From the time she was a tiny girl, my oldest daughter Hannah has been extremely perceptive.
Even though I had been a therapist for years, she was and is still gifted with being able to read me like a book.
To this day, the moment a shadow of a look crosses my face, whether it be facing any kind of grief or anxiety or sadness, if she’s present, she has always asked, “Mom, is everything OK?” or “Are you feeling good?”
Even though I love sharing this “perceiver gift” with my mini-me, Hannah doesn’t have an ear into the fullness of my inner world constantly….
Can you imagine? Client stories, adult issues, (election, gulp!) etc, FULLY on her childlike mind?
I’m sure you agree that while it’s wise to validate a child’s gift, it isn’t OK to lean on them with adult issues most of the time.
She would prefer I didn’t anyway, she likes being a kid and makes no qualms about that!
So instead, I’ve allowed her insight to inform me when she’s right about something I maybe even haven’t admitted to myself.
Like the time when she was about three years old and she caught me saying “yes” to something I clearly didn’t want or need to do…
I was rushing out of our city apartment.
I remember clearly as I pushed the elevator button, she challenged me, saying, “Why are you going? You’re tired after a long day of work.”
That was back when I taught that philosophy to others but wasn’t yet taking it on for myself. She knew perfectly well that God would say “yes” to others in His own special way even when we have to say “no” to them.
That’s why Jesus relishes a child-like trust and faith.
But truly, at that time, I espoused a theology and philosophy that encouraged me to press on even through exhaustion versus taking rests when I needed to. As I’ve shared before, it was right about then that I needed to start to live differently, living better.
In other words, I had to learn to say no. Today, I want you too to learn to say no when you need to and I hope you’ll use these tools when you need to since…
Maybe there’s no wise tiny sage living in your apartment with you to tell you this…
But no worries, God put wisdom right inside ofyou also.
And He’s a God of peace, not disorder (1st Cor 14:33)…
So if something is making you feel anything but peace, pay attention to it.
Maybe that means adding something in that you wanted to do but felt guilty about doing like taking time to get enough sleep tonight…
…Or spending time with a child who really needs it.
And sometimes, clearly, it does mean challenging yourself to run the extra mile since it is one of those days or seasons that even God has literally asked you to do just that.
Such as if you’re a doctor with a busy surgery schedule…
A pastor who must finish his sermon and call back the grieving widow…
Or a mom nursing a baby through all hours of the night…
This is obviously a time when God will give you everything you need to complete the tasks before you. He offers miraculous grace and wherewithal for those times also, but they come with the peace of knowing you are within His will. When you’re tired, He will stand in the gap for you, taking you from Point A to B, since in our weakness, He is strong.
So how can you distinguish for yourself?
I recommend doing three things when you’re stuck on whether to say yes or no:
- Set your plans before the Lord, asking Him to make a way for your calendar to be accomplished in the exact way you think it will be best. He will honor those prayers but also add His own spin on it, regardless, as you well know! He loves plans set before Him and will bless you accordingly.
- Say no to the unnecessary things that will burn you out. Don’t try to solve everyone’s issues, just the ones on your lap to solve. You’ll wear yourself out otherwise. Let God be God and when His still small voice says, “Let me take care of this one,” then do just that.
- Call or write us if you still need help sorting it out. I’ve definitely enjoyed support from coaches and counselors along the way and sometimes when you’re afraid to say no to the wrong thing, and haven’t had much practice listening for God’s still small voice, that’s exactly when someone can help you to make those wise choices. Your counselor or coach doesn’t have an agenda for your family or professional life.
Have a beautiful week!
Love Living Life Intentionally With You,