Your Plate is FULL. Please Tell Them No.


This past weekend my cousin came by to visit and we chatted about careers, love, church and life.  Lately, I’ve been reflecting on everything that I’m involved in and looking at revising my schedule to make time for things are a priority in my life.

I remember attending this workshop many many moons ago where the presenter asked us “how full is your plate?”  We actually had a paper plate and had to write everything we were involved in on that plate.  I remember looking at my plate and it was FULL.  Back then, I didn’t know what to prioritize because I felt all of those things at that time were important.  Someone needed me to do this because no one else could do.  Someone asked me to help with that because I had the experience.  But I didn’t think about the time, effort, and responsibility of having multiple tasks while trying to live life.

Do you remember the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus came to visit.  Martha was so distracted with cleaning, serving, and household duties that she failed to see that none of those things were important as a visit from Jesus.  Sometimes our life is so busy, we can’t see some important things that God has in store for us.  Sometimes our life is so busy we even neglect the One who is most important to us.

Saying no has always been a difficult thing for me. And while saying no is difficult, it is hard for me to relinquish tasks that are taking up space on my “plate”.  Think about when you are eating.  You get full but you go back for seconds or instead of saving what’s left on your plate, you keep eating.  Now you’ve overindulged, which in turn may cause heartburn later in the evening; a tummy ache; laziness; extra pounds.  It’s not a good feeling.  It’s the same when we take on too many task.  You now look at your calendar, your plate, and realize that you’ve got to get rid of some thing.  That’s the place I’m at now.  I’ve prayed and asked God for discernment in this area and the answer came through one of my devotions.

If you are at a place of overcommitment, stress and exhaustion, girlfriend your plate is now full.  Back away from the table and say no.  It’s not that easy, Tamika.  I know.  Like me you probably have tasks that you already started, commitments you’ve already promised to complete, positions you’ve filled, teams to lead, etc., etc., etc. Here is what I want you to do right now (if you can’t right now, do this today):

  1. List everything you’re involved in, I mean everything.
  2. Make a three column chart: Priority, Can Do Later (within 5 months), Get Rid Of.
  3. Look at your list and start categorizing the items on your list.

I challenge you to be honest with yourself when categorizing.  I had to do this.  There are some tasks that I found were taking up way too much of my time.  I found myself involved in groups, where only a few people were passionate about the cause.  I had to walk away.  I found myself meeting with people who were not ready to move forward with projects and expecting me to take the lead for everything. I had to say this is not for me. I had to say no to helping with a future fundraiser for an organization.  It’s not that these tasks are not important; it’s just not the right time for me.

I asked myself why do I feel the need to be so busy in life?  There is a book that is written on this very topic by Lysa Turkeurst titled The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in The Midst of Endless Demands.  I obviously need to reread this one but I’m making the first step by clearing my plate.  I’ve already scheduled a meeting to shift some responsibilities off my plate to other capable people.  Wink. Wink.

Sometimes people get busy for the need to feel important.  Wow, someone needed me to do this task.  Sometimes people get busy because they are afraid of saying no.  The person may not like me anymore or may be disappointed if I say no.  Sometimes people get busy because they need the feeling of belonging.  Doing this task will keep me included in a circle where I’ve made so many new friends and acquaintances.  Whatever the reason (and there are many more), WE have to prioritize our life daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

Learning to say no is something we busy women need to do in order to survive in this ever-so-busy life we live.  Will you join me in stopping the madness of the full calendar? Will you join me in setting our priorities in order and giving out kind no’s to people going forward? Will you join me in freeing ourselves from the mounds of distractions that keep popping up in our lives? Let’s put our faith to test and seek God’s plan for our lives with our best YES!

I’m going to find my book The Best Yes to reread and next week, I’ll be posting some reflections to help you learn to say no and give your best yes!  I’m calling it My Best Yes Challenge, and I hope you’ll tune in each day next week.

How do you prioritize? How do you say no to things in life?  Ready to join me and commit to saying no?  Tell me how.  Comment, like & share.

Remember, it’s a faith journey!

Tamika W.

P.S.  You have to subscribe to receive The Best Yes book reflections.  Go ahead and hit the subscribe button on the right…yeah, the pink one right there that says follow blog via email 😉

4 thoughts on “Your Plate is FULL. Please Tell Them No.

  1. This message was for me girl! My pastor taught on Mary and Martha and priorities and distraction this past Sunday and I have been feeling….done. Overwhelmed, stressed, like I’m on a hamster wheel.

    This post was confirmation on what I need to do. I just need to figure out HOW, cuz like you said, everything “Feels” important.

    Thanks for the great post! I might have to pick up that book too.


    1. Honey me too…. on the wheel just spinning and not going anywhere 🤣I just started writing in sticky notes and categorizing them according what’s really important and asking God to show me the what and how.


    1. Awesome Elizabeth. It has helped me tremendously and I now get to spend some time on things that I use to rush. But it still a Journey because I still want to say “sure” but my heart is like “just say no”. A little tug of war going on. However, the list is a constant reminder for me 😉


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