Yes and No
Imagine your family has decided to go on a road trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” What’s the last thing you do before you start to drive? (After you have packed your bags. After you have loaded the car. After you have begged the kids to “Please try to go to the bathroom one last time. Please. Just TRY, because we are NOT STOPPING for at least an hour!”)
The last thing most of us do is 1) open up our GPS, 2) enter the destination, 3) take a minute to peek at the overview so we know the general route, 4) and then we hit start and obey the instructions that follow. So if your destination is Orlando, Florida, then you don’t get sidetracked by going through Phoenix. It might be lovely this time of year, but Phoenix is not the destination. That turns a 15-hour trip into a 50-hour trip. In order to say “YES” to getting to your desired destination, you have to say “NO” to the detours and distractions.
Learning the discipline and discernment to know when to say “No” and when to say “Yes” is critical for loosening the loads that drag us down. Unfortunately, that can also be very difficult. This is true for all of us some of the time. This is true for some of us much of the time, especially for the people pleasers, the peacekeepers, and those who crave affirmation and fear being resented, rejected, or replaced if they say “no.”
Throughout his ministry, Jesus models creating healthy boundaries. He rejects the temptations of Satan because they don’t match his mission. He rebuts misinformed, misguided requests both from friend (disciples and family) and foe (Pharisees) alike when they don’t pair with his purpose. He limits the ways and times he cares for the masses, slipping away for rest and prayer when he needs to recharge his body and reconnect to God. As counterintuitive as it may sound, healthy boundaries are exactly what allow us to reach our desired destinations and give of ourselves more fully, more freely, and more compassionately to God and others.