I love my dear friend, Autocorrect.
Oh, the countless spelling errors Autocorrect saves us from when we haven’t had enough coffee yet and words are hard. Actually, it still comes to the rescue when we’ve had plenty of coffee and still don’t know how to put letters into words.
Autocorrect always knows whether the “i” goes before or after the “e” without hesitation. Without even using the “I before E except after C” rule!
Autocorrect even picks up our slack when we’re too lazy to capitalize our words or use apostrophes. Sure, Autocorrect isn’t the most helpful when it can’t even pick up on what we’re trying to spell, but that one is really on us for being that bad at spelling!
But the problem is Autocorrect isn’t always correct. The real issue comes in when it keeps trying to change what we truly want to say to something else entirely.
I have struggled with my own internal autocorrect. At times, I wanted to say no, but I would autocorrect to “yes.” Over time, I started to see a negative impact on my mental and physical health from continually autocorrecting to “yes.”
Saying yes to invitations or requests certainly isn’t bad, but sometimes, I was saying it for the wrong reason or with the wrong heart and wound up spreading myself too thin. I was saying yes because I feared disappointing someone or leaving them in a bind. I was saying yes because I felt like my reason to say no wasn’t adequate. I was saying yes strictly to please others.
It got to the point where it almost hurt to say no, even if I knew the reason was valid.
Then one day, with my schedule chalked full and my energy tank approaching empty, I heard something that contradicted my internal autocorrect.
“No is just as valuable of an answer as yes.”
It was like a slap across the face.
I had been told countless times before that it was okay to say no but could never fully accept it because it still seemed like a lesser answer. I was convinced that saying no would mean letting someone down.
I was more concerned about pleasing others than anything else. More than my own health. And more than my limits and boundaries.
Looking back, I think it all ultimately stemmed from my pride. I wanted affirmation and needed acceptance from those around me.
But, as the apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
I had lost sight of who I was truly serving. I had lost sight of the absolute affirmation and perfect acceptance I have in Christ. I needed to shift my driving focus from pleasing people to pleasing God.
So, I finally decided to turn off my internal autocorrect and learn how to rightly and honestly respond with yes and no. I learned how to stop saying yes for people and start saying yes for God.
For example, a few months ago, someone asked me if I could disciple them through the summer. First, I prayed about it. I looked at my schedule. And then, I said yes. Not to please this person, but to serve and please the Lord.
Then a couple weeks later, I was asked to speak at one of the college gatherings. I did a heart check, prayed about it, and said yes. Again, not to please man, but to hopefully bring more honor and glory to God.
Amongst these opportunities, I also felt the freedom to say no. I’ve learned to believe that no is a valuable answer, but also not a crutch to lean on just because my comfort zone is challenged.
When asked if I could make a dessert for the student navigators going to camp, I politely declined because I recognized my limits and knew that would be one too many things on my plate that week.
Recently, a friend asked me if I wanted to have a girl’s night, and I technically could, but already didn’t have much time with my husband that week because of our busy schedules. So instead, I asked if we could do it the next week.
These may seem like simple examples, but it’s simple moments and choices like these that reveal our hearts, and I want my words and my heart to always be set to please God.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14
I still have to keep myself in check and make sure my pride hasn’t turned my internal autocorrect back on, but with the help of the Spirit, my responses to things are more and more devoted to pleasing God, not people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still thankful for my dear friend, Autocorrect. But I think I’ll keep it on my phone and not in my head.