I am the person hurt most when I do not say no.
Do you know the feeling when someone asks you to do something and your mind starts racing because you know your schedule is already full, but you don’t want to hurt the person who seems so needy? The pressure is on because you don’t have much time to think this through so you simply say yes, then you go home beating yourself up for not standing up for yourself. Ever done that?
I recently did an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 with the book Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. In chapter five, she talks about identifying your treasure. When you know what your treasure is, then you can determine whether to say yes or no. We can’t do everything nor can we please everyone. There are two questions to ask: Does this allow me to value my treasure? Does this cause me to treat my treasure with less value?
My greatest treasures are my faith and my family. My four priorities, which include my treasures, are time with God, time with my family (this includes home schooling), time to exercise for an hour, and time to write. My times to play and socialize have to be worked around my other commitments. If I feel I am neglecting these, I feel the stress rising in my body because I was supposed to do this, but instead I’m doing some other thing that is someone else’s priority. There isn’t anything wrong with what the other person wants. I may even enjoy it, but it isn’t the best use of my limited resources, and that is where the catch is. I am a very strong type A personality. I don’t want my schedule or to do list to rule me, but if things don’t go on schedule for a task I have a deadline for, which they inevitably don’t, WHAM, I’m off kilter. The whole world feels off, and I need to get it back on track somehow. Veering off the “road” is not good if the detour is long.
I don’t want to be inflexible. I know being spontaneous can be a good thing. It just seems though that working toward goals means taking time to work on the goal. If the time is constantly being interrupted or misdirected then there is a problem.
Since I am at home it seems I have to guard my time for certain activities. If I feel respected and understood with my priorities then I won’t feel guilty. Yet, I should not feel guilty about staying true to my priorities just because they do not line up with someone else’s. Obviously, they want the same respect and understanding.
Perhaps I could just give a standard, “Let me get back to you on that.” Then I can answer my questions about whether this will work with my schedule and my goals.
In studying character development, I read a book called Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey. It is actually a psychology type personality book, very academic, but I recognized my personality immediately. There are many others just like me. We each have our place in this world. If I can’t stay true to myself then I’m going to get crabby. When I’m following another’s agenda or trying to fit into someone else’s gifting or style or feeling unappreciated for my way of doing things, I get crabby.
If I say no, it is by no means any reflection upon the person or the activity. The older I get, the more I feel this urgency, this strong desire to do what I want for once instead of always pleasing everyone else. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We shouldn’t be neglecting our treasures. I’d be devastated with regrets if my treasures were neglected in place of using my time and resources on things that weren’t really valuable in the scheme of things.
Do you struggle with saying no? I don’t want to be selfish so I will have to pray about my use of time, but I don’t want to do something just because someone else wants me to do it. I want to do it for the right reasons. May we be wise with the time we have and may we spend it on true treasures.
What is your treasure?