Saturday, April 29, 2017

When Saying Yes Can Stand in the Way of Following God

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I mistakenly thought I could say yes to
everything that came my way
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

This was one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized. It’s a heady verse for someone like me. Someone who loves to say yes for two reason— the sheer joy of being involved and the fear others wouldn’t like me if I couldn’t perform. It was a dangerous combination. But I truly believed this verse gave me the ability to say yes to everything, and God would provide a way.

Fast forward several years, and the price of saying yes began to take it’s toll on my mind and body. I no longer lived a life of joy and victory. Instead I was a slave of over-commitment. And I finally broke. It wasn’t pretty. Diagnosed with severe depression and several other mental health challenges it took me months to recover.

It was a painful lesson, and one I had to learn to ever be able to move forward. When forced to give up everything, I thought I’d never get to do anything fun again and that everyone would dislike me. (Stupid I know, but it’s really what I believed.) Slowly I began to realize God’s plan didn’t involve me saying yes to every good activity or need within my community.

I had to learn to get out of the way.
I also discovered that when I said yes to something that wasn’t intended for me, I was in the way. I’d taken a task from someone else and denied them the joy of obedience. I'd become a roadblock in the journey God had for them.

I’ve also learned not to equate a need with a call from God. By that I mean just because I see a hole that needs filling it’s not my job to jump in. God has proven perfectly capable of providing for the needs of those around me.

Now I’m living a much more balanced and joyful life. I’m still not perfect, there are days I just can’t say no. But He’s shown me that the things He's given me weigh no more than a feather, no matter how labor intensive. But when I pick up a job or a burden on my own, no matter how small the time commitment, it weighs on me like a ton of bricks. That in itself makes me wary about saying yes without hearing from God.

To sum it all up: 
I’ve learned that I really can do it long as I'm not trying to do everything at once.

Today I encourage you to look at the balance in your life. Do you need to lay something down that’s intended for someone else? Are you crying out for rest because you’re carrying a load not meant for you? There is rest and peace, all you have to do is let go.

When saying yes can stand in the way of #followingGod - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Edie,

    Thank you for this honest article and the encouragement for balance in our lives. Part of the writing journey is understanding that many things are not completed. It's part of wisdom to understand the things to do and the things to leave undone. Balance is some place in the middle of these two extremes and different for every person.


  2. Thanks so much for sharing this post, Edie. This is exactly where I am right now and am praying for wisdom to know how I can gracefully say no.

  3. Good word for all of us, Edie. Thanks for your humble transparency to show us a better way.
    Elva Cobb Martin

  4. Great post! Thank you for sharing. Phil. 4:13 was the very first verse I memorized at the age of 14 when I became a Christian. I'm thankful for all of your wisdom that you share!

  5. SO | MUCH | YES!!! I, too, thought that verse meant I was supposed to do | it | all. so glad He showed me otherwise, i.e. wisdom - and discernment! Thanks for a great word, Edie, blessings!

  6. Good stuff, my friend. This is a constant struggle in my life. And I'll add that I'm guilty of the comparison game (she does it that way, so I should/can!). I'm a work in progress thankful for grace. I'm going to go have a cup of coffee now and read a chapter of a book for fun. :)

  7. So timely - it's extremely hard to say no to things that are 1) good 2) fulfilling and 3) within your funnel of purpose. Thanks for this post.

  8. This is my favorite scripture to autograph in the book Groove: Stories to Refresh The Way We Think and Feel about Our Mental Illnesses. It has given me the strength to move forward when I have been afraid! The key word is Christ. You have helped me to remember that he will strengthen us for the task that he has called us to accomplish. Not the task we take on ourselves. Thanks Edie!

  9. So, so, so true. We get in our own way so often. Thank you for your honesty and encouraging us to learn to say no.

  10. Me too.

    I loved this post. Thank you!