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Busy vs Success

“The key to success is not saying “no” to it all but to say “yes” only with thoughtfulness and intentionality.”


What do you think when you see the busy mom at Target multi-tasking three kids in tow? What do you feel when you see a Doctor rushing through office to answer a page? Do you look at them and think their time must be so valuable? What do you imagine that focused business man in First Class is typing about?


Do you think to yourself they are so busy and important and successful? I know I do and often need the reminder that busyness rarely equals success.

Ephesians 5:15-17  in the message The Message says:

” Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.”

After 4 years of motherhood, over a decade in business and three decades following Christ I need reminders of the following truths:

First, Say Yes Slowly. Emotional reactions are inevitable as humans, especially when we are spread thin. We are double booked, running late and over worked. The key to success is not saying “no” to it all but to say “yes” only with thoughtfulness and intentionality. It’s more than Ok to say “can I get back to you on that?” or “When do you need to know by”. What a gift it is to you and the person you are speaking to when you intentionally and proactively agree/ commit to something.

Second, Make Larger Margins. Think of a beautiful picture surrounded by a frame. A chunky one with sculpted edges. How the beauty of the picture is enhanced and focused because of the sturdiness and girth of the frame. The moments of your life are the picture and your margins are the frame. Leave more time for error, spontaneity and unexpected joy. God wants your eyes to be open and ready when he reveals Himself to you in unexpected ways.

Lastly, Rest. Even the Lord Almighty took the 7th day to rest and celebrate his good works. Imagine if our weeks looked like 6 exceptional days of good work and 1 day to rest, celebrate and plan vs “taking it day by day”. Rest can mean sleep, nourishment or fun.

I vividly remember my daughter dragging her feet after ballet class as we rushed to the car one Saturday morning as we were running late to yet another birthday party. I almost missed the graceful and effortless pirouette she did with a huge smile on her face. I would throw out any agenda or to -do list to watch her in that moment. Now that was a truly successful morning!


What will you say Yes to today? What margin, joy or success does God have in store for you?

-Nancy Ellis

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