Well, it's official. My baby boy has learned how to say "no." And I'm not talking about a simple "no" or polite "no thank you," but a full-out head shake "no-no-mmm-mmm." He loves his new word so much, he says it as an answer to everything.
"Jack, you want a bottle?"
"Jack, you want to go play outside?"
"Jack, you want this piece of cake?"
"No-no-mmm-mmm"...(here is where he takes the cake and runs away.)
Have you ever noticed the gumption with which a child says the word 'no?' When they finally realize that they can say it, they say it with everything they've got. And rightfully so. In the word 'no' lies the freedom and power of choice.
Why, then, is it so difficult for adults to say it? I know that I personally always feel obligated to tell people 'yes.' Even my 'no's' aren't exactly that. Instead they are "not right now, but maybe later's" or "Let me think about it's" or "I have to ask my husband first's" or "Let me see how the kids are doing and then I'll get back to you's."
All this 'no' nonsense is driving me crazy. Half of the things I say 'yes' to are things I don't want to do, or am not meant to do. And in fact, they are taking away valuable time and energy from the things I said 'yes' to and really wanted to do. But if I do say 'no,' does that make me a mean person, a bad person, an unreliable person? Say 'no' enough and eventually people will stop asking you to do things altogether, which is not what I want either. It's a tricky business.
Do I want to put forth my best effort in everything I deem worthy of spending my time on? YES
Do I want to break promises? NO
Do I want to spend quality time with my children and husband? YES
Do I want to spend quality time with my friends? YES
Am I going to be able to please everybody all the time? NO
Do I like helping people? YES
Am I able to help everyone all the time? NO
I don't want to be a doormat, but I also don't want to appear shut-off or unapproachable. What it all boils down to is this: we need to remember that in everything, God has blessed us with the freedom and power of choice. It is up to us to decide and then act accordingly on those decisions.
"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." Matthew 5:37
I love being in a position where I can say 'yes' alot of the time. I am able to help a friend in need, support a cause, spend time with people I care about, and ultimately, serve myself by serving others.
But sometimes, I really just need to vigorously shake my head and yell out at the top of my lungs "No-no-mmm-mmm!" without feeling laden with guilt.
I'll let you know how that works out for me ;)