How to Say No and Stop Being Too Busy
Is Everyone Too Busy?
Everyone seems to be too busy. In light of world events this past week, and the coronavirus, we may soon be staying home more. (We are. This was originally written early March.) I know that we can be too busy just as easily inside our homes, as outside, and because of technology, families can be totally separate just as easily inside the four walls of their home as outside, and only when we intentionally make it happen will we spend quality time together. I want to encourage you to plan to spend more time at home building strong family relationships and show you how to say no and stop being too busy!
“We’re really busy! But, it’s going to get better soon.”
“I’m trying to figure out what I can cut out.”
“We’re involved in so many good things, but I’m not sure we can keep it up–I’m so overwhelmed!”
It’s amazing how busy a stay-at-home mom can be, and how much time a Homeschool mom can spend away from home! I’ve talked with a number of young parents, and a theme recurred over and over: “We are way too busy!”
God’s way is for fathers (and mothers) to teach their children and their children’s children His ways. Psalm 78:1-4 That takes strong families spending time together. You may have your prayers answered soon for more time together as a family, but not in a way you’d planned. You may find it difficult at first to stay home, if you haven’t been in the habit of spending much time there.
I struggled while raising my children just as much as the next person with being too busy, so I’m not writing this as someone who has never had this problem. Rather, I share what has worked for me, especially how to enjoy being home more, and ideas for things to do with your family. As I said, I think you’re going to need this information soon.
At this time in history, God has allowed a pandemic to occur: the coronavirus (COVID-19). It has changed the world almost overnight. It’s affecting everyone. in. the. whole. world. This makes me wonder what God’s plan is through this? I know His plan is not for us to panic. Here are 10 truths I know that calm my fears.
These 10 Truths I Know
- I know God is Sovereign.
- I know God rules everything.
- I know God is in control of everything.
- God wants the world to turn their eyes to Him as God.
- God wants the world to recognize that He is the Creator of all things.
- God wants all to worship Him as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
- God the Father wants us to accept Jesus Christ as His Son, and as the Savior and Messiah.
- God wants all people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.
- God wants the world to trust that Jesus Christ took the world’s sins upon Himself, suffered and died on a cross, and on the third day rose again, and now sits on the right side of God in heaven.
- God the Father wants all the world to have faith that Jesus Christ will come again to judge both the living and the dead, and to know that we who have placed our trust in Him will live with Him forever in heaven, and those who have not will suffer eternal judgment in hell.
These are the truths I know, based on the Word of God.
Based on these facts, I know that God has a plan for allowing this coronavirus to come at this time, and He has a plan to use it, as He does for everything He sends or allows, to bring people to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and to bring glory to Himself.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that already people are staying home more. Some are being forced to, and some are voluntarily choosing to do so. This week colleges closed and students went home, cities across America and the world closed public gatherings, schools were closed citywide, large gatherings canceled. Gatherings were limited in some places to under 1000 people, and other places under 100. Major events were stopped. Travel was banned from Europe to the United States. Quarantine, isolation, and social distancing are now common words and phrases. Newly coined, some have to be defined. Ways of greeting one another were introduced to avoid contact and inadvertent spread of the virus. Habits of a lifetime have to be changed! Overnight, the world has changed.
Because of the 10 Truths I know, I can be at peace. I urge you to have peace and a calm response, rather than a fearful panic, to what is happening. Take precautions, respond wisely, yes, but don’t panic. God is still in control.
As you are making plans and still are busy, whether outside or inside the home, you need to make those decisions with thought, wisdom and discernment.
Guidelines to Help You Know What To Say Yes To
These are just that–guidelines, not rules. They worked for us and so I pass them along! Pray over what you should say yes and no to, and don’t assume that you’ll be involved in anything! Determine where your life goals are, and what your destination in Homeschooling and raising your children is–what you are trying to accomplish–and ask yourself if your activities will help you get there? This worked for us in our most busy–and too busy–times. I hope these ideas are helpful to you! With the world events as they are, you may be busy in different ways soon, and for different reasons, but these guidelines are still helpful and applicable.
- Pray about what the Lord wants your family to be doing. Ask God, “What do You want us to do?” Have the courage to say, “No”! Don’t believe the lie that, “If I don’t do it, no one else will.” Maybe it’s ok for nobody to do it! And maybe God wants to cause someone else to do it, but you’re in the way. Remember: God has a plan for your family, and a unique message He desires to communicate through you. Don’t try to copy others.
- Never say yes to a job or commitment without praying about it first, and preferably, sleeping on it overnight.
- Wives, always ask your husbands first. Place a note prominently where you’ll see it that reminds you to respond, “I need to talk to my husband first. I’ll get back to you.”
- With his permission, let your husband be “the bad guy” and just say, “My husband doesn’t want me to do that (right now).” His shoulders are broader than yours, and most people will not question you further if your husband has made the decision for you and your family.
- Determine ahead of time how many nights per week your family will have commitments outside the home, and stick to it. In our family, that number was no more than two nights a week with planned activities on the calendar. Stay home and get to know one another!
- Concentrate on family ministry, not individual ministry, and family activities, rather than individual activities. Each family member going in a different direction or scrambling to get each child to his or her separate event splits up the family, and quickly becomes overwhelming.
- When your children are little, make the decision not to get involved in organized sports or join activities that will be lifelong commitments, unless you feel very strongly led by the Lord to do so! My reason for saying that is that once you start on this path, it’s nearly impossible to get off of it! There are few, if any, exit ramps! You establish a pattern, then your children get used to it, and expect it, and then the pattern is very hard to change, even if you feel you should or want to. It’s more difficult to quit later with every year of involvement, and the longer you’re involved, the more time and energy there is required.
- Let Dad decide the direction of the family. Let your husband lead.
“You will have to be intentional to unplug in order to spend time together as a family. It won’t just happen.”
“You will have to be intentional to unplug in order to spend time together as a family. It won’t just happen.”
- Plan for Dad to have time with his children. Do quiet activities where conversation is encouraged and enabled to happen. Cause the hearts of the children to turn to the fathers, as the Scriptures say. When you spend time together, conversation can happen. You, Dad and Mom, can disciple and train your children, and talk about important things. When you’re at home, you can see the character issues in your children which need your attention, and deal with them more consistently. As your children become tweens, and especially teens, late night conversation just sort of happens. They open up more at night, for whatever reason. Plan for it. Be available.
- When you are at home, do activities that draw you all together and plan to Power Off. Close the laptops, take the earbuds out, get off Facebook, turn off the TV, etc. When we were raising our family, one day our TV went *poof!* and didn’t work, and by God’s grace, we chose not to fix or replace it.
- Think prayerfully, deeply, and intentionally about when to allow your children to have a phone. Plan later. Have boundaries as to what you allow in private areas, such as their bedroom. We didn’t allow our children to have a phone, computer, TV, or other electronics in their bedrooms.
Parents: Intentionally delay your child’s ownership and possession of electronics, cell phones, etc. It will inevitably come, but choose when. You have been given authority by God and it is your job to decide. However, I’ve also counseled you to let go of your older child sooner, and let him make decisions in the home. So you need to train his heart and character, and instill such a love for God, and tender conscience toward Him that your child does not want to sin against Him.
I’m referring to young children, especially, regarding when they have a phone, or access to electronics. Please don’t let your 2 year old play games on your phone to keep him quiet or occupied.
Have safeguards in your home and on your electronics, but know that it’s a heart issue, and if they want to get to evil sites, they will. Pray for them continually. Be an example of what you want them to be. Trust God. As for the decision when to let him have a phone, this is your decision, but it should be prayerfully made, and thought-through carefully.
- Put into your day and week FIRST what is eternal (giving the first fruits of your time to the Lord) by spending your time on things that will last: People, and the Word of God.
- If your time is spent with others, try to discern and choose wise companions. Be wise yourselves. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20
- Be intentional: Think of the long-term goals for your family. Will this activity help you achieve them? If others were to follow your example and become like you, would that be a good thing and glorify the Lord? Do what is important, not just the urgent. (Read the little booklet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” by Charles Hummel.) Choose those things which are best, not just good.
With the absence of a TV, we spent much more time together, and we purposely limited screen time for our children. Slow down the pace, and create more peace and togetherness in your home.
Activities Your Family Can Do Together
- Read aloud together as a family. (e.g. As our children grew into the upper elementary and teen years, we read many true life missionary stories, which greatly impacted their faith. All through our homeschooling years, in the evenings we would read “living books” and historical fiction–that related to what we were studying in school, and it was a way to involve Dad.
- Play a game together: include the little ones when possible.
- Do creative activities together, explore nature.
- Do work projects around the house.
- Make gifts for others.
- Teach your children how to work with their hands: how to cook, organize, sew, do repairs, fix cars, make wood projects, garden, do crafts…
- Learn a skill together: learn handwork such as cross stitch, needlepoint or Hardanger, whittling and woodworking, toy-making for small children, bead work, crocheting and knitting, playing an instrument, sewing, auto repair, art (drawing and experimenting using pastels, chalks, watercolor, or oils), puppetry. *Many of these are “lost arts” and that is so sad! You will have more mature, more creative children who will be in high demand as they grow older, for they will have confidence, patience and know how to work hard, plus have valuable skills.
Set your hearts, minds and affections on things above. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
Make disciples, have Bible studies, and enjoy spirit-and-character-building activities first, and spend time with your family, make work together fun, and then if you have time when the work is done, do the amusement-type activities.
Have your children study and prepare a talk on a topic of interest and present it to the family. Invite another family over, and have several presentations, as one or two children from each family present. Have your children act out or do a puppet show depicting a Bible story. You can do this in a Zoom session if it is not possible to get together in person.
When spending time with non-believers, do activities that will allow you to share the Lord with them and which will not compromise your testimony, or tempt you, or prevent you from glorifying the Lord. Don’t even have the appearance of evil! “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22
When you spend time with new believers or young believers, do activities that will help all of you grow and mature spiritually. Talk about how you came to know the Lord, share your testimony, talk about things that are eternal and that matter. Watch a family-friendly video or one that will challenge your spiritual life.
“Commit your way to the Lord. He promises He will direct your path. He wants to show you the way that you should go.“Wendy Gunn
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”Colossians 3:17
Say no and stop being too busy. Be intentional, pray, and plan to spend time together as a family, building strong family relationships. You may have the perfect opportunity soon.
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