Ever looked at your calendar in order to schedule something special with someone you love, only to fall back in your chair in frustration realizing there’s no margin? The pace you thought you could handle is handling you. The people who are most important to you are milling around in the background of your life, and “other” people and activities are consuming your time.
I’ve been there.
For busy people who have lots of interests, friends, and activities, this scenario can sneak right up on us, and catch us completely off-guard. So, what is one to do?
Say NO, so you can say YES.
That’s right. The key to being able to say yes to the spontaneous things with our most-cherished friends and family members is to say no to some entire categories of offers. Ask yourself the following questions when evaluating whether to add something to the calendar:
- Will a yes to this require a no to something or someone more important to me? This is a big deal. What are the top priority relationships and activities in your life? How does a yes to this opportunity or invitation affect them? Even if you can make it work, does it crowd out the important margin that needs to be in place for emergencies and spontaneity?
- Is this the season to say yes? It might be that you’re in a season, based on the ages of your kids, professional obligations, emotional capacity, etc., when you need to say no, but later, in another season, it could be an easy yes. As a pastor’s wife, I’m invited to do some really cool stuff. In the season from which I’m now emerging, with heavy-duty parenting required, even those great opportunities were usually easy nos. It’s much easier to say no to something if I know it’s not necessarily a forever no.
- Do I have the emotional and physical margin to say yes? Even if the invitation or opportunity only affects you, and the calendar isn’t screaming for relief, is this the time to say yes? Based on your emotional load and your physical needs, are you able to take on another obligation?
Trust me, the people in your life are worth the temporary sacrifice. Your mