“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)
I stood at the dirt mound watching ants. They were busy. I was not.
I was just a little girl stuck in the middle of a slow afternoon. Several of my friends had been invited to the community pool. Another friend was at camp for the week. Even my last resort, the pigtailed aggravation that lived in the apartment below, was busy. “She’s napping,” her mom had informed me.
I walked away thinking, She’s 6 years old. Only two years younger than me, and she still takes naps? That’s the awfullest thing a mom could do to her child. And this is the awfullest afternoon ever.
I sat on the swing of the playground behind our apartment complex. I scuffed the toes of my red sneakers, making lines in the dirt as I moved slowly back and forth. If a child could have died from boredom, I felt quite terminal at that moment.
Then I spotted the anthill.
I walked over and stood there. Just about the time I was thinking about how lucky all those ants were to have so many friends, I heard a scratchy little voice call out to me.
“I bet you won’t stick your foot through that anthill.” Pigtail girl had woken up from her afternoon slumber. And for heaven’s sake I would not, could not, be shamed by a girl who still took naps.
I knew in my mind I shouldn’t kick the anthill. I knew in my heart I shouldn’t kick the anthill. And I knew deep down in my soul I shouldn’t kick the anthill. Every part of me knew I should walk away from the anthill.
But some silly part of my mouth betrayed me.
“Yes I will!” I declared as I kicked my foot into the middle of ant Hades.
It didn’t take long to feel as if someone had lit 1,000 needles on fire and stabbed me mercilessly.
Since that day, I haven’t kicked an anthill. At least not in the literal sense.
But I have gotten myself into situations where I invited trouble into my life that just didn’t need to be there. Especially in the area of saying yes to something I absolutely should say no to.
I will know in my mind I should say no. I will know in my heart I should say no. I will know deep down in my soul I should say no.
But then my mouth will betray me, “Yes, of course I will do that.”
The sting of the three D’s comes …
Dread — As I write yet another thing on my schedule, I feel the weight of overload.
Disappointment — In order to make this happen, I will disappoint someone.
Drama — Dread and disappointment will ratchet my emotions to a tipping point. A tipping point that’s not healthy for me or those with whom I do life.
Here’s what I’m trying to preach to myself: Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it.
I kicked the anthill that day for three reasons … I thought it proved I was something. I thought it would impress nap girl. And I didn’t think through the cost beforehand.
Proverbs 14:8a says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways …” As a little girl on the playground, I was neither wise nor prudent. Thankfully I know now that God’s wisdom is readily available.
I’ve learned if I pause before making an impulsive choice and ask God what to do, He will answer. In fact, He’s given me some questions to ask myself that help me determine whether something is an assignment from Him or an anthill that will get me into trouble.
Before saying yes to one more thing on my schedule, I ask myself:
Am I trying to prove something?
Am I trying to impress someone?
Have I thought through the cost of saying yes?
It’s not bad to say yes to opportunities. But we really should give thought to our ways and consider whether this is an assignment or an anthill.
Take the assignment if it’s yours. But don’t kick the anthills.
Dear Lord, I’m asking for Your guidance as I discern assignments from anthills. Thank You for Your direction. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m surprised by how far I’ve come.
Two years of healing. Two years of focusing on my own health. Two years of learning how to sit in the quiet with myself and be OK. Two years of believing God for good even when things felt not good at all. Two years of going home to an empty house and counting the...
When my son was about four a little blonde hair vixen dared him to pick up a bee. He picked it up and got stung. He cried all the way home- but she told me to! I tried to make it a life lesson, to think before we act, but his heart was broken in that he trusted her. He had plans to marry her!
The painful decisions we make all in the name of love💔
Hang in there Lysa. God is with you every step of the way. He sees what your going through. It takes time, but things will get better. Your a strong person that has strong faith. Best of luck to you. Keep your head up and stay positive and strong.
I wanted to take a minute to thank you. I wanted you to know how the Spirit has worked through you for the betterment of millions of women. For their eternal lives!! I am sure you have heard it many times.
I am a 55 year old single mother of an adult son who wants to take his own life. The most precious life that was given to him by God and by me. I cannot force him to get help, and in the meantime all of his misery and anger comes out on me. My life has been shattered!! This has not been a short season, but 7 long years of the enemy eating away at the fabric of my soul. At my life. Everyday is hard. I have to fight for survival. As if it is not hard enough trying to work to pay bills, to keep a roof over our heads, I have the deepest sadness that I feel will never go away. I have forgotten how to live. Forgotten who I am. Your ministry has brought me back to my First Love, Jesus Christ. Because you cared enough to share your life with others, to give your all for Jesus, you have truly given me HOPE. I am able to live with some sort of Victory. I am on the First 5 app now. I am in my Bible constantly searching and waiting on the Lord. Praying and listening for Him. I know He is the only one who can satisfy. God is the only one who can change this. I am praying to give back for Him, just as soon as I can figure out how to live again. Well, this is long enough now. Praising God today for your writing and for me getting through another day. Much Love in Jesus!! From your sister, Christine❣️🌱
This is right along with what God is teaching me right now. Thank you for sharing.
Your book Uninvited has helped this old woman. Besides the Bible the only other book that has encouraged me this much was ABBA Father by Walter Manning.
I am an extreme extrovert left speechless over your book “It was not supposed to be this way”. I am reading it right now and every chapter hits a target deeper in my soul … and it’s transforming me. It’s annointed. Thank you for writing it and thank you to my friend for seeing below the surface to my needy soul and gifting me it.
I LOVE your devotion “Unplugged Challenge”
I can so relate to it! I read and drink in every word you have written. And it uplifts my spirit!
Thank you for sharing.
So once you’ve said YES when you should have said NO, how do you back out?