I Can Does Not Mean I Should by Stephanie Nickel
That’s how I often feel when I hear of a new opportunity. You too?
I have what I refer to as the Butterfly Syndrome. I love to flit from one thing to the next to the next and then back to the first thing. (It would be nice if this was considered exercise.)
While I don’t think it will ever be my approach, I do admire people who are able to stick with a single task until it is completed before moving on to the next. There are definite advantages to this approach.
But since I have several interests (and am easily distracted), potential opportunities come at me from all sides. I am learning s-l-o-w-l-y that I can’t pursue them all—as much as I’d like to.
Add to my natural tendencies the fact that I’m a Christian and don’t want to miss an opportunity God brings my way and I’m off and running—figuratively speaking, unlike my dear friends Kimberley Payne and Janet Sketchley, who participate in events like Mudmoiselle and 5K runs.
But even as Christians, we don’t have to say yes to every opportunity, every request. For more on this, I highly recommend Lysa TerKuerst’s book The Best Yes. She guides readers through the whys and wherefores of identifying when they should say no so they’ll be ready to give their best yes.
And no, that doesn’t mean saying no to exercise so you can yes to “more spiritual” pursuits. God wants us to be good stewards of our bodies. (Do you hear me, Steph?)
Now, I believe there should be a progression in every Christian’s life. Many of us, when presented with a new opportunity, think—or even say, “Oh, I could never do that.” (At least this is the case if we’re not busy flitting about, trying our hand at everything that comes along.)
MAYBE I COULD.
As we learn more, we may come to the realization that just maybe we could do whatever it is—the Squat Challenge I am currently participating in, for example.
Regarding many opportunities, I’ve found myself thinking, “I could do that? Cool!” Hopefully, there comes a time when we realize we’ve learned enough to at least try our hand at something new, and beyond that, that God has equipped us to do things we never imagined possible. This is an exhilarating mindset. And it’s very in-keeping with my “oo, shiny” attitude.
BUT SHOULD I?
Not that long ago, the Lord brought me to a new realization. It may seem self-evident. And I wouldn’t blame you if you said, “Well, d’uh!” although I know you’re much too polite to do so.
The final step in this three-step progression is this: when someone asks us to do something or we become aware of an interesting opportunity, we should … wait for it … we should ask,
“Lord, is this something You want me to do? And if so, what should I set aside in order to do it to the best of my ability?”
And as I mentioned, we are to be a good steward of the body He gave us. Therefore, we may have to say no to opportunities that would impinge on our exercise time or our sleep.
I’m still learning Step 3. But it really is even more exciting than the second step. After all, knowing God will give me wisdom and direction and will guide me step-by-step … now that is truly amazing.
Will I always flit from one thing to the next? Most likely. But with God’s help, I will seek to make His priorities mine.We must be a good steward of the body God gave us. (tweet this)
Steph Beth Nickel is an author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer.