It’s almost the middle of December and life just might be pretty full and busy at your house. So tonight, I want to talk about something that’s been on my heart this Christmas season… and that is about saying one of the hardest words to say.
What’s the hardest word to say, you ask?
It’s the word “no”. It’s such a small word but whether we learn to say it or not can make such a big difference in our life.
During the Christmas season, there can be so much going on. There are so many opportunities, so many seemingly necessary obligations, so many to-do’s.
There are gifts to buy, parties to attend, gifts to wraps, presents to make, decorations to put up, Christmas cards to address and send, cookies to bake, menus to plan, traditions to keep, volunteer opportunities to participate in, Christmas programs to attend…
You can start to feel like, “There’s just so much that I need to do!”
Which is why we’ve got to get good at saying “no”.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really good at saying yes. I love to help people. I have a really big heart. I love to start new projects. And I have a really optimistic personality — which means I often think I can take on more than I should! 🙂
The truth is also that I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I want people to like me. And if I’m not careful, I can say “yes” to everything and everyone as a result.
As we go into a holiday season I want to challenge you to ask these three questions before you say “yes” to anything:
#1) Do I want to prioritize the time for this?
Look at your calendar. Think through your current commitments and responsibilities.
What time will this “yes” require? Is it worth prioritizing to make happen or is just not high on the priority list.
Last year, Kaitlynn didn’t participate in the Christmas Figure Skating Program because we just didn’t have the room in our calendar for all the extra practices it would require and she didn’t really care one way or the other. This year, it was something she really wanted to do, so we rearranged a number of things to make it happen.
#2) Is this a good fit for our whole family during this season of life?
Guess what? Last year, maybe a certain commitment or tradition was a really good fit, but this year it’s not. And that’s totally okay. Don’t feel like you have to do something this year because you did it last year.
For instance, some years we’ve sent Christmas cards out. This year, it’s something I decided wasn’t a good fit. I have complete peace and freedom and no guilt over that.
Last year, we didn’t really put up many Christmas decorations. This year we did. My kids really wanted to and they asked if they could do all the decorating themselves!
#3) What am I going to give up to do this?
There are always a cost when you say “yes” to something. You will have to say “no” to something else, even if you don’t even realize that you’re saying “no”.
Maybe you’re saying “no” to quiet, maybe you’re saying “no” to sleep, maybe you’re saying “no” to baking cookies with your kids because you’re saying “yes” to doing something for someone else.
You have to count the cost for yourself and your family. What’s going to matter in 25 years from now? What matters to you right now? What are your priorities?
All of life is a tradeoff. And we’re not always going to make the right decisions but we’ll make many more right decisions if we take time to ask ourselves these three questions before just saying “yes” without thinking.
If you’ve asked this questions and you feel like you should say no, but you’re struggling to actually say it, ask yourself “Why?”
Are you wanting to say “yes” because it’s something your family is excited about or it’s something you love and it’s going to fill up your tank? Or because you feel like God wants you to minister to that person or be involved in that opportunity? Or is it because you feel like you should or you saw someone else doing it and it looked like a good idea? Or is it out of guilt?
This weekend, I challenge you to give yourself permission to say “no” to the crazy obligations and frantic pace and say “yes” to rest and stopping to savor the beauty that is to be found in all the ordinary, every day moments.
Don’t let busyness and to-do’s squeeze, strangle, and squash out your joy. Because you only have one life to live.
P.S. If you struggle with knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no”, I highly recommend Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes.