By Kaycia Rajala
Think about your life right now. What in your schedule is bringing you joy? What is bringing you closer to Jesus? Do you have commitments that drain your joy? Take a moment to consider.
Most of us probably have a few commitments/things in our life we’d be blessed to get rid of . . .
So, I am married to a great guy, named Chris. Chris has been on Young Life staff for over 20 years. For those of you who have no idea about Young Life, it is a para church ministry that is designed to share the gospel with middle school, high school and college students.
When we were first married and living in Kansas City, I was a high school math teacher, but I loved helping with Young Life. I led small groups of high school girls, I went to leader meetings, and I attended the weekly Young Life clubs. I even changed school districts so that Chris and I could be investing in the same group of kids and community,
Then, after 11 years of doing ministry in Kansas City, God called us to Lincoln. At this point, our children were 5, 3, and 6 weeks old. I felt very clearly it was time for me to quit working with high school kids. We had just made a HUGE move, my kids were at a stage where I couldn’t be gone as much, AND I had no grandmas here in Lincoln that could come watch my kids so I could go hang out with high school kids.
It was hard to let go of being involved. However, during that year, I was invited to go to a small group with our college-aged Young Life leaders. I absolutely LOVED being with these young women. The work was life-giving, and I felt like I was still “helping.” For many years, leading this group was one of my favorite things. I looked forward to the time I would spend with them. They were receptive to teaching, and we did fun things outside of Bible study together. We met at my house every Monday at 9 p.m. (after my kids’ 8 p.m. bedtime) so I didn’t even need to get a sitter!
Then, a few years ago it began to be not so fulfilling. The girls didn’t seem as receptive to my leadership, and I dreaded preparing for the study. (And those kids who used to go to bed at 8 were awake until much later and had activities that sometimes aren’t over until after 9.) After much prayer, counsel and time, I realized it was time for me to stop leading this group. I was sad about it, because for years it had been something that I loved to do, but I knew it was time. When I quit, I had no idea if someone else would step in or what would happen, but I knew that it wasn’t my job to fill that role anymore.
Quitting something without having a back-up plan is hard to do. We have to trust God is going to supply what he needs (and what we need). This situation was no different. He provided! What used to be me leading 1 small group is now 5 other women leading 3 small groups, and they are killing it.
Many of us are still doing something because it used to be beautiful and joyful, and we are sure if we keep at it, the beauty will come back. Many of us need to quit stuff that is “good,” but just isn’t the best for us.
Clean out your schedule like you might clean out your closet. You know that cute outfit you haven’t worn in 5 years, but when you see it you remember how cute/hip it used to look on you? But then you try it on, and it’s not flattering in any way. You should have given it away years ago.
Some of our commitments are like that.
Good is the enemy of Great. We might have lots of “good” things in our schedule, but just because it’s “good” doesn’t mean it needs to be there.
What is keeping you from quitting?
Are you afraid? Many of us are afraid that someone will be mad if we quit. We are afraid “that something” is what gives us meaning/purpose/identity.
Many times we live in fear of what others will think . . . what will happen if we say no.
But God says DO NOT BE AFRAID!!! He says it over and over again. The Bible repeats that command over 70 times.
So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is 41:10
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim 1:7
Don’t be afraid to say no. If God is calling you to clear some things from your life, He will give you the strength to say no and He’ll be with you after. We need to have margin in our lives–time to be still and listen, time to discern what God is calling us to do. If we fill our time completely, we’re not leaving the margin we need.
We need time away. We need time to recharge. We need time to listen to God.
Jesus models this in Matthew 14. After He feeds the 5,000, he goes up on the mountainside BY HIMSELF to pray.
We also need to leave time for the most important people in our lives, instead of giving them our leftovers. When my 14-year-old is ready to dish about her day, I want to have space to listen. I want my husband to know that he and our marriage are a priority, so I want to make time for him. When my friend is diagnosed with cancer, I want to have time to make dinner for her family. If my schedule is overflowing, I won’t have the space I need to love people well. And, let’s be honest, sometimes the best way we can show others we care is to set down our phones when they show up.
Our enemy wants us busy. He wants us afraid to make changes. He wants us content with status quo. He doesn’t want us spending extra time with Jesus, reading scripture and hiding it in our hearts.
The chorus of the song “Fighting Words” by Ellie Holcomb says this:
Fight the lies with the truth, oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words.
I encourage all of you to use God’s BOLD words of truth to fight the lies of the enemy.