We do things for the benefit of our families.
We do things for our followers and those who support us.
We do things for the benefit of our friends and loved ones.
We do LOTS of things for the benefit of our children, godchildren, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
We do things for our neighbors and community.
We do things for our pets and plants.
And sometimes we just don’t want to “do” another thing!
Here’s why that… isn’t always a bad thing…
You can’t give what you don’t have and when you’re running on fumes, overdrawn, tired, and anxious, guess what you’re giving? You can have it all… just not all at the same time!
I read and listen to a lot of well-meaning people talking about the nobility of sacrifice, as though not being the one who always sacrifices is a bad thing to be avoided.
Likewise, I read and listen to others who encourage us to give (to every organization, person, and thing) that needs our help, money, time… as though not giving to everything/everyone means you are selfish (see above).
Where do these well-meaning folks get their concepts from and why are they trying to impose them on me?
Hear me out. After that, it’s your turn (laughing)!
If I was a car, how long could I drive before I ran out of gasoline, burned up my engine for lack of oil, could not clean my windshield because I had no fluid…? Does anyone call their car selfish or a slacker? Not that I’ve ever heard.
If I was a checking account, how long could I remain open before running up debits if no one ever made deposits of new cash into me… or how long would I stay out of jail for writing bad checks? Does anyone think of their checking account as selfish or slacking?
How pretty would the trees and flowers be if they never shed their old leaves and hibernated to grow new ones?
And last, why does no one ever call Christ a slacker or selfish for all of those times he, “Would often slip away to the wilderness and pray”?
Sometimes, you just need to say, “I don’t want to,” to all of the demands, needs, wants, projects, events, opportunities, and pleas of others and refill your tank, make a deposit, hibernate and rejuvenate, and if it’s your thing-pray. You’ll be better off for it and so will everyone else in your life. So, pace yourself and take a page from the car, checking account, nature, and Christ. Be just as good to yourself as you are to others, otherwise you won’t have anything for them, much less for yourself.
It will be difficult at first, especially if you’re used to always saying, “Yes, of course!”
Some people will get angry with you… okay.
Some people will ask, “But why?” And the answer is, “Because I just don’t want to.”
The first time you say, “No” or “because I don’t want to…” you may feel that hot, flushed feeling (okay, the first 20 times)… guess what? You’ll get over it.
What’s more, the more you do, the easier it will become.
How do you know if it’s a need versus you being selfish?
First, is it something you passionately want to do because it brings fulfillment while doing good?
Second, does it align with your purpose, goals, dreams and plans?
Third, will it require you to take something away from someone or something else (including yourself)?
Yes, Yes, No… consider.
No, No, Yes… decline.
Notice I didn’t say, “accept” because you still need to factor in how much “gas, cash, hibernation, and prayer” you’ve had before making a final decision.
The people who know me well know that I will reflect and consider all requests. Some I can almost immediately grant, others take me a while, and still more I decline. I know my limits better than anyone else does. I know exactly what I want and don’t want, like and don’t like, need and don’t need… even if I don’t let anyone else know. Those same people in my life have learned that if I say “No” that I have reflected and considered their request and that my answer is not frivolous or flippant. Those who don’t know me well try to guilt or talk me into it. That’s always humorous for those who do know me to watch (at least that’s what they tell me).
I don’t argue or fight (ask my husband). I don’t make excuses or make up fictitious reasons why I can’t. I just say, “No, I’m not going to be able do that,” or something along those lines. When they ask again I just say, “No, I’m not going to be able do that,” and that’s about all I say. I know my limits and I love me enough to not knowingly exceed them.
Are there exceptions? Of course! 3:00am screaming baby and I’m the only one who can feed him… 1:00am phone rings to tell me that a family member has had an unexpected event… you get the picture. But those aren’t the “norm.” They are exceptions. After which, I take extra time to hibernate, refill the tank, pray, and make deposits. I also do something small just for me, every day… have done so since I was a girl (thanks, Mommy).
If you’re no good to you, you’re no good to anybody else. That’s when, sometimes, the answer has to be, “…because, I just don’t want to.”