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Published July 2023
By Helena Smrcek


Photo – Kevin Turcios / Unsplash

When walking with the Lord for several decades, one comes to a realization, that choosing between good and bad is no longer as difficult as it used to be. But what about choosing between good and another good. I often wonder if by choosing one good over the other, or ultimately filling my days with many such ‘goods’ I do miss out on the best.

My life is full. Living on a farm, taking care of animals and gardens, and now also a hay field, life never stops. Add in family and friends. Then writing and charity work and one wonders if there are enough hours in the day.

I have spoken with one of my good friends about my continual struggle to ‘catch up’ and the ultimate impact on my health. She shared an interesting concept with me.

Her Year-of-No was also triggered by health issues. As most women of our age, she too struggled to keep all the balls in the air. It is tremendously difficult to let go of any one of them, at least for me, as I reluctantly admitted. Frankly the thought scares me.

Accept she explained that she stopped because in all the rush she realized that it was simply too much. I often wonder if we, at times, may stop liking the person we become, when under constant pressure. And this leads me to the key question. “Why do we do all this. What is the reason of our unrestrained drive and need for busyness?”

I admit, the answers to these questions are often buried deep in our hearts and at times even reach into our past. It is not easy to face the hidden monsters of our childhood and accept the reality of our broken self.

Thankfully, as people of faith, we do not need to explore those dark corners alone. Jesus is here, ever ready to take us back to those unpleasant moments of pain and pull back the curtain – a little at the time. Is it the never-ending need for approval? Or perhaps our unfulfilled need for love? A missing father or mother figure in our lives. Hurting people who knew no better and in turned inflicted more pain on us?

Where is the healthy balance between being an active member of the Church, living out the Gospel daily, while helping others, using our God-given gifts and talents, and our own personal drive? I’m no expert, and yes, I too struggle daily to choose between the good and the best.

Giving things up was never easy for me. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is strong with this one. I do believe in baby steps – the only way I know how to sustain a gradual, yet lasting change. So, I have started to ask myself: “Why am I doing this?” It amazes me how many routine tasks we do on auto pilot and fail to understand the amount of time such mundane activities eat up.

Another question that is on my mind more often these days is: “What am I not doing?” While I rush around in attempts to conquer my never-ending to-do list, I’m forcing myself to stop and honestly ask, what am I missing.

I have heard a preacher say that God gives us enough hours in the day to do what He wants us to accomplish. And here lays the key to my problem. It is not what I need or want to do, but what God set before me for each new day.

So, l ask myself: “By rushing and juggling all the ‘musts’ in my life, am I actually disobedient? Am I missing the best God has for me by filling my days with tasks that make me feel important? Am I thus seeking approval from others instead of God?”

These are some very difficult questions. But the most challenging one is this: “Can I say ‘No? And if I do, what will happen next? Will people think less of me? Will I be left out? Miss out? Feel unaccomplished?”

And the ultimate question? The most difficult one of them all: “Is Jesus enough?” Of course, the answer has to be ‘yes’, but am I living out that ‘yes’ every day? In truth, I’m not ready for a ‘Year-of-No’. I don’t even know if I can do a single day of ‘Thank you, but No’. Yet, Jesus tells me to come to Him when I’m weary and burdened. He says He will give me rest, although that sounds like doing nothing for a while. And then He offers ‘His yoke’, which frankly scares me, as at this moment I’m unsure I can carry anything else. Yet, as I continue to read His Word, He tells me to learn from Him.

For He is gentle and humble in heart, and I will find rest for my soul. For His yoke is easy and His burned is light. And as I read this over and over again, I can’t help but wonder if the reason we feel weary is because we have picked up the wrong yoke.

Perhaps it is time to examine why did we do that in the first place, and why it is so difficult for many of us to lay it down. Prayer is a powerful thing. It is our direct connection to God, and as His children we need to remember that He is all mighty and powerful, yet will not pry anything out of our hands, for He respects our free will.

So, it is up to us. As we accepted Jesus on the day of our salvation, and invited Him into our hearts, we may need to do something similar today, and receive His offer of rest. We just may need to trade in those heavy burdens that we have picked up along our journey of life and accept His trade. For this too is a part of our salvation, our witness and testimony.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for Mississauga News. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita, and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, the USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audiobooks, working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in Southern Ontario with her husband, three Vizslas, several cats, a herd of goats, and an undisclosed number of chickens.

For more about Helena, click HERE