Saying no is an art.
An art that I have come no where near mastering.
Last Friday, when I got off work, my boss called and mentioned that they might call me in early on Tuesday. At that point, I had all weekend to decide if I wanted to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that request.
Come Tuesday morning, I get the call.
Boss: “Yes, I was wondering if you could come in early to fill a shift.”
Me: “I’m sorry but I will not be able to do that today.
BOOM. I said NO. I didn’t even offer any excuses like “I have bread in the oven, or I’m busy with some other things.” Just N.O.
I did a happy dance after I hung up. N.O. I said NO!
Then the guilt sets in.
I feel an intense shame or guilt when I say “no” to someone.
It’s like I’ve let the whole world down.
There is pressure in my life. Both from outside and from internal pressure.
“You are young and without children and full of so much energy! C’mon…just say yes!”
“You only work a part time job…what are you doing for the Lord with the rest of your time?”
“You know you will look back after you have kids and wonder why you didn’t do more with that time.”
“You know this could be beneficial to you in your life right now.”
I work between 20-35 hours a week, and I don’t have any kids. But my lack of saying “no” has now led me to be a Sunday school teacher (every Sunday, co-teaching with another teacher), work in the nursery at church, take any extra shifts at work on a weekly basis, host Pampered Chef shows, attend 9 hour conferences on my free Saturdays, babysit a friends baby on a weekly basis (for free), on top of managing my household and training for the upcoming marathon.
Can I just get a break?
From others- the constant hounding of when I will start to reproduce. The constant asking and joking- sometimes it is funny, and I play along. But sometimes it makes me feel like my ultimate good will only be found in having children. Like remaining childless for a time means that I am wasting my life, and my time. And because it makes me feel like I can’t say no to the demands. Also, the question of “what do you do all day?” both in regards to work and my time outside of work. (And to answer that question, see above or talk to a teacher). Then there is the- “you would be perfect for this task because you have time right now in your life!”
And from myself- the need to satisfy everyone else’s needs with my ‘yes’. Masked in a servants heart, it is really just a desire to please everyone, and ultimately myself. But true satisfaction is found only in the contentment of Christ. Only when I say ‘yes’ to Him will be a able to discern when my ‘yes’ should be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ should be ‘no’. Only then will I truly be able to say ‘yes’ out of service to Him, and not service to myself. Only then will I be able to say ‘no’ and not feel guilt- from outside sources or from myself.
Only then will I truly master the art of saying no.
And along with it, the beautiful art of saying yes.
P.S. I do believe that I have WAY more time on my hands than any mother in this entire world. I am not saying that my life is hard, for it is actually wonderful and right now is certainly a time for resting in general (working part time, not having kids, being young and energetic/in shape). However, I want to stop applying pressure from myself and others that a time of rest in my life is not o.k. It is OK, but we as Americans especially need to learn this. Just thought I would try to clarify on that =)
And while I don’t feel agree with the ‘happiness’ premise of this quote, it’s pretty close to what I am trying to say: