Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's okay to say 'NO'

If we don't take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others?  You've heard that lots of times before, right? But do you actually apply it to your own life?

A few months ago I was under a great deal of stress. I could slowly feel myself getting into a state of depression. I am susceptible to depression, having experienced it clinically at least 3 times in my life. It's a terrible ordeal and so very lonely. But I could feel it grabbing onto me and I had to do something to change it.  So I made a few hard decisions and what a difference it has made. Check out a previous blog post here to see what I did back in July to help put my life back in focus.

One of the hardest things for us to do is to say "NO." Why is that? Are we afraid of disappointing others, are we scared we're missing out on something, do we have an unhealthy need to please and help others?


The past couple of years have made me analyze what is most important to me in my life and what I can put on the backburner. My family is NUMBER ONE. My kids, my husband, my parents. I love my friends, but they do have to come after my family. It may sound harsh, but my kids and my husband (AND MYSELF) are my life. They are who I am living for, they are who I "serve" (along with God, of course). I have dedicated my life to them. I do not have a job outside my home because of my family, because I want nothing else to get in the way of being able to serve them properly. I plan my day around school hours so I can be here when my kids are here the vast majority of the time.

In our church service this past Sunday, our Pastor hit the nail on the head when he spoke about saying "no." Just like pretty much everyone else, he and his wife had gotten caught up in saying YES to just about anything that came their way, but it was beginning to be detrimental to their family life. He also brought up saying NO to the kids in order to be a better parent. We must nurture our spousal relationship in order to be a better parent to our children. It's okay to put your husband or wife first, in order to then properly nurture your child.

Greg and I have not made a lot of plans outside our regular activities lately, and this is great with us. We enjoy each other's company, we enjoy our kids, we are comfortable at home. When we overburden ourselves, we tend to get pretty cranky. I am right in the middle of my peak marathon training right now, which makes Saturday mornings busy. Greg then spends Saturday afternoons with the church band practicing for worship Sunday morning. That means we typically set aside Sundays for nothing but church and family time. It's pretty rare we'll do other things. We need our togetherness. With Greg traveling more and more lately, it's that much more important we keep each other close when we can.  We have not taken on extra volunteer duties, and although we do sometimes feel guilt about that, I know that right now I need to just say "no."

It all comes back to taking care of myself so I can then take care of my family. It's taken me awhile to learn that a calendar with very few commitments on it actually makes me happiest. I've learned to say "NO" when it isn't what would be best for me. If I'm not going to enjoy something to the fullest, I do not want to take those precious hours away from my family. Then the things I do say YES to are that much more exciting to me. I do have a busy winter ahead of me, but I'm okay with that. I've prioritized and I'm excited about what's ahead.

I'm taking care of ME.

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