So this is nothing new. None of these thoughts are original, nor are they profound. But they are important. I need to learn to say NO. Now, I always say this, but it's usually at the wrong time, like when I feel like I'm being buried under more and more stuff to do and I feel like I can't come up for air. That's the moment I realize I should have said no, when realizing it before would have been much more helpful.
But maybe I'm going about this the wrong way. Maybe it's not as much about learning to say no as it is about waiting before I say yes. Because, if I stop and think about it, the things that are pushing me over the edge are the things I was quickest to say yes to, and the things I gave the least consideration. I think I've stumbled onto something that will prove incredibly helpful... What if, before I give an answer for how I will spend my time and energy, I asked myself this one question: Why say yes?
If I'm honest, my answers to that question for my "quick yeses" aren't too great:
-It will make me look so... competent, valuable, reliable, needed, self-sacrificing, indispensable, impressive, you name it.
-They won't like me if I say no.
-If I were half the woman [insert name here] is, I would be able to handle it.
-If I don't do it, it won't be done well enough. (I am gagging on the pride in that statement!)
-I'm already so far in over my head, what's one more thing?
-This opportunity won't come around again. I can't miss it!
-I feel so obligated/guilty.
I could go on, but I'm already making myself sick. The root of my quick yeses is insecurity and pride. I can't sugar coat it or pretend any differently.
Now, my answers to that question for my "slow yeses" are fewer, but so much better:
-This is a use of my gifts and it is mutually beneficial to us all (i.e. It feeds my soul too.)
-I actually do have space for that. (Not sure I ever give that answer)
-I truly feel Called to this and that is worth the sacrifice.
-This has long term benefits and is worth the sacrifice.
-This falls under my responsibility as a good steward of my time, energy, and other resources.
There are more but I think I'm seeing the pattern. With every slow and healthy yes, I make myself aware that it is a sacrifice of time and energy and I make sure it's worth it. And here's the other reason "Why say yes?" is such an important question - because, when I feel in over my head, I can ask myself again and be reminded that I deemed it a worthy sacrifice. And if it is a worthy sacrifice, I can't really complain. I can feel stretched. I can cry out for extra grace, but I can't really complain. And if I'm doing something that's not a worthy sacrifice, I can repent of pride and still cry out for grace.