It'd be easy to whip up a high five for Friday and chatter inanely about the ice cream I tried last night or my new fall decorations (and I probably will sometime!) but sometimes it's nice to share the quiet, more contemplative moments. And ever since I pinned this quote a week or so ago, I haven't been able to get it off my mind.
This summer in Sunday school, a group of ladies (including me!) went through this book, which I could go on and on and on about (maybe I will someday!) but one of the chapters discussed giving your best and how in order to do that, we need to make sure our priorities are very clear. The author even goes so far as to suggest drawing boxes that represent the different areas of life and visibly stacking them to try to get an idea of where we are placing the most time and effort.
Nearly every book or article on stress or priorities or leadership or life will tell you that you have to learn to say no. After all, we're only human and can only do so much, right? But often we find ourselves feeling guilty about saying no, or feeling pressure not to say no, or just sincerely trying not to say no. But what is the motivation behind that, and how can I say no "pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically" without that nagging feeling that I'm somehow letting someone down (and maybe even disappointing the Lord?)
It's the YES. It's the burning yes inside, whatever it is for you, that allows the freedom to say no. If something is not "in my box" for this season of my life, then the things that ARE in my box, those things that I'm passionate about and truly invested in, should motivate me to be able to say no without guilt. (I'm not talking about being a jerk. "Can you do grab that for me, honey? Sorry; not in my box!" =) But only a deep-down dedication to what's actually important, or in your "important" boxes, can justify walking away from what's not. It's easy to be involved in SO many things that you end up participating only half-heartedly in all of them, even the ones you really care about. It makes so much more sense to be wholly present and engaged in what God has assigned you then trying frantically to seem that way when actually you're just barely holding everything together.
As Kristie (our pastor's wife who happens to be just awesome) taught the class and encouraged us to take inventory of our boxes, I thought about how often I say yes to what I know is not really my box. And I think the Lord has shown me in these lessons and since that a) He is not the author of confusion and b) He is a big proponent of rest! If I'm doing what God wants me to do, I may be tired, but I shouldn't be miserable. The chalkboard in my living room STILL (after almost a year) says, "Come unto me, ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Why? Because that's God's design! He knows that stress and trials will come from within and without and that only He can relieve the inevitable weariness. But I think that being "heavy laden," while sometimes unavoidable, sometimes has quite a bit to do with getting our boxes out of sorts and ignoring the burning, important yeses while the not-so-important, should-be nos slowly take over. And again, as long as we have prayerfully arranged our boxes with things in the right order, we can truthfully say no to what's not a priority (as opposed to just "I don't wanna!" which is sometimes true too!)
What's in my box, for now? A few things... my husband, my family, my home, my students, my friends, my writing. (And more, but these are on top.) So, I'm praying that I'll have the strength (and courage, if we're being honest) to kindly say no because of my bigger, burning yeses. Somehow I don't think I'll regret that.
Pretty deep stuff for a Friday, no? I'll have to go watch A Bug's Life (or another Disney movie from the array I recorded last week) to relax my mind. =) Disney movies are always in my box.