*I mentioned last week about receiving a phone call or have a chance meeting or conversation with someone that could potentially change the course of your life. And how I had received that kind of phone call. Well, here is the rest of the story. I was asked if I wanted to be appointed to the Kellogg City Council, as one of the members is resigning. It is so interesting when things like this just come at you, out of the blue. And, I have to admit, I was quite flattered, thinking they thought I would do a good job at this position. So I took the weekend to think about it. I sent out a message to family and friends and told them what I had been offered. I told them to give me their input. Pray for me. Give me wisdom. And that is exactly what happened. From all over the world, I received wonderful nuggets of wisdom, things for me to ponder, excitement at the possibility, and lots of love. I read through their comments, and they all helped me make my decision. But a few comments were things like, “does the idea of it light up your eyes?”, “Do you go to bed at night thinking "yes, I want to do this." and then wake up the next morning thinking "yes, I want to do this.", and “ My rule of thumb at “my age” now is always listen to my gut. If I have the slightest inkling of doubt it’s a no. And by now we’ve learned to listen to the little voice that guides us”. I have very wise people in my life. Last night I let them know my answer. And it was “no”. It ultimately came down to it did not align with the plans Paul and I have moving forward in our lives. And it did not align with my new schedule of teaching for VIPKID during the wee hours of the morning. (I am still trying to get that schedule figured out!!) And by saying “no” to this particular request, I ended up saying “yes” to having more clarity as to what Paul and I do want for our lives.
*Another thing that helped me make this decision was the words from the book I mention a few weeks ago titled Present Over Perfect. She devotes a whole chapter to learning how to say “no”. I originally had listened to the book as an audio book. But there were so many good things in the book, I knew I wanted to have a hard copy to highlight some of her thoughts. And that is what I have done. Here are some of the highlighted lines that stuck out to me in the chapter titled, The Word That Changed Everything.
*****But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to rampant yes-yes-yes-ing. I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to groundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments.*****
*****But no became the scalpel I wielded as I remade my life, slicing through the tender tissue of what needed to go and what I wanted to remain.*****
*****Stop. Right now. Remake your life from the inside out. I don’t know a way to remake anything without first taking down the existing structures, and that’s what no does---it puts the brakes on your screaming-fast life and give you a chance to stop and inspect just exactly what you’ve created for yourself, so difficult as it may be*****
*****Bless them But don’t spend too much time with them. Draw close to people who honor your no, who cheer you on for telling the truth, who value your growth more than they value their own needs getting met or their own pathologies celebrated*****
*****And don’t worry: no won’t always be the word you use most often. I hate that for a season, no had to be the answer to almost everything. But over time, when you rebuild a life that’s the right size and dimension and weight, full of the things you’re called to, emptied to the rest, then you go get to live some yes again. But for a while, no is what gets you there.”
*For many years part of me would say “yes” to things for validation. I needed proof that I was okay. That I could do things well. Who doesn’t like doing things well and getting praised for it? Who doesn’t want to prove to the world that they are good at something, and that they can help make the world a better place, especially when struggling with low self esteem? Especially when you feel like a failure? So you start saying yes, and yes, and yes. And then comes a time when, unless you start saying “no”, and getting back to who you really are, and rebuilding that life from the inside out, life can be a struggle, frustrating and stressful, instead of what most of us desire....rest, peace, groundedness, listening, and deep connections with others. That abundant life God promises us each and every day.
*I wish I didn’t feel like I need to have a disclaimer, but I am going to write it anyway. This is not talking about every decision you make in your life. Some decisions require saying a tough “yes”, because of financial reasons, or family reasons, or a million other reasons. What I am talking about is our leisure time. That time that we can determine how we spend it. And we CAN make those “yes” or “no” decisions, and have the freedom to do so. And this is MY story. And how it worked for me. But maybe some of these words will also help someone else as they are struggling with a big decision. If so,,,GREAT!!