I can’t be sure how I came upon the phrase. I just blurted it out one day in a conversation among women (me included) who were all trying to figure out a balance in life.
“Yawl, we need a No Anointing.”
That’s what I called it. Not exactly sure why. It just seemed to fit.
I wish I’d read it in the Bible so that I could point you to a particular chapter and verse; give my thesis a little more clout. Or at least, I wish that some respected theologian had coined the phrase, writing his dissertation on the topic in length. That would make this whole post more meaningful, I’m sure.
But alas, I cannot.
It’s simply a silly phrase I made up – less for this blog and more for my own life and my desire to find a sanity-sustaining level of margin in my calendar.
The list of demands and opportunities and errands and activities and invitations is for me, the same as it is for you, endless. Life can easily become a hurricane of overwhelming (and sometimes) mindless activity that leaves us spent, exhausted and unfeeling; our emotional reserves zapped and unavailable for the people who want, need and deserve it most.
The precarious part is, none of these seemingly “urgent” needs appear disadvantageous when they are first presented to us. The invitation to participate in that book club or organize that event or lead another ministry group or write another post or plan another initiative, oh it always sounds so good, so enriching, so unique an opportunity that we cannot bring ourselves to pass it up. Not when we might never get an opportunity like that again, our ego (or our guilt) tells us.
So, despite the slight pause that we feel deep down in our gut . . . we say “yes” anyway. And it seems fine . . . at the time.
Then the day/meeting/appointment/party approaches and the weight of it falls like a 50lb dumbbell on our chest. The days leading up to feel like an oncoming two-ton mack truck approaching at a terrifying speed. We feel like we are suffocating, smothered by the list of small things that were in the fine print of the invisible contract that we signed for that one big thing – the only thing we thought we were saying yes to. And even more, we couldn’t have known at the time that this event would fall on the same day as our kid’s soccer championship game, or our best friend’s wedding, or the one Saturday where there could have been margin – at home, quiet, with a good novel cause Granny took the kids.
We didn’t realize it at the time we said yes . . . but now we see . . .
That every yes to one thing . . . is a simultaneous no to something else.
Time spent here will be time we are not able to invest there.
Yes, some things and some people are worth that kind of investment. They yield hardy benefits for us that make it all worth it. But being able to assess and calculate this up front is always difficult. And while we’ll never be 100% accurate, these questions can help us begin to filter our yes’s and our no’s.
- Is it what I need to do?
Two thoughts here. First, is the task something that ONLY YOU can do or is it something that you need to be open-handed enough to allow someone else to do on your behalf? So many of the tasks that burden our lives (because of perfectionism or a need to control) can be offloaded to another, highly capable and willing participant if only we’d release it to them to do. It would not only relieve us but also give them the gift of our trust, motivating them with our high expectations.
Second, is the task a responsibility? A need. ‘Cause let’s face it, dinner has to be made (or ordered), the presentation for work has to be finished, the medical procedure has to be done, the devotional time has to be incorporated, exercise has to be prioritized (doctor’s orders). The list goes on and is unique to each individual. There are some things that are needs, plain and simple. Your health, well-being and functionality depend on it or God’s call on your life necessitates it. Whether you feel like it is nearly irrelevant. These things need to be at the top of your list of priorities. And you need to honor them.
- Is it what I want to do?
Is this task something that YOU want to do or is it an activity that someone else has been pressing you to do? Coming up with the authentic answer to this question can take time. So, I encourage you to TAKE IT! Before responding to that invitation, sit down with yourself and think it through. Do you really want to be a part of this or are you being driven by FOMO (fear of missing out), guilt or another person’s desires.
- Is it worth the exchange I will be making if I agree to do it?
If you say “yes” to this, what will you automatically be saying “no” to? Filling that space on your calendar will mean that nothing else can occupy that same timeframe. Are you ok with that? If you are, go for it. If not, it’s a good cue to let the opportunity pass. In the end, even if nothing else specific fills in the gap**, you’ll be left with the all-too-rare moment (and joy, I might add) of a few free hours to enjoy being with yourself and your family.
(**These kind of “gaps” are the cubby holes of life in which memories are made, surprises are found, rest is experienced and room is made for God to do something through you for another that you would not have otherwise had the time or the energy to do. Don’t despise the “gaps”. That’s where the good stuff is usually hiding.)
Any opportunity that does not yield a robust “YES” from you on at least one (preferably two) of these three questions, be free and confident enough to say, “No”. In fact, I’ve decided that what you need . . . what we all need . . . is the “No” Anointing. It is the guilt-free, grace to be rid of the burdensome need to do it all, right now, quick and in a hurry. It is a special sense of God’s divine approval whether we do that thing or not. It’s a sense of being enough and having enough.
The truth is, the “No” Anointing will disappoint and frustrate others around you. Many may turn their noses up at your boundaries and scold you for not making their priorities yours. But you’ll be surprised how many more will not. They’ll nod their head in understanding and admire your courage. And then they’ll want the freedom that you’re resting in.
And when they ask you what it is – what that look of grace is all over your rested face – you can look them squarely in their eyes and say . . .
I’m anointed . . . to say “no” and I’m feeling mighty good about doing it!
So . . . here’s my question for you today: what is one thing you’ve been saying “yes” to, for yourself or your family, for reasons of guilt, fear or pressure? What is this choice costing you?
Can’t wait to hear from you,