Learning to Say “No” to Myself

There is a habit I have created, one I am pretty sure you may have too. Do you ever find it hard to say “no” to yourself? In modern day society self happiness is a form of worship. With a mantra of “Do what makes you happy” it is not difficult to see why so many people are in debt, unhappy, depressed, out of shape, etc. We have made our lives so stressful that anything we see as relief has become a god. For me, that is the pleasure of spending money. Food, coffee, new clothes, even new workout clothes! Sure I am trying to get my health life back in order- I am working out, eating better, and gaining a more positive mood. To this end though, I have told myself, “You are doing so great, you deserve that new outfit, water bottle, health supplement”. The problem with living in an entitled society is that it invades our perosnal lives too. We may not be looking to others to provide for us, but I sure am looking to myself to provide for me. I have made self-sufficiency my god. Whether it is a stressful day at work, hardship in a relationship or inner turmoil, the first person I turn to for help is myself.

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Now, do not get me wrong, it is not a bad thing to be independent or to seek to better ourselves through great self-effort. It becomes a problem however when we no longer look to God for our strength, but look to ourselves for ultimate solutions. This, while it may seem temporarily helpful, but eventually leads to more stress and anxiety. Why? Because we were not made to handle all of the weight our problems place upon us. When we get into the habit of turning to ourself, sinning becomes a  lifestyle. Turning to habits that make us feel better, ease the load and generally help us forget about it all. But forgetting does not solve the problem, and eventually it pushes us farther and farther from the One who wants to help us. I am guilty of this. I am seeing more and more lately that I am turning earthly habits into sinful patterns, and pushing away God when I should be drawing near to Him. Much as I do not want not like talking about my sins, it is a topic that has become too taboo. We are all human and sin. We must be honest with each other and with ourselves when it comes to our weaknesses. So, in saying all of this, I am learning to say “no” to myself. The next time that early morning tells me to spend $5 on coffee, that stressful day tells me to grumble about my life, or the next traffic jam leads me to use choice words I really shouldn’t use, I must learn to say no. No I will not let my anger overtake me, no I will not spend money as therapy, no I will not let human relationship take the place of my relationship with the One I love- the One who loves me unconditionally.

This post may be convicting and a stark contrast to all the feel good blogs out there, but I hope that in my honesty, you can know that you are not alone in your struggle. Please come back tomorrow as I write about saying “no” to others: how to keep from over committing yourself”.

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