Blog Post by Abby McDonald
I’ll never forget the sound. It was hundreds of pounds of files and metal crashing down on my three-year-old son but to me it sounded like one thing: disaster.
The impact was followed by the shrill scream of my child. In complete panic I ran from my parents’ kitchen to see him lying there with the filing cabinet on top of him.
With strength I didn’t know I possessed, I lifted the weight from him, consoled him and examined his body. As I wrapped my arms around him my mind repeated the question, “How did this happen?”
Later, when my family discussed the mishap, my husband explained how our son didn’t need to be able to move the entire cabinet on his own. He simply had to put it off balance. Once several drawers came out, it only took a small push to send it toppling over.
So often in life, I am like my son. The drawers are projects, service opportunities and responsibilities, and often I have several pulled out at the same time. My balance gets awry and I need to lighten the load, but instead I take on more.
I put the desire to please others above the gentle nudges from God to rest.
The longer I ignore his promptings the more irritable I become, until I am a frazzled mom and wife with little left to offer anyone other than scraps of time. Like the crashing filing cabinet, I lose all sense of stability. Instead of being intentional with my priorities, I am a mess.
In Romans, Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
When I listen to the world instead of that still, small voice, I take on more assignments than I can handle. His love cannot pour out of me because I am a depleted vessel.
God wants to transform our minds so we can discern what he has for us rather than heeding to every tug of those around us. He desires the best for our lives, and is glorified when we use the gifts and abilities he’s given us. Often, this means declining requests for our time so we can spend it where the he wants us to be.
To this people pleaser, the hardest word to tell others is “no.” But often this is the exact word God is asking me to say.
After watching my son over the next day, we were confident he was alright. I uttered praises for God’s protection in a moment which could have been devastating.
The beautiful truth is that those moments when life is reeling and we lose our balance, God can still redeem our time. When we listen to his voice instead of the world’s, he can turn our mistakes into testimonies of his grace.
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Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.
15 CommentsLeave a comment
The older I get, the better I get at not having so many drawers pulled out at the same time. I don’t consider myself to have gotten lazy, just a little wiser in discerning if what is being asked is for me to answer. Someone told me once that if we say, “Yes” to everything we are essentially robbing others of an opportunity to serve God and serve others. That point has really stuck with me. So when I “pass” on something, I like to think that I am passing on a positive experience to someone else, rather than chide myself for saying, “No”. Great post!
Bev, I always love hearing from you and glean so much wisdom from your experiences. Thank you for blessing me with your encouragement, friend. You are a gift.
Abby, I don’t want the cabinet of chores to fall over on my family. You compel me to think about what counts and what works to foster a greater love for HIM – always and every time. Love your words today. They come from such a place of learning, which is fabulous.
Kelly, you are such a blessing to me. God is teaching me how to say “no,” so I can say “yes” to what’s truly important. It is HARD, but worth it. 😉
Wow, Abby…this is such a good word. You put words together in such a beautiful way, it always strikes me! But this theme of following the Lord’s voice and not just running ahead to what I think I should do or think I want to do has been really big lately, so thank you for putting it into your words and reminding me again something the Lord is encouraging me with already.
Angela, thank you so much for your encouragement. I am abundantly grateful for you and the community we have. God is amazing!
I feel tremendous guilt when I say no and tremendous anxiety wears on me when I anticipate someone’s disappointment. As you said, it’s not about people pleasing, it’s about God pleasing. May I always stop and pray so that I make the wise choice. This truly spoke to me today. Thanks so much!
Natalie, I’m so glad to hear this spoke to you today. I wish I could say it was easy, but it is difficult to say “no,” especially when it means disappointing someone. But it is worth it when we have the time to do what God is actually calling us to. Praying for you today!
[…] Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m sharing over at PurposefulFaith.com, and I’d love to share what God showed me about finding balance. You can read the rest of my post here. […]
So glad your son is okay, Abby. (That one would have cause a slight panic in me.) Equally glad you are refreshed from spending time with our Daddy. There’s nothing like resting in His arms or sitting at His throne. Am finding that out myself, more and more each day. xo
Kelly, thanks for opening your blog pages. The encouragement oozes here in great ways. xo
Me too, Kristi! That incident sure was scary. I thank God for his protection. Thanks so much for your continual encouragement, dear friend. Yes, it’s so refreshing to take that time away with God but I’m glad to be back here sharing with you all. 🙂
Abby, your words remind me of the many times the filing cabinet has toppled over on top of me. As I’ve matured in God’s grace, He’s taught me much in the ways of doing only what He asks me to do. I’m still learning. Thank you for a timely reminder today. Your words are a gift! ♡♡
Julie, it is so wonderful to hear from you. I have missed seeing your beautiful face! 🙂 God is so patient with us, isn’t he? I have so much to learn in this area, and I’m grateful he’s not finished with either of us. May we continue to grow in Him. xoxo
Wow! I am so glad your son came out of the ordeal okay. I would have been in a total panic. I believe we all at one time or another fall into the trap of trying to please everybody, I know I have. Usually, something happens to snap me out of the “got to do everything people ask me mode” and back into what the Lord directs me to.
Thank you for your post Abby! I recently needed to say “no” to a commitment that I really enjoy in order to say “yes” to more family time in the evenings. This post was an additional reminder that I made the right decision and that God has the details in His hands.