Let's be real- who enjoys being told no? When I tell my girls no to candy, they aren't too happy with my answer. If you don't get chosen for a job you really wanted or if you are trying to get pregnant and the pregnancy test says no (not pregnant), it doesn't bring about feelings of happiness. If you ask someone out on a date- you are praying for a yes I'm sure.
Maybe over time we are programmed by our feelings that a no is negative and a yes is positive. As I've matured over the years, I'm realizing that sometimes a no is actually very positive even if it may seem opposite at the time. I've spent some time recently looking over my past relationship with the word no and how much I'm growing in the following areas.
I'll be the first to admit that occasionally I have a problem with saying no. I don't know what it is but maybe I feel like I'll let someone down or I'll miss out on a great opportunity if I do. I am someone who enjoys doing. I really enjoy helping and spending time with people. However, I can see that sometimes I become overwhelmed saying yes to everything. I have no one to blame but myself when I'm in full melt down mode because I'm so tired and feeling pulled in several different directions. There is nothing wrong with doing nothing occasionally. It will not kill me to rest a bit and say no to some of the things that steal my time!
Recently I challenged myself and told my husband that I was going to go a week where I was going to decline on anything extra asked of me outside of being with my family. It lasted all of two days before I realized what I had already signed on to assist with. I also had about four more opportunities to help out placed before me within a couple of days. Long story short I started out a little rocky, but I can say I did turn down about three of the requests which is great for me. I'm also learning that I can say no without giving a whole laundry list of excuses. This was a hard lesson for me at first because I didn't want to seem rude but it's so freeing once properly mastered.
BEING TOLD NO...
I'm an emotional person and in the past I used to take being told no very personally. If I was waiting on an answer and it wasn't what I expected I would be so sad. If something didn't work out for me as planned, I would be heartbroken. I would complain and wonder why I just couldn't get a break or why everyone else around me was getting a yes in their situations. Now with the help of my super patient husband-my favorite phrase has become, "if it's for me then it's for me." My husband says, "I only want what God has for me." I'm a firm believer that if God wants me to have, give, do, or become something then it will eventually come to pass. My job is to do the things necessary to put me in the position to receive what He has for me and let God do what he does best. I cannot always control nor understand the outcome of every answer He gives...
Some of the no's I've received in the past were truly in my best interest even if I didn't see it at the time. Trust me God has saved me from some potentially crazy situations if I would have gotten my way. God knows what I need when I need it, so when I let go of the control I think I have over situations there is a peaceful place to dwell in. My attitude has gotten so much better and feelings of worry have melted away when I understand WHO is in control.
I suggest when you get some time look over your life and some of the no's that were told to you or vice versa. Think about what would have been different if the answer was Yes in those situations. Also think about which no's were not no's indefinitely but no's for that season you were in. Maybe they eventually turned to yes when you were better prepared for it. I know this is exactly the case in many areas for me!!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6
That phrase if I only knew then what I know now.... hits home with me in so many levels.
I decided to look over some things I wished the younger me would have known or taken more time to understand. I'm sure I could come up with a whole book of the choices I made but I'll just start with the top ten that come to mind right now...
I would tell the old me...
1. To travel more. I spent my whole childhood traveling due to being a military brat which was great, but I didn't take as much effort once I was an adult. God has put so many beautiful places on this earth that I want to explore. The time is now.
2. To start with the end in mind when I came to my future career. To start with my passions and goals for my life and then decide on a field of study in college or whatnot that would be conducive to what my end goals were. I enjoyed then and still do now volunteering, helping others, writing/reading, and children's books- maybe I would have gone a different direction in school with that in mind.
3. To understand In high school that boys should not have been one of my biggest concerns. ;)
4. No credit cards in college!! It wasn't necessary for me especially when I didn't have steady employment nor the maturity to handle it. Finances in general I wish that I knew what I know now. Live way below your means! Pay cash if you can! Trust you can always find an item cheaper or on discount eventually. ;)
5. To elope. :) I joke about this with friends, but I wish my husband and I would have either eloped or had a super small and personal wedding (maybe a party of 50 or much less). It would have been nice to make the day just about he and I, instead of worrying about everyone else and the money we could have saved!!!!! The energy some people put into their wedding day, while forgetting about the actual marriage is interesting.
5. To speak up more. I was a pretty timid child and then battled low self esteem for many years. I wish I understood who I was and that I could say no and speak up for myself more. If I didn't spend so much time worried about what others thought, I might have said more.
6. To Save!! To plan and save for the things I want and to always be prepared for life's ups and downs when it comes to great deals and unexpected expenses.
7. To not compare- as my husband always tells me, " I don't care what so and so has, I want what God has for me." You can't always believe what you see when you look at what others have- you don't know their journey or financial situation so don't try to keep up with the "Jones."
8. To have made better connections with people. Most people would say I'm extroverted but for many years I really didn't want to be bothered with others outside of what I had to. I didn't have real or deep relationships just surface ones. Now I make a better effort to get to know people on a more real level and I self-disclose like a crazy person! ;). I'm a real person with real life situations I experience- there is no need to pretend like I have it all together because I don't!
9. To go to God in prayer first before asking for everyone else's opinion or before one of my famous pity parties. I've spent so much wasted time whining, complaining, and worrying about things that always as the scripture says, work out for my good in the end!
10. To challenge the status quo. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean I have to. Be ok with change. Be prepared for random questions about your choices. Stop caring about what others think because seriously everyone has their own issues. From experience everyone's advice isn't always good advice...
I'm so glad that as life goes on I will continue to grow and learn from situations I experience. If I can help anyone else in their personal journey, then my lessons learned (many times the hard way) will be all worth it in the end. Thank God!