When “no” is best…

I don’t know anyone that likes to be told “no.” Doesn’t matter if they are two and want a cookie instead of a nap, or forty-five and desiring a book deal. Hearing no as the answer hurts sometimes.  It’s also practically impossible for some of us to say!  I have the hardest time telling people no to almost any request. It’s challenging to find the right balance. Sometimes I just know deep down that I have to say no but I can’t explain it to people, and sometimes it makes no sense to anyone else. So for a very long time I was a “yes girl.

“Vicki, we need someone to bake muffins for visitation.

Sure, I can do that. “

Nevermind that the kiddos need my attention in the afternoons when I’m baking,

and I’m working from home full-time.

“Vicki, we need a meal for someone who just had a baby.

Sure, I can do that.”

Nevermind that I won’t be home all week because the kids have practices

and I’m teaching in between.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I have struggled with saying no to extra responsibilities for YEARS.  I like being a yes girl and I like being patted on the back or thanked for being so helpful. Pitiful.  Drive myself into the ground and become #1 grump to my own family, just for this.

Over the last few years, the Lord has been working in my own heart to learn to be honest in my abilities and capabilities instead of just relying on my default yes.  See I know the Bible teaches the principle of “counting the cost.”  Check out these passages – Luke 14:28-30, Ecc. 2:11, and Prov. 11:1.

Sometimes it’s not the monetary cost, it may be time, or having to say no to other things later, because you committed to this. Sometimes it’s rest, time in the Bible, you name it – the cost of saying YES is high and before we say it we should consider if we are willing to make that commitment for ourselves and sometimes for our families also!

Recently, I reflected on this year and thanked the Lord for the work He had been doing in me to start learning to say No.  Now, by no means have I perfected this … I still struggle, but I’m working on it.  I’m working on being honest with people about my limitations, because honestly that’s something I don’t want anyone to think I have. Now that’s just sinful pride right? we all have limitations, why do I feel that I should hide that? No idea my friends, but it’s almost hardwired into me. So I’m a work in progress.

But this work in progress said no earlier this year. About six months ago I said no to a wonderful opportunity and something that took me a couple of days to respond back to because I was trying to justify, work out an angle, anything to be able to say yes and feel right about it. But the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me. I knew deep down in my core I shouldn’t accept the offer, and eventually told them no.

I was disappointed because it would have been wonderful. Something that would have been work, but would have been enjoyable and I would have loved it.

What I didn’t know is what God knew.  In His omniscience, He knew that in June I would be working on a new book that I hadn’t even proposed yet.  He knew that I would be on a short deadline, and I would have either had to say no to the book deal, or I would have been a literal crazy person trying to accomplish both BIG things not to mention doing life with my family.

I’m so grateful that I listened this time and trusted there was a reason I needed to say No. I really cannot imagine if I had said yes.  There would be regret. There would be a huge emotional toll. The cost would have been far greater than I thought at that time. God in His provision spared me the pain. My friend Dawn Owens recently released a new book Like Me or Not dealing with an approval addiction.  She drills down into how this looks and manifests itself, and then shows how wrong it is by using Scripture to reveal the dangers in this behavior.  The thing is she does it in a very real way.  She lays out her life, her experiences, and her pain in the process of detailing how this has affected her life.  If you struggle with your no’s, you will benefit from reading her story and her challenges to let God deal with your heart.  You can purchase it at a variety of book stores or click the link to get it on Amazon.

Do you struggle with saying No? Do you like to be a yes girl like me, always volunteering and saying yes, even when you know deep down you should say no?  There’s tremendous freedom in learning to trust the Lord and lean on His wisdom.

I pray that you are encouraged today to take responsibility for the “yes” and “no” answers you face today.

 

 

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You Didn’t Plant That?

Life lessons abound in a variety of places.  I’ve spent some time over the last couple years looking at trends and writing about life lessons. Many of our experiences in this life lead to lessons learned and practical applications for the future. What seems to be a simple day, game, or training becomes an opportunity to learn something deeper that helps us to grow as individuals.
I recently had such an experience as it relates to my home garden.  Each year I tend to plant a little something in the spring, usually a combination of flowers, vegetables and greenery.  Some years I plant more than others, and sometimes the garden is planted directly in the ground and sometimes in pots on the deck.  I’ve decided I prefer using pots on the deck…so much easier to control weeds really.

This year was different though.  I had a very busy spring and as much as I enjoy planting and playing in the dirt, I ended up with no time to plant.  So strangely after returning from a recent conference, I went outside to discover some things growing in my pots.

 

Read the rest of the post one at my weekly spot with w2wministries.org – just click here to go directly to the post.

Raising Them to Leave

When they are small it’s hard to imagine our children growing up and leaving us one day in the future.  They are tiny and need us virtually every waking moment, and sometimes they wake us up too.

I’ll never forget, or recover from, the middle of the night heart attacks when one of my children, a very light walker could make it all the way in our room and be leaning over my face to whisper my name.  There is nothing quite like the heart failure of being woken up like that.  Or the time another of my children decided to sleep walk right out of a hotel room in the middle of the night.  #truestory  Crazy memories of trying to operate in a sleep deprived fog and just put one foot in front of the other only get funny after some time has passed.  Add teething, stomach bugs, and wet beds to the mix and really once you have a child you shouldn’t plan on a full night’s sleep until they are at least 10, maybe 20.

Of course I am exaggerating, sort of, and that’s why it’s hard to imagine that one day these challenging days will end.  One day, inevitably, they grow up and they launch out into the world to find and become the adults they were created to be.  While we are busy in those daily tasks of just keeping them alive, or keeping a sharpie marker out of their hands, it’s easy to forget we are raising future adults.  We want them to have certain character qualities as adults, but how many times do we think about the need to teach them responsibility when we are desperate to get the laundry from the washer to the dryer after one cycle instead of restarting it for the third time.

I’ve been in your shoes, and some days still find myself there – days that seem entirely too long and too busy.  If I’m not careful, a week goes by or a month and I wonder what have I done to help build character in my children.

Interested in reading the rest of this post?  Keep reading over on the w2wministries.org site – just click here!