Just say no. We all know the phrase. We say it often. But we don’t live it. We can’t. If we did, wouldn’t we be bored, alone, ignored, worthless, useless?
That’s dramatic, you may be thinking. And I would agree with you. But seriously, then…why don’t we just say no?
I was watching a webinar (that is literally the dorkiest word I have ever heard), and the speaker challenged us to write down a list of our priorities. So here are mine:
- My relationship with Jesus.
- My relationship with my children (notice I said “relationship” and not “being a mom to”…there’s a difference to me).
- My relationship with my husband.
- My relationship with myself (rest, exercise, Sabbath, writing, etc.).
- My relationships with my extended family and closest friends.
- My Church.
Then, she encouraged us to jot down our obligations. So, here we go again (these aren’t necessarily in order):
- Serving my husband.
- Taking care of my children.
- Managing our home (cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry).
- Leading the church with Bryant.
The speaker told us that if our obligations are not lining up with our priorities, something is off and we are saying yes to all the wrong things/people.
Now, you will notice two things are missing in my “Obligations” list.
- My relationship with the Lord.
- My relationships with close friends and family.
Yikes. So, relationally, I am off. Notice, I am not talking about surface-level relationships (a blog on friendships is sure to come). But those deep, gut-level relationships that sharpen me and keep me on track. Those people who know my insides, the insides I don’t really want everyone seeing. Additionally, I am majorly off in my relationship with Jesus. Seems like everything else and everyone else is vying for my attention. That’s why so often I feel torn in 50 million directions and on the borderline of an anxiety attack. He’s not my first priority. So how in the world will my other priorities line up and my obligations fit appropriately? When He’s not invited into my everyday life, I am going to face situations that I can’t and won’t be able to handle. I am going to bite off more than I can chew because He is not going to be the One I am seeking to please. Everyone else is. And that’s a form of bondage I just can’t afford right now.
So, I have to rearrange my life and make sure He doesn’t just fit, He’s it. He’s the One I am living for … seeking to please.…
How do I do that practically? Well, what specifically has HE called me to RIGHT now?
- Following Jesus
- Being a wife
- Being a mom
- Loving others
So, I do them all for Him. I take care of myself so I can follow Jesus. I serve Bryant for Jesus. I love my kids for Jesus. I minister to others for Jesus. And when someone asks me to do something that will compete with one of those three major callings, I say no.
Now here’s the hard part: I need to learn to say no without feeling like I have to explain myself. Ouch. I like to talk. I like to explain. I like to make sure everyone likes me. So this is a hard thing for me to learn. But I have to. Otherwise, I will exhaust myself and I will inevitably and unintentionally communicate to someone else that they just aren’t as valuable to me as what I am doing instead (adapted from the webinar — ha). It’s tough. But, if I am finding my identity in Jesus Christ, I won’t be basing my self-esteem on what others think of me and whether I am meeting everyone else’s expectations. I will only be concerned with what Jesus Christ thinks…and last time I checked, He thinks I’m pretty awesome.