Saying “No” to make space for “Yes”

It’s hard to take a picture of yourself with a laptop. Do all blog posts need a photo? These are now the thins I’m wondering about. New blog post below.

I haven’t written a blog post since mid- January. That’s a little over two months since I’ve posted on this site and it feels a lot longer. Life, man. It gets busy and, for me, the things I want to do, like this blog, end up taking a back seat to all the things that “need” to be done.

Several years ago, I read Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. In summary, she argues you need to say “no” to some things so you can give your best yes when the opportunity presents itself. I read this book because, as someone who likes to please people, I felt it was important to learn how to say no. However, at the time I read it I was a stay at home mom of one and I was involved in one playgroup. That’s it: one kid, one play group. Now looking back, I wonder what exactly I was learning to say “no” to. Living in a new state with a toddler I was accepting any invitation thrown my way. Literally, I wasn’t turning anyone down. Now, I’m in a different stage of life: two kids at two different schools with extracurriculars, a part time job, a husband with a long commute and more responsibility at work, a blog, and oh yeah… I’m starting to take online classes (more on that in a later blog post). [Side note: I know we are all busy. Every one of us. I’m not trying to post my busyness as badge of honor, but I want to point out how different my life is now versus six years ago. In fact, I’m currently doing all I can to be LESS busy. Being busy does not give you value.]

In this phase of my life I’m beginning to actually understand my “best yes.” There are going to be events, obligations, positions, etc. that I WANT to say yes to, but need to say “no” so that I can leave margin for the opportunities I truly want to pursue. And to do pursue what I’m prioritizing I need to exercise discipline to not overextend myself. An overextended Sarah is not good for my family. I turn into a crazy person. A really tired, crazy person. Just ask my husband. He might be scared to confirm, but prod him and he will come clean.

It’s a hard realization for me that I can’t do everything I want all at the same time. I bet you’re thinking about that one person who seems to do it all. I am. Comparison is another trap that hinders me from saying no when I should. I look at other people and think “She has three kids, works full time, works out, volunteers at her kids’ school and is involved in three other organizations. Why can’t I be like her? I should try to do more.” But I’m not her. I’m me. I have certain limitations that maybe she doesn’t. And honestly, you never really know the private struggles someone is facing. I can do what I can with the talents I have and comparing myself to someone who is different than me is like comparing apples to oranges.

I want to pursue this blog, but to do that, I have to say no to other opportunities which is tough because telling people “no” may disappoint them. I don’t like disappointing people. Remember, I’m a people-pleaser. It is really hard for me to say no. Once I say no I also think about the situation for an inordinate amount of time. “Did I say it clearly so they understand why I’m saying no? Do they hate me? Maybe I should have just said yes.” I had to tell my part-time job I couldn’t work there anymore. That was tough. I want to work there, but I want to blog, take these online courses, and be a better “family manager” more. I want to have margin in my life so when opportunities regarding this blog pop up I can take them. I want to have margin in my life so that when we have an unexpected free afternoon the kids and I can stay outside and play until it’s dark. I want space to say yes to the things I determine are the best use of my talents and will serve others well.

All of this to say, State of Sarah is back to being a priority for me. My plan is to do a small redesign and then begin posting at least weekly, but hopefully more.

Is there anything you need to say no to today so you can say yes to something that really stirs you deep down? Something to think about!

take care!

One thought on “Saying “No” to make space for “Yes”

  1. Great post! I used to be such a people pleaser, but I realized I can’t do it all! I read that book, too and it was such an eye opener for me. 🙂

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