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Learning when to say “no” is a key to maturity, spiritual fitness

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Rest is one of those things that we’re not very good at as Americans. “Work hard, play hard” is the motto in many of our subcultures. We go through life with this idea that we’re always supposed to be moving. But part of being spiritually fit is engaging a sense of rest for our souls.

We find ourselves exhausted by the time Friday, Saturday or Sunday roll around. We have a hard time engaging in a meaningful community of faith because we’re so caught up in the worries of the world and all the little things that take up so much of our time.

Being okay with saying “no” is part of maturing and it’s also part of resting and managing our time as we go further and further into positions of authority. I know that the older I’ve gotten, the harder it is to put the brakes on and say “No, I can’t do that.”

I feel guilty that I’m not being more generous with my time and then I feel ashamed that I’m not more than what I am.

I sometimes feel like I should be two or three of me and only then I’d be enough. But God didn’t make us two or three people. God made us just one person and that’s okay. God didn’t make 25 hours in a day.

God made only 24 hours in a day. That means that I can’t get 25 hours of work into a 24 hour day. Even if I want to and even if I feel really guilty that I can’t be more.

When thinking about what we bring to the table as a family member or a Marine or Sailor, think about what limitations we have and embrace them. It’s okay to be just one person.

That may mean I will have to say “no.” It may also mean I might have to rely on the Marine to my right and left a little more. Either way, embracing our limitations can be a way of increasing our spiritual fitness and learning where our growth edges are.

I’m not saying everyone should go out and tell their Staff Sergeant, “No! Chaps said to learn my limitations in the newspaper.” I am saying that learning how to gauge our emptiness or fullness is a part of growing more mature as leaders and that makes us more capable of engaging enemies to the fullest extent to which the law, ethics and morals allow.