Taming The Evil YES Monster

Gwen SmithBlog, Christian Living, Confession, Control, Devotions, Encouragement, Freedom, Life Clutter, Prayer, Strength, Worship 36 Comments

Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew?

Have you ever said, “Sure, I’ll be glad to do that!” when you should have said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to that right now”?

Has an over-loaded schedule ever added stress to you, your family, or your relationships?

I would think you’ve answered, “yes” to each of the previous questions. I know I did.

I constantly try to make positive life adjustments. Two areas I evaluate regularly are my calendar and commitments. Trust me, I’m not the boundary queen. I won’t even pretend to have all the answers about this topic, because I don’t. I bow to the evil “yes monster” more than I care to admit. I’m constantly struggling to find a healthy balance between faith, family, friends, fashion, and ministry. (Okay, fashion doesn’t really belong on that list, though it’s terribly fun. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention!)

Jesus had some friends named Mary and Martha. Martha was a busy girl who, at times, allowed her to-do list to keep her from worship. Mary just wanted to be with Jesus.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

As we face the holiday season and a new year, let’s choose what’s better! It’s so important that we establish healthy boundaries to keep us from being too busy to sit at the Lord’s feet. I’ve been forced to grow in the area of setting boundaries in order to bless and preserve my faith, family, friendships and ministry.

In an article called Setting Boundaries, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir wrote, “A boundary is a fence to ward of potential problems and to protect those in its guardianship.”

What does that look like in real life?

How can we possibly spend time with the Lord, keep our homes clean, run errands, go to meetings, serve on committees, change diapers, shower, get our Bible study assignment finished, find missing teddy bears, take Johnny to little league, run Sally to dance practice, and have a hot, healthy dinner on the table by six o’clock? I’m sure it will look different for each of us, but there’s one basic parameter that applies across the board, whether you are married, divorced, single, or widowed, or with or without children: MAKE TIME FOR GOD.

Jesus said that the highest call on your life is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Keep the main thing the main thing! (TWEET this!Nothing should replace your personal time with God. Set aside time each day for Bible study, prayer, and worship.

Matthew 22.37 Main Thing

Jesus tells us that we must remain in Him. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Once you’ve established boundaries that prioritize and protect your time with Jesus, you can freely say YES to the opportunities that are in line with your passions and interests. And confidently say NO to the yes monster that tries to dilute your focus and rob you of God’s best.

Dear Lord,
Please forgive me for the times when I clutter my life with busyness and fail to put You first. Help me to discern what is best for my schedule according to Your perfect will, and equip me with the wisdom and courage to make any changes that are needed. I love You and long to know you more with all my heart, mind, and soul.
In Jesus’ name, amen.



Are you saying yes to too many things? Consider if any of your activities could be eliminated. CLICK HERE to leave a comment letting me know what God is teaching you about this subject – or simply say, “I’m saying NO to the YES monster!”
So blessed to do life with you, friend! Can’t wait to read your responses.

Please pause to pray for and encourage each other in the comments section below!

Warmly in Grace,



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Comments 36

  1. I remember lying in my room when I was in high school and writing in a journal to my future husband. I’d write all sorts of notes and questions and things I’d wonder or ask this man when I eventually met him. I would wonder where he was and what he was doing and if he was thinking about me too. It has always been such a strong desire in my heart to find a wonderful man to marry, somceone who would love me and cherish me and appreciate me for the person I am. I always thought I would get married right out of college, just like my parents, so when that plan didn’t work out, I started to get discouraged. A school mate snatched my future husband away from my arms just because she had spiritual powers, all hope was lost to me before i came across the help doctor (prayerstosaverelationship@gmail.com
    ) who i confided in, i told him my long story and he helped me regain back my lover with his prayers which is now my husband today. if you have any problem email the help doctor (prayerstosaverelationship@gmail.com

  2. I use to feel so guilty saying NO. After reading your article and knowing I need to spend more uninterrupted time with God, I have one New Year’s resolution…NO. I know my life would be so much better if I spent more valuable time with God and less times saying YES. Thank you so much for your articles. You bless me each time I read and study them.

  3. “How can we possibly spend time with the Lord, keep our homes clean, run errands, go to meetings, serve on committees, change diapers, shower, get our Bible study assignment finished, find missing teddy bears, take Johnny to little league, run Sally to dance practice, and have a hot, healthy dinner on the table by six o’clock?”

    How about adding in doing well at work? Apparently jobs don’t take time….? Or are we perpetuating the stereotype that women don’t/shouldn’t have careers or jobs and only being a wife and/or mother matters?

  4. It’s ok to get things done, you can read the bible on the iphone, tablet, after all this is the digital age, lol. Just keep a tab open and after 2 hours work read one or two passages.

