gave just the other day. And this is perfect timing. As a homeschooler I have a flexible schedule and my husband took the day off to spend with us and he asked us to take the day off WITH him. My first inclination was NO I had planned to teach my kids something new today, but I obeyed him and said yes. Then I sat down and read your devotion. Thank you!

Blogger OMB said...

Yes, I agree, it is so hard to say no. I especially feel guilty when I have to say no regarding something church related. But yes, God does give us permission to say no, I have to remember that!!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is nothing but God. I read this yesterday and I needed it today because I am a new mom. Son is two months old. My husband has been wanting to have intimate time but baby was crying and I needed to get to work. Well he got upset and wanted me to call in and tell my job I would be late. But I told him I needed to get there. Right then the Holy Spirit convicted me and I thought about this devotional I read yesterday. I went to apologize to my husband and called my job to let them I was going to be late. He understood that I am a new mom and I am learning to get my priorities straight(First God, my husband, and my child, then everything else). Well I was only five minutes late to work so it worked out.:)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Ophelia. It was a time when I would take care of everyone else at church before I took care of my husband. I would serve food to others at church functions but was not at home to serve my husband dinner. I thought I was serving God but I had my priorties mixed up. I could not say no because I thought it was God's will to do what I was doing. But God's first ministry was marriage.

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