Saying No to Say Yes (Bible Ponderings #8)

“I should finish the chronological bible reading plan for this year. After all, I should not leave something half done that I’ve started.”

What are your current “I shoulds?”

If you’re like me, I then tend to have a little argument in my head where I ask myself…do I have to? (insert slightly whiny tone).

The answer in this particular instance is no. No, I do not have to.

When we say “yes” to something, we are in effect saying “no” to something else. Conversely, if we say “no” to something, we are saying “yes” to something else. It all comes down to priorities. So sometimes we need to say “no” in order to say “yes”!

Reading the Bible chronologically in a year is a wonderful discipline, and I have done it before. So please don’t misunderstand me!

As this year has progressed, I started a new journalling format. Like many of us on WordPress, writing is how I process my thoughts, and when I’m talking to God, it’s no different. I read Scriptures. Then I write in my journal how they apply to me and my prayer. For months now the Holy Spirit has been keeping me in the Gospels and the Psalms for my daily reading and therefore as a result, I’ve lagged further and further behind in keeping up with my self-imposed “should” of chronological reading.

What to do? When we find ourselves in this kind of scenario it is always wise to consider what our priorities are. Journalling is my priority because it is one of the ways I maintain my relationship with God. So I am saying “yes” to my journalling, and “no” to finishing the chronological reading plan. For now, I am saying no in order to say yes.

Is there anything in your life right now where you need to say no in order to say yes? Like me, it might even appear to be something spiritual, or it may be something more practical, but is it truly the priority God wants you to have right now?

Something to ponder!

Jo πŸ™‚

Β©2022 Quietly Roaring. All Rights Reserved.

30 thoughts on “Saying No to Say Yes (Bible Ponderings #8)

  1. This can spiral really fast. It can be so easy to put pressure on ourselves. And then sometimes this leads to guilt. And we equate our daily routines to whether or not we are pleasing God. Thank you for the reminder that we need to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead!

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  2. No the sofa and yes to my sneakers and the pavement!πŸ˜„ When I do the ‘through the year bible reading’ that’s what it is for me – just reading [not much studying]. I play the audio mostly in the morning when I am getting ready for work — no one bothers me. Simply beautiful! I do a lot of laughing with God during those times. The scriptures are very interesting and thought-provoking. This is where I ask God a lot of questions in passing..πŸ˜‰

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  3. I tried doing the Bible through the year. I found that I was only focused on checking off the reading for the day rather than understanding what it said. An other thing that I say No to intermittently is to screen time on my phone.

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    1. Hi Manu, yes I think in this day and age we can all benefit from saying no to our phone more often than we do! That said I am on my phone replying to this πŸ˜† but like you I intermittently say no and turn off notifications. Have a great day!

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  4. This is so good, Jo! I have two friends that remind me not to “should” on myself and thus shame into bondage. I’m not referring to genuine conviction from the Holy Spirit that requires repentance. But rather the oppressive guilt-producing cycle of negative self-dialogue, “You should. . .”

    I said NO to getting my Chronological Bible reading done on a predetermined date. Saying YES to genuine rich study time and relationship with the Lord to glean from the Chronological reading.

    I’m 97% of the way through and I started in December 2019. It’s taken nearly three years but I’ve grown and learned and I’m excited about doing it again.

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    1. Manette what great advice from your friends! Yes there is definitely a big difference between legalistic guilt, and genuine conviction.
      I love your example of reading the chronological bible with no set finish time, YES! When I feel led to read chronologically again that is exactly how I want to do it! πŸ’•

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  5. I was nodding as I read your words Jo, I have often fallen into the bondage of Bible reading plans. Just recently I gave up on dated reading plans in favour of following an undated one; the beauty being that there is no real falling behind when I am busy or unwell. As I see it this takes one more weapon out of the enemies hands.

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  6. Should I?- it’s amazing how a two word question can seem so simple yet be so complex. I really appreciate how you so clearly spelled out the inverse of our response- “When we say β€œyes” to something, we are in effect saying β€œno” to something else. Conversely, if we say β€œno” to something, we are saying β€œyes” to something else.” It’s funny how the seasons in which our children are at cause a “should I?” shift for parents. Now that my kids are in middle/high school, I’m at that parenting point where saying “yes” to them means being a taxi driver & sitting waiting in parking lots which translates to saying “no” to things I was able to accomplish in the past.

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    1. I hear you Beth! When I was in that season it was exactly the same for me. I was forever questioning what activity, or lesson I should be doing with the children next. The good news is that your huge “yes” to homeschooling is sowing seeds for you to reap a wonderful harvest, which unfortunately involves a lot of waiting in carparks along the way! 😊

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  7. You are wise to abandon the reading plan, Jo, to meet with God in a way that ministers best to your spirit. And I agree with the suggestion to complete a chronological reading of the Bible with a longer time table that feels comfortable for the individual participant. I once bought a study book that took the reader through the entire Bible in three years. It took me fifteen!! That’s because I took my time, I read from other sources, and I took breaks. But I did finish!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I actually think your example is wonderful, because it shows you were truly engaged and going deeper, allowing God to show you things along the way!
      I recently read a quote “how we spend our days is how we spend our life”…and it has stuck in my head. I hope I can be more selective with my yeses and no’s in other areas too.
      I pray you’re doing okay Nancy. πŸ’•

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  8. As I get older the process of saying no more often to manage what I am saying yes to makes a lot of sense Jo. I am seeking to do what nurtures me and builds me up, that even includes what I say yes to at my church. I am so bad at the bible reading thing, but I try to find ways to ensure God is in my daily life. And reading blogs like yours keeps that connection for many of us. Lynn

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  9. Hi Jo, I like this good, well thought out blog. Sounds like your journal brings you enjoyment and closer to God so you can’t go wrong, making that a priority! I had 2 Bible studies going for a short time and realized I was feeling like they were becoming obligations. Not good. So I chose one and devote my time to it, enjoying every moment. Much better.

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