By Joel Warren
In my younger days, I was a traveling musician. I loved the adventure and the excitement of seeing new places and meeting new people. It was necessary in those days for our band to get out and be seen, and as a result I said YES to every invitation.
One Saturday afternoon that all changed. We loaded in our equipment, did our sound check, and then asked about the schedule and what time we’d play our music. Hopefully, my face hid the disappointment when I heard the promoter say we were playing after the mime did his thing. After the mime did the classic “feeling around the door while looking for the doorknob”, we played our music and then went home.
I learned that day that I shouldn’t promise to do things without measuring the weight of my words. Birthday parties are great, and mimes are awesome, but I didn’t really want to play music at a birthday, and should have not promised to do so.
Honestly, I still deal with promising things that I don’t think through. There are times i listen to a friends issues, and don’t know what to say besides “I’ll say a prayer for you.” I don’t get out my calendar to set a reminder to pray, most times I don’t stop the conversation and pray immediately, I simply say “I’ll pray for you” and then forget I said anything.
I don’t like this part of myself, and I am trying hard to let my promises be true. I make efforts now to be honest and communicate my feelings more. I believe scripture when I read in Matthew 5, “when you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong (The Message).
I am thankful we serve a God who knows the importance of boundaries. I feel healthier when I say YES to what is realistic, and say NO to things I should.
If you deal with saying YES to everything, resulting in anxiety and exhaustion, know that God wants our promises to be true, and He has set up a system that allows us to be healthy and free.
"And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong." -
Matthew 5:37, The Message.