when to say no

When to Say No to Good Things

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Every couple handles their commitments differently. First, there is the couple that is prone to overcommitting. Their mindset? “We are the only two people in the world who can do this. We don’t have a choice!” Next, there is the couple that is prone to protecting their own time. They cheer on the willingness of others, never daring to step into the game themselves. Lastly, there is the couple that has one of each of these personalities. And this is where you’ll find my wife and me.

If there is ever a sign-up sheet to volunteer, you’ll find Susan’s name at the top of the list. I’m amazed at her compassionate heart and servant attitude. However, I’m also amazed at how much time she thinks she has. My wife is the queen of overcommitting. I find myself constantly corralling her back into reality—reminding her that everything she commits to takes time from something else. So here is some advice for all the wonderfully compassionate people out there who find themselves exhausted from overcommitting, because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help you decide when to say yes and when to say no to good things.

1. Am I protecting time with my spouse?

Be intentional in setting up a weekly or monthly date night with your spouse. If a volunteer opportunity comes up that interferes with your date night, that’s when to say no. Plan around this special night so you are able to love your spouse well before loving others well.

2. Am I protecting time with my kids?

If you are missing your son’s basketball games or your daughter’s dance practices to pursue other good things, then you are not protecting your time with your kids. Spend time with your kids before you commit to spending time with your clients or colleagues. Also, before you commit to endless hours serving in your community, first make sure you spend quantity time with your kids. And when you do serve in your community, do it with your kids.

3. Is this an area where I can use my gifts?

Give your best to just a few important things rather than a mediocre effort to too many things.

Avoid spreading yourself too thin. Give your best to just a few important things rather than a mediocre effort to too many things. Be strongly committed to the opportunities that allow you to use your gifts well.

4. Do I have margin in my schedule?

Just because you have an open slot in your schedule doesn’t mean you have to fill it, even with good opportunities. Be sure to leave some open time for rest, reflection, and unexpected occurrences that will surely arise.

Sound off: What commitments have you or your family needed to let go of?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the one thing you want to do that you think I would say ‘no’ to?”