How I’ve been making the word NO work for me.
Over the last year I have been making more of an effort to say No. I used to be way too much of a yes person. I thought that I was doing the right thing by always saying yes, always fitting things in and figuring out a way to make things work. Even wearing my busyness like a badge which shined to tell everyone how valuable I am. “Can you fill in at the last minute because someone didn’t show up?” “Why Yes, of course I would love to- just let me shuffle around some child care, but I’m your girl!” I used to live on the mission field- there was no such thing as saying no, and to what end? I’m sure now, God wouldn’t have loved me less if I wasn’t working from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep, but then the guilt was strong. Everyone was expected to give all they had all day every day, and I know now that is a recipe for burn out.
I actually thought that my love language was acts of service because somewhere inside I thought I needed to show God how much I loved him by always saying yes, by always doing all the things, always doing all the good things. Just because something is good does not mean that it is meant for me to do. An excellent counselor once said, “In all the things that you are doing in your life, there is only about 5% that only you can do. Make sure you are doing that 5% the very best you can because you are the only one that can do it. As hard as it is to realize, there is always someone else who can pick up that other 95%.” What? Someone else could be doing the 95% of crazy stuff I felt needed to be on my plate? How refreshing! Although easier said than done- it has certainly taken time for me to start to let go and realize that I was never meant to hold the whole world together… even if my subconscious thought so!
In learning to say no, I have learned that I give way more power to my yes. It has really helped me to focus on what my unique 5% is. It also made way for five things to be born. What are the five things that I want to be intentional about in my life and to which I want to say a resounding YES? What is it that I want use my life for, to be known for and remembered by?
Here are my five things:
Always putting my family first and giving them my best
Connecting kids’ hearts to Jesus
Leaving a legacy of Health – body, spirit, and soul
Having everyone I encounter feel heard, loved, and connected in some fresh way.
If I am doing something that is not connected to or giving life to one of these five things I can give myself permission to cut it out of my life and feel no guilt. Of course, from time to time I will probably stretch to fit things under one or more of these categories, but on the whole I believe that this list- instead of being restricting – will actually be quite freeing.
In today’s society, the message is that we have to do it all and have it all, and I want to break that off. We were never meant to do all the things, have all the things, or be all the things. I am hoping to build a community of people who need to refocus, take a hard look at what really makes their hearts happy, and let go of that other 95% so that they can breathe and enjoy doing what they were created for!
Believe me, I do not have it all together, but I’d love to come along side you and cheer you on and use this blog as a source of mutual accountability. So please get yourself to a quiet space and think of all the things that make your heart happy and write them down! Think of all the things in your life that you are doing because you feel like you have to, but are not life giving. Let’s work together to cut them out. I know it will take time. There is grace in this space for you.
Feel free to share your five things, or keep them to yourself. Check back here to see how I’m working through mine and get some encouragement as you walk forward toward yours!