We ‘ve all heard it before, you need to just say no! Our spouses tell us we’re doing too much and we need to slow down. The Dr. tells us to slow down. Our exhausted bodies tell us to say no and slow down. Even Nancy Reagan told us to “Just say no!” in the 1980’s. How can we? There is so much that needs to get done.
Why is it so hard to say no?
- For one thing, our self-worth becomes tied up in how busy we are. It makes us feel good that someone thinks enough of us to ask us to do something.
- We are kind and generous and we want to help.
- We feel we “should” do something.
- We know how to do that or that is something we can do.
- We enjoy that activity.
- If I don’t do it, who will.
These are all reason for doing something, but they are not good reasons.
I for one have struggled with saying no in the past. To be honest, I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like to disappoint people. Therefore, I don’t like to say no. And it has gotten me in trouble. Big trouble!
I love to teach. It is one of the gifts God has given me. And until very recently I have almost always said yes when asked to teach something or when I realized there was a need. You see, I was the Director of a homeschool co-op for seven years and I had all these great ideas for classes, but I didn’t always have a teacher to teach the class. Or someone didn’t fulfill their commitment to the class they were teaching and I took the class. I knew how to teach. There was a need. I enjoyed the activity. But there was one problem with my logic. I did not have the time to do a good job teaching the class. My other responsibilities to the co-op suffered. My family got short changed. My students got shortchanged. And before I resigned, I even compromised my health.
But you know what, I no longer say yes to everything. I stop and pause. I never answer spontaneously. I always stop and pray. At times it is difficult and my enthusiasm for a project begins to kick in. When that happens, I always pause. Sometimes I decide to work on the project and sometimes I don’t. SHOULD NO LONGER CONTROL S MY LIFE.
And I am better off. I have margin in my life. I no longer feel stress throughout my body nor do I have neck and shoulder pain. I am sleeping better and now have the time and energy to do the things I enjoy. I have time to parent my children from afar (and yes parenting never stops no matter how old our children become or how far away they are). I have time for my husband and am doing a better job of taking care of both of us.
And most importantly I am now allowing the person who is suppose to do teach that class or work on that project the blessing that God wants them to receive and I am now doing what God wants me to do and not what I think I “should” do.
So be brave and say no to the shoulds and yes to the important things. And remember what’s important to me is probably not important to you.