So many good things are crowding their way onto my calendar this Fall. You, too? Conferences, writing opportunities, church events, festivals, garden harvesting, meet-ups with friends, trips to see my kids……then there’s the reading and writing for the college course I’m taking.

There’s a crowd at my doorstep, and I have to decide who to invite inside. 

Of course, all of these are good and worthwhile things. And most of them will probably find a spot on my calendar. But which of them will take priority? Which will get my undivided attention?

Surveying a cluster of opportunities can be a bit like scanning the crowd at a social event. New and exciting connections could be made, and many are worth pursuing, but which of the options for connection will feed my soul and stay with me when the party’s over? Which offer the most valuable ROI — Return On Investment?

Discernment is an attribute I’ve pursued my whole life. Sometimes, I’ve nailed it and made wise decisions. But there have also been times when I let “bright and shiny” options crowd out what I knew in my gut to hold value and worth for my life.

I read an excellent book by Lysa TerKeurst a few years ago titled The Best Yes. That book, more than any other, helped me appreciate the importance of learning to say “No.” Or better yet, “No, thank you. Not now.” I’m not ruling out “bright and shiny” in the future. I’m just saying not now because there just isn’t room in my life and I can’t let good stuff crowd out the best.

My best yeses are Jesus, Family and Friends. I’m placing all the rest before the Lord and saying “You choose.”

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I’ve been writing for five quick minutes today on the one-word prompt “crowd” and linking up with other bloggers at Five Minute Friday. You can read more essays here.

I have to ask you now — what’s your “best yes”? What must you say “no” to so that you can leave room for the things that God has laid on your path in this season? One great principle I learned in reading The Best Yes is that your “no” could become someone else’s “yes”. Think about that. Because I relinquished the opportunity to do a thing that was offered to me, somebody else may get to take it on, and it may in fact become their best “yes”.

Writing this reminded me that taking a moment to soak up wisdom from those who have gone before me is a high priority in my life. So, I picked up my copy of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest and found words that had resonated so deeply with me on a past reading that I’d highlighted them. Perhaps they’ll speak to you today, too.

“The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle is only made plain by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern.”

If you’re visiting today from Five Minute Friday or from Facebook, I hope you’ll consider subscribing. Each week, I send out Slice of Life Notes, a little email from me that includes extra bits of this and that. You can drop your info into the slot at the bottom of this page. Next week’s email will include an essay I wrote titled A Passage Earned, along with a couple of book reviews.