The Danger of Saying No

So if you are a busy Catholic mom like I am, you have a lot on your plate!  Church activities, school activities, sports, dance, playgroups, Bible studies, every week – not to mention little extras that come up, like cooking for a bake sale, updating a cub scout budget, neighborhood meetings.  It is always enough to make my head spin!  But we stay happy while we stay busy, always making the time to spend together doing family activities, and not just the time spent together at soccer games or doing homework!

bicycleI was just recently on a walk with my youngest one – she rode her bike and I walked behind her, giving her a push now and then to keep those little legs pedaling up the hills.  As we walked and she chattered away about the flowers, the birds, the clouds in the sky, I saw how empty her schedule was.  Except for playgroups, she was pretty much open.  She didn’t have her schedule full of activities or her mind full of worries about what needed to be accomplished or what was next on the agenda.  And it gave her the freedom to fill her heart up with the beauty of the world around her, the world that her God created.  She was content to go along with me to wherever we were headed, trusting that I would eventually lead her back home.  And in the meantime, she was joyful about the ride there!

And then I thought about how we spend so much time busy with everything – some of them great quality activities, but still taking up minutes in our day.  What would I fill our minutes with if they were open and free like my daughter’s?  Would I be content just to sit still?  Just to bask in the brightness of my children?  Would I read the Bible?  Pray the rosary?  Or would I likely find some activity to do – a dessert to bake, a closet to clean, a weed to pull.  I realize that I often fail to say no to activities that are presented to me – both organized activities and self-created projects.  I get great joy out of serving others so I know that I am more likely to accept more responsibility or take on additional projects.

But what is the danger of saying no to those time-consuming activities?  What would happen if I did say no?  I think that I would have to look inward, rather than serve outward.  I would have to take the time to look at myself, examine my flaws, see where my faith is lacking.  I would have to have more conversations with God rather than quick whispered prayers for the Holy Spirit’s guidance through my day.  Like my daughter, I would have to fill my heart with the beauty around me rather than filling my hands with busyness. I would have to take the time to smile at Christ and feel Him smiling back at me.

Perhaps it is easier to rush through my full day than it is to take the time to appreciate my life.  Perhaps it is easier to ask for help as I rush around than it is to turn everything over to Him and be joyful.  Perhaps if I did say no, I would find myself, like my daughter – along for the ride, fully trusting that God was leading me where he wanted me to go and that eventually he would lead me Home.  I think I’d like to find out…

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