Saying "No"

6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:6

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough. ~Josh Billings

Last Saturday I sat in my bed crying hysterically unable to explain why. My husband sat speechless thinking, I'm sure, that his wife had finally lost it. That was the day I realized how much I needed boundaries.

I was being pulled in too many directions and I was taking on the salvation of the world. I'd had someone in my home that I'd taken in now for 14 months, we're on the tail end of a transition to move in with my elderly grandmother who can no longer function on her own, two couples we knew were splitting up and we were caught in the middle, his brother was asking to move in with us, and my husband and I are also part of a ministry. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally. I had been stretched too thin and I was at my limit. My juggling act had just come crashing down.

It was then that I remembered a question John Eldredge had asked in his book Waking the Dead. "What have you done for your heart lately?" Honestly I thought, not much. It had been a few months since I'd worked out, had a true, real, and uninterrupted quiet time, or even gone to church. My husband and I hadn't connected either. We were so tired at the end of the day that we'd simply watch TV just to do something brainless.

See, I was bound and determined to be superwoman. I had no boundaries, I'd grown up like that. Italians, we "do" for family. But boundaries are healthy when implemented correctly and I desperately needed them. I needed to know my limits. I could only give out what I had and honestly I had nothing left. If I'm wasn't filled by God, there would be nothing to give to others. Even Jesus took his "15 minutes" and left people who probably did need him to go and be with His Father alone. (Mark 1:35, Matthew 26:36, Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed, Luke 9:18) If Jesus needed alone time, that's a big clue that I needed it as well.

I also had to relinquish control. I needed to realize God is driving. I realized that with or without me His will would be accomplished. I couldn't save everyone, fix all the broken homes in the world, or take in everyone that needed a place to stay, but God could.

I learned that there is such a thing as casting my pearls before swine. Matthew 7:6 6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. Look at those consequences! Torn to pieces? Yup, that's exactly how I felt sitting in my bed in tears. I was torn to pieces by too many different roles.

And most importantly, I learned that God cares deeply about the state of my heart. 'Above all else, guard your heart' (Prov. 4:23)... It doesn't say guard your heart because it's criminal; it says guard yur heart because it is the wellspring of your life, because it is a treasure, because everything else depends on it. How kind of God to give us this warning, like someone's entrusting to a friend something precious to him, with the words: 'Be careful with this -- it means a lot to me.' ~ John Eldredge in Waking the Dead I removed the lie from my heart that I couldn't take time off, that I couldn't say no.

So two days ago, I finally did it. I said no. A hat was brought to me to place on, but I just did not have the energy or resources to wear it, and you know what? That's okay. I think in this day and age Satan's biggest strategy for the church is to keep us busy. Keep us so busy that we fail to realize what's happening to our hearts, to our families, to our lives until it's too late and you end up crying in the bed at 2am with a bewildered husband by your side. But now I know better. Even Jesus had boundaries, and that's good enough evidence for me.


  1. Hi, I stopped by and fell in love with your blog, I'll be back for more :)

  2. Ana,

    Thank you for coming by. Checking out yours now!


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