Learning to say “No”

NoSome days are busier than others. One day in particular comes to mind. It began at 4:30 a.m. with a trip to the gym with my husband. We came home. I fixed breakfast and sent him off to work. The next two hours were spent in my office writing.  I tore myself away to get started on the day’s lessons. I helped my youngest son with his reading, math, writing, Bible, science and history. I instructed the older children in their language program and history and oversaw their math and other work.  We rushed to finish our lessons because we had a full afternoon of errands. I needed to run by my husband’s office, Walmart, Autozone, Post Office, Library, deliver a gift to a friend, and get my hair cut at the salon.  But I could not linger in town, because I needed to get back home for a scheduled Skype meeting. After my meeting, my daughter asked me to sit down with her to help her make some jewelry. The dog needed a haircut. We had planned a church fellowship at our home the following evening, so I still needed to work on food, games and clean the house. All of this was before dinner.

As a wife and homeschool mother, more often than not, I will have days like this. It was certainly productive, but the day had me spent.  I have learned that a schedule like this for very long leaves me overwhelmed. When that happens my children do not get to experience my best side, my energy gets used up, and there is nothing left for my husband at the end of the day.

In contrast, I have had days that were the direct opposite to this one. These are the more unproductive days where I don’t fit a lot into (with maybe the exception of an afternoon nap). Obviously, extremes are dangerous; so I am striving to learn how to live a life of balance. I want my life to be filled with activity, for laziness is a sin. But, I do not want to be so B.U.S.Y. that I am Bound Under Satan’s Yoke. I want to teach my children to be diligent with strong work ethics. But, I also want them to learn how to be still and quiet at times. I want our family to be servants. I want us to give of ourselves to our church, friends, family, and neighbors. But, I also want it to be with the proper perspective and attitude.

There must be a balance. My problem is that I swing far to the side of always saying “Yes” when many times I should be saying “No”. When I try to do too much I end up doing all of it in a mediocre fashion and none of it with excellence. Priorities must be not only set, but kept. I thank the Lord that I have a husband who encourages me in this area. He often reminds me that outside of my relationship with the Lord, my number one priority is the home. Of course, a lot of responsibilities fall under this category including being my husband’s suitable helper, teaching and training the children, and overseeing all the affairs of the household. Everything else comes in second including our church, my writing, marketing, hobbies and recreation.

The other day I was enjoying an extended lunch with a dear friend. This subject was one that we kept going back to. As women we often know that we need to say “No”, but for some reason we find it difficult. Some women need that sense of busyness to validate their position. This can be especially true for stay-at-home moms. Some do not want to disappoint others. Some simply like all the frantic activity.  And, some have never been told that saying “No” was not only perfectly acceptable but good for them and their families. We laughed and visited over eggs rolls and spicy chicken and two hours later decided it was time to get back to the reality of life. We hugged and as we headed to our cars I called out, “Don’t forget, a “No” a day keeps the stress away!”

What does your day look like? Is it stress free? Our Lord has the answer. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.

2 thoughts on “Learning to say “No”

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