“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’…” Matthew 5:37a (NIV)
In 2017, God has been teaching me how to be intentional with my “yes” and firm with my “no.” Okay, to be completely honest, this is a lesson God has been inviting me to learn for about five years now, but I’m finally starting to grasp, implement and see the blessings that come with obedience to doing life His way. And my pastor’s sermon a few month’s ago reinforced that I’m finally understanding, obeying and reaping those rewards through peace and yes, even joy.
For the past five years I’ve consistently held up to three, sometimes four jobs at a time, not including my primary role as wife and mother. As a result, I’ve had to give up a lot of things and I’ve done so willingly, because I knew that I knew that I knew I was obeying God and was where He was calling me to be, for that season. I won’t lie and say it was always easy. In fact, I remember distinctly when I first accepted one job, the enemy tried to get me to second guess my decision by making that particularly time each month extremely difficult to fulfill my duties for that position. However, I knew that I knew that I knew I was where God had planted me and eventually the enemy left that area alone, for the most part.
However, today I want to talk about what I learned about being intentional and how I’m starting to see the blessings from that intentionality. In the spring of 2016, God invited me to take a break from my grueling writing schedule. I would still write and post blogs twice a week, but all other writing was to be put aside, and I honestly didn’t know if God would give it back to me or not… but He invited me to truly take time with my family, make them a priority again. That season was wonderful.
In January 2017, God did indeed give me back my writing and it’s been busier than ever, with many projects simultaneously being worked on, but as a result of the God-imposed hiatus, I have chosen to listen to His promptings more often about being intentional in every area of my life. Ministry? Unless God invites me to participate, He has someone else who is better qualified to step in. Job opportunities? If God says “yes,” then I’m dedicated 100%, but if God says “no,” then I politely decline and realize God has someone else ready to fill that spot.
Living that way may seem scary, but it’s actually the opposite. I am filled with His peace (a word I spent all of 2016 learning the difference between His peace and worldly peace) that by being intentional with my choices, I am making room in my schedule to do my best at what God has planned for me. I’m not as stressed (most of the time) and I have the time to keep my relationship with God as my top priority and then keep my husband next and right underneath him my children as my next priority in life. Then comes my jobs/ministry. By being intentional and listening to God’s still small voice in what to say “yes” to and what to pass along to someone else, I have time to be intentional in relationships again. That is another lesson God taught me in 2017. He is all about relationships and He purposefully gave me the people in my circle to build a relationship with. When I’m too busy completing projects and accepting jobs that He never intended for me to accept or accomplish, then that takes away from the relationships that He did desire for me to build.
When I continually ask God for His best “yes” for my life, He never disappoints. By learning to be more intentional in how I choose to live life, the more peace and yes, the more joy I experience. And that, my friends, is the mom I want my kids to remember. One who is peaceful and joyful because I trust my life to our Heavenly Father.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017