My wise friend once reminded me that every time we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to something else.
After talking about this for a little while, we decided that obviously, the opposite must also be true: Every time you say “no” to something, you’re saying “yes” to something else.
You might be thinking, “Good grief, what’s the difference?”
For me, the difference lies in what is verbalized.
When I verbally say “no” to people, choosing to take more time for rest and space and family, I don’t go back and verbally commit my “yes” to myself or to my family. I feel like I’m saying “no” all the time, to everything, when in reality, all those times I say “no”, I’m actually saying “yes” to other important things, even if I don’t speak it out loud.
I get tired of having to say no. But if I think about what I’m actually saying “yes” to, I start to see what I am gaining.
Last weekend, I had a choice to make regarding a “yes” and a “no”.
I had reached my limit. I had pushed and pushed myself the whole previous week, and it had been a crazy one.
By the weekend, I was just done.
We were invited to a potluck on Sunday afternoon, and I had really been looking forward to it, but I knew I needed to stay home. If I didn’t, my sweet family would pay for it the next few days. I needed to make sure I got enough rest to be ready for Monday morning.
So, I said “no” to the potluck, which made me feel disappointed and a little bit guilty, but I kept reminding myself of how the week would go if I didn’t just stop.
I sent my family off to the potluck with a pan of brownies, and I went to bed for a good nap.
When I woke up, I spent as much time as I wanted and needed for reading my Bible and praying.
I ate whatever I wanted to, without any unhappy girlies around to tell me how much they did NOT want to eat pasta with raw tomato sauce. (It’s my new favorite food, and it tasted about 10 times better without the complaining!)
I spent a few hours writing.
And then I took my camera, put on my rubber boots, and I drove to every spot I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for the last month.
So many times, we’re rushing off somewhere, and I see something beautiful, and think, “Oh, I wish we had time to stop so I could take a picture!”
I don’t need to think it anymore – at least until I find some new spots! But the old ones are all covered. I tromped around in the fields and ditches to my heart’s content, and it was absolutely wonderful.
I got all filled up with fresh air and sunshine, enough to last me through the next few days of clouds and rain.
I said many, many yes’s that day, and I loved it.
By the time my family came home, I was ready to greet them, feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for another week.
When I heard what a great time everyone had at the potluck, I felt many twinges of regret. It would have been great to be there. But I also knew how necessary it was to spend some time by myself.
Our yes’s and no’s always cost something. I keep forgetting that, because I need to choose one or the other so many times in a day.
This week, I’m hoping for the wisdom to see which choice to make, which answer to give – for the sake of my sanity, and for the good of my family!
How are you doing? Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed because you said “yes” a few too many times? Are you finding space and time to say “yes” to the things which bring rest and refreshment?