If I asked you to define "personal boundaries" what would your response be? Let me ask it another way, "How do you know what to say 'yes' and 'no' to?" What guiding principles form the creed by which you govern the decisions of your goings on?
I've noticed several little interpersonal exchanges in Acts that have been good for me to detect. I especially am interested in the logic behind saying "NO" to invitations and opportunities that, in and of themselves, are fantastic.
In Acts 18 Paul was reasoning with the Jews and it says, "when they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, 'I will come back if it is God's will.' Then he set sail."
Bwahahahahaha! I think that's maybe one of the funniest leadership verses in the Bible! Let me unpack it just a little...
"when asked to spend more time with them, he declined."
My question is how you know when to decline offers like this? They are honestly wanting more time to ask him honest questions and soak in his teachings. This is very, very good. But something inside of him told him to say, "No". He had a grid of priorities to adhere to. They must have been internal, because it gives no indication that he provided a reason why. He just "declined".
The words that stands out to me are "spend more time". I feel like this pressure is constant and most of the time it's the voices in my head or as Seth Godin calls it "the lizard brain". The things that require us to 'spend more time' are not diminishing as time marches on. Everything is wanting our time and to be honest, every one of those things has a pretty good reason why. "just stay a little longer", "just take one more night", "just watch one more show", "just get involved in one more extracurricular activity", "just say yes one more time". And BAM. The boiling point.
Wouldn't it be fun to be asked to do something and just flat out say? Declined.
If we would ever seek to do something with our lives we must decide to not do some things. Some things always crowd out something.
The funniest part is his promise: "I will come back if it is God's will." That is the most hilarious promise I've every heard.
Try this out when someone asks you to do something. Promise them that you will if it's God's will, then SET SAIL! Now that's a promise that I don't mind making.
Essentially..."No, maybe later".
Declining an invitation is critical to maximum influence. Know when to say NO. And after you do, set sail.
Homework: Next time someone asks you to do something that you know you shouldn't, just say this:
"Request Denied." (and give them a 'talk to the hand' expression...while bracing yourself to get punched)