  5. Hey Gwen, thanks for sharing this. I needed to hear it. I tend to want to be busy — and part of that busyness is to stop myself from listening to God so that I can do whatever I think is best for myself! I’m reminded of how a fruit of the spirit is self-control. I’m going to intentionally make time for Sabbath rest in 2015 (starting now!) because I think that helps me to realign myself with God and to remember that we are made to work from a place of rest, instead of working so that we can rest.

  6. A hectic schedule is not always a matter of saying “yes” to another person’s suggestion. I bite off more than I can chew because I underestimate how long transitions take & overestimate my energy level. Schedules also need to take the unexpected into consideration. I rarely do this. Ironically, this is when I pray most ferently as if God were Santa Claus. In April, I will turn 60 years of age; & yet, I’ve learned neither how to budget my time efficiently nor always effectively. My deficit becomes Satan’s playground laddened with guilt RE time wasted & loss of temper. I am not alone. Our culture encourages a 24/7 mentality & instant results. This is not an excuse for packing more into a schedule than the Lord allows. It is an explanation & perhaps a line of prayer to pursue. That is, to align my will with God’s. I have learned — despite whatever I think should happen, what occurs is in God’s hands; & He has perfect timing.

  7. Great message! Getting a masters (MBA), I could study 24/7 and still have more to study. As I’ve started saying, “You know what I know this as well as I’m going to” and spent my time with God instead, he has enabled me to be more clear headed, which has been just as good if not better for my grades then more study time.

  8. Thank you for this message. I love the statement “keep the main thing, the main thing” ! I’ve always been a “Martha” and am naturally ingrained to “busyness”. It is a struggle for me a lot of the times to just slow down my inner being to “take my time” with my time that I spend with God. So often I feel the urgings inside of me to get to my “list of things to do” instead of mentally putting these things to do on a shelf and taking in my time with God as my number one priority. There is no one or anything more important than God !

  9. This was a perfect time for me hear your message. During the holidays I somehow find myself way in over my head so – I’m saying NO to the YES monster!

  10. wow, time: what we all have the same amount of but choose to use differently. Sometimes I feel like I am at the mercy of just life. A wise friend once told me to approach each day with a vision of a plate and only put on the plate what it will hold, Then ask God to bless the plate and all that is on it, No more no less. He will honor your service and also your ability to not overload. Right now my plate is always full. My 21 year old daughter came back home with a 9 month old and a 2 year old after living with domestic violence. At 57 my days are full of homeschooling my son’s last year in high school and caring for my granddaughters full time while my daughter gets her life back. In school full time work part time. Do I sometimes miss my time with God? You bet. Do I miss it? You bet? Does God want me to feel condemned? I think not, he does want me to ask for forgiveness and get back on track. It is hard right now trying to fit in time w/ friends,time w/ church service time w/ family.. right now I am approaching it as a TIME to make a difference in the lives of these 2 beautiful girls and my daughter. Say yes to building relationships with people and with God, it can be done. I pray I am making a difference in the lives of those 2 young lives right now, this is where God wants me to be.

    1. Praise God for the difference you are making in your little lives and those you touch daily! What a witness you are to them and their Mom. As a labor and delivery nurse, I see only too often grandparents much older than yourself, carrying similar loads. I commit to pray for you in 2015. Thank you for the plate idea. I will make use of that wise reminder. Praying for wisdom, strength, and discernment for 2015!
      Kathy <

  11. I have been trying to find ways to keep my 2nd job even though God told me long ago to quit it. My last reasoning was I do not want to leave them high and dry. I will give my resignation and not come back in January. Let me say, I have a full time job, I’m working on my bachelor’s degree, I am a single parent to an college student that lives at home, I keep my eye on my elderly parents, and I am active in my church. Now, I have headaches,I’m stressed, and make myself go to my full time job like this. Thanks to this article I just called and told them that I cannot do this anymore. I am killing myself and hardly ever see the extra money I am supposed to be making from this job. God…I surrender to Your will.

  12. Great way of saying it; “you know, my yes just isn’t strong enough right now, so I’ll have to say no”. That way a yes may be at another time, but not right now. Really enjoy your articles!

  13. We all have to say yes to the yes monster, its in our blood but putting God first is important so I’m really going to try and say no to the yes monster.

  14. amen!!! i try to everyday through the wk. read the daily bread n god at most devontol. and try to remember to pray which i dont much esp. now were struggling finacailly.

  15. Wow this was exactly what I needed to be digesting this morning! And the song Uncluttered moved me to tears, as I sang it to my Lord… thank you so much for sharing with us… blessings to you.

  16. I had to face the “Yes Monster” head-on this past weekend. Sunday was an incredibly busy day. I help teach K-2 in Sunday School, and I play tambourine in the Worship Team. My daughters and I also set up Communion every first Sunday. Immediately following service we had the final rehearsal for our children’s Christmas Pageant, of which I’m a co-director…and the performance was that evening. After THAT, it had been announced that a small group was going to sing Christmas Carols as a senior living place, but my husband and I had already agreed to take our daughters to do Toys for Tots. While technically I had time to do both, it would have been just too much (I hadn’t figured lunch yet, either). As much as I wanted to join the choir…I just couldn’t. I had to say “No.”

  17. I realized that I had a problem making time for God in my life a couple of months ago. I had so much to do until I had no time for God or myself. My husband is using a Bible app in which is reading the Bible in one year. Bingo….why was I not reading from my One Year Bible for Women. Now this is my routine. Every morning that I awaken, I light a candle, get my One Year Bible for Women, a notebook, my book of the names of people for whom I pray, my highlighter, a pen and a pencil…and a cup of coffee. If I have to sub as a teacher that day, I get up earlier to make time for God. This was the best thing I have ever done. Since I have done this my life has become more comfortable and “yes” does not easily slip from my mouth. The candle is my way of telling Jesus to come in my home and in me. My home is much quieter and calmer… and I am experiencing a peace that I never knew I could have. I could go on and on about this, but I hope anyone reads understands my transformation.

  18. I needed this. I am not at the stage of life where I can overcommit too much, but I needed to be reminded just how important quiet time is.

  19. If Jesus came to my house, I’d definitely turn into a Mary! I’m a Martha 99% of the time, or I used to be. I never thought I’d say this, BUT… I’m a little thankful that the illness I have has slowed me down because now I pour over the Word as much as I can (I’d read all day if the regular daughter/sister/mom/wife/grandmother/friend thing didn’t need taking care of). The point is doing is important, but not to the point that Jesus isn’t first in your life. As a woman, I take care of a lot of things and a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get up a little earlier to spend time with Him. He is the Almighty! What is more important than Him????

  20. I am saying No to the Yes Monster. I realize that like Martha, I always feel like I am the “general manager” of the universe. But as always, I had a breakdown about 2 weeks ago. God is Good because this breakdown is actually a breakthrough to eliminating these extra projects and responsibilities that I no longer need to be involved in. Through fasting God has revealed so much that I have to change (i.e. getting the plank out of my own eye) and its been challenging letting go and liberating once its left at His alter. I pray for you for a breakdown that is actually a breakthrough!

    1. I can relate to that and am already working on handing it over to the Lord. I tend to be a people pleaser…but sometimes forget I need to be a Almighty God please first. Time to slow down and see what the Lord needs from us. Thanks for sharing and God Bless 🙂

  21. Why does Martha always get such a bad rap? Who in the world was going to feed those people if not her (and Mary). Sure, Jesus would have understood, but no one else would have, maybe not even Lazarus. One of the reasons Mary could sit at Jesus’s feet was because Martha was handling the food. I’m definitely a Martha, and trust me, the few times I’ve tried to not be, all hell has broken loose.

  22. THIS IS ME! haha! And your GIG today was perfect. I need to serve JESUS first and the rest will fall into place. Thank you for YOUR service and I look forward to reading my GIG each and every day!

  23. Can I tell you how on time this word of the day is. As I read this, not only does it apply to setting that time for God, but also that time to work on the things that God has in stored for me. I am a wife and I have 3 children. I work 2 full time jobs and I work in direct sells. And I am a leader in the ministry. Believe it or not the Lord saw fit for my schedule to be just perfect to still balance my life. Its just I make it harder then what it could be. I say all that to say. We definitely need balance in our lives. And it will be nothing but chaos without putting God first and communion with him. I was just talking to a co worker about this. Thank you for confirmation Lord!!!

  24. May God bless your heart real good. Infact,it was just recently that I got the revelation that for me to attain greatness then my communion with the Lord must be uncluttered. I am longing for the moment I am going to have this type because considering a working mum in Lagos,Nigeria; I tell you it is seriously terrific but I don’t have an alternative than to abide in Him. Thanks a lot for the devotions. I have been tremendously blessed.

  25. Wow! How relevant was today’s devotion. This is something I have struglled with for so long… my friends have even gone so far as to name me the “double-booking queen”. This is may prayer, that God may give me direction, wisdom and strength that will get me to where he wants me to be – blissfully at His feet. pray with me that this will be true in my life.

    Thank you ladies!

  26. Thank you Gwen. You are a woman after God’s own heart. I am very grateful for your faithfulness to minister to this little heart of mine. I didn’t know you could sing like an angel too. I am praying for God to continue to keep His hand on you and your ministry. Merry Christmas sweet sister. Hugs!

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