Friday, May 13, 2016

Saying No: What I Do Not Do

Originally I was just going to update a post that I wrote back in 2011, but as I read through it, I quickly realized that so much has changed since I wrote it five years ago (holy smokes, five years, really?!)  Our lives look very different now.  Everything I said in that post is still true, except my cleaning lady comes even more often now and does even more for me, and one other big one: work.  In the past two years I have moved from being a homeschooling mama to being a homeschooling mama who runs a fairly large business.  This is probably my favorite shift we've ever made.  I finally feel settled into a family-career place where I am living in line with both my priorities and my personality.  Hallelujah!

That being true, I do spend quite a bit of my previously "free" time (hahahahahahaha.  I had five kids under 7 at that point. I must have been nuts.  There was no free time.) on running my business.  That means I now say no to even more things than I did in 2011.

All that being said, if you missed me on Periscope yesterday (follow me @ArbonneVPSWenzel), here is a non-comprehensive list.

What I Do NOT Do (and who does do them, at my house):

  • Iron (the dry cleaner)
  • Deep clean (Swift Cleaning)
  • Work for an income on someone else's schedule (I am 100% in control of my own business schedule.  The end amen forever.  I work for no money for my kids all darn day long though!)
  • Cook breakfast (Seth)
  • Various homeschool opportunities that didn't work for our schedule and goals (people it did work for)
  • Fold laundry (Swift Cleaning)
  • Watch TV (the kids, mostly.  I am so tempted to pull that stupid thing out of the wall.)
  • Volunteer for a job or that ministry I will dread or that doesn't work for my family's schedule (people who would enjoy it, or who just can't say no, presumably)
  • Bake bread (hired it out to my friend Alicia)
  • Garden (teenage boy)
  • Teach Sunday School (people who love children's ministry, one would hope)
  • Work on the farm (the people employed to do that)
  • Car pool (not even an option for us since we live so far out!)
  • Play video games (I don't know who does this, but I know it is a thing)
  • Group fitness classes (doesn't work with my priorities and schedule.  I do all individual fitness or streaming classes.)
  • Commute (neither of us anymore, hurray!)
  • Make lunch (the kids)
  • Toddler activities of any kind (sorry boys!)
  • Any team activity that requires more than one meeting per week (not gonna happen until it proves enormously worthy to us)

I don't say no to these things because they are fundamentally bad-on the contrary, many of them may be either amazing or necessary or useful or fun.  But...


Instead, saying no to these things has allowed me to add to my "yes" pile of good things that I really value, and to spend time on the things that are currently on my top priorities list.  Discipline in this area (saying no to something when it is not an essential priority) truly creates freedom in every other area of my life. If something fits into my priorities list, I make sure that my actions reflect that.  If it does not, I don't do it.  If it needs to get done, but it doesn't need to get done by me, I delegate it. Simple as that.

There is always a constantly evolving balance of opportunities that arise and abilities - seasons of life that change and priorities that shift.  Once we think we have found a comfy place to say "we've arrived!", something changes.  A dear friend and I just recently texted each other that life seems to have gotten a little bit easier lately-the kids are growing up a bit, and neither of us have added a baby in about three years.  So of course both of us, without discussing it previously, made a decision to take on the same large unknown ministry project.  :)  Some of us have personalities that just need to keep moving forward, always reassessing our lives and adding to our pile of "good things" as we feel able.  We always want to keep reaching for that next right thing.  (If that is NOT you - if you really struggle with knowing what the next right thing is, or if you just can't say no to things, try Lysa Terkeurst's The Best Yes.  I led a group on it last year, and it was both practical and encouraging on those issues!)

Please believe me when I tell you this:


No one.  Some of us are just really good at presenting that face to the world.  Be encouraged, my friends.  Each thing you say "no" to makes room for the best things your life has for you!

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