Just Say No
From the title, you might expect this to be about drugs. Not exactly. Although, it could be argued it is about a kind of addiction that American women, moms in particular, are falling into: busyness.
Nearly every mom I know is suffering form the three O’s: over-scheduled, overtired and overwrought. We are stay-at-home moms, homeschooling moms, some work outside the home (as well as in), some have moved on to the title of grandma—but we all have one thing in common—we are overdone.
What are we all doing? We’re simply taking advantage of opportunities. Our country is a ‘land of opportunity’. We have options open to us that no other country has—more than we know what to do with—and therein lies the challenge.
For generations our ancestors worked hard, night and day, to earn us the freedoms we enjoy. Our parents didn’t have all these choices, and maybe we didn’t even have all these choices, but our kids have every avenue of learning and entrainment open to them. There are camps for all ages—all year long; musical instruction; art lessons; sports for every season; reading programs; after school programs; church programs and the list never ends. However, with great blessing comes even greater responsibility.
Now, I’m certainly not advising saying “no” to everything and live in seclusion (although right now seclusion may sound mighty tempting). We are to be out in the world, being witnesses for the Lord. But follow me, if you will. When we don’t say no enough, we fall into a trap of our own devising. This trap can keep us off kilter with ourselves, out of sync with our family, and most importantly out of communion with God. Those three things add up to one ugly word: STRESS.
“But,” you might say, “I want my child involved in the community. I want to be in touch with other moms, and be part of the action. I don’t want them to miss out.” I think it’s that last part that really niggles at our minds.
To be honest, it’s hard for me to say no. I don’t know why, but a welling sense of guilt begins to build in my gut when I tell my child no. Their eyes fill with longing and a little voice in my head whispers, “They might not get this chance again.” Sometimes I give in and add yet another thing that my schedule really can’t handle.
Lately though, I’ve felt convicted to protect my family. That’s what I’m likening this to: protection. We can’t be all we are supposed to be if we are stressed out, disconnected from our families and separated from the One who gives us strength to face the day. And if we never stop, if we are always on the go, we won’t hear His still, small voice that speaks to us, guides us, empowers us to make it through our day, and we might just miss out on an opportunity God has planned for US. So I’ve decided to pray about every opportunity, and ask “Even though this is good, will it keep us apart as a family? Will it cause undo stress? Will other relationships suffer because of it (my relationship with the Lord, my husband, my children)? And if the answer to any of them is “yes,” then I’m going to ignore my guilt and just say “no.”
I’ll let you know how I’m doing!
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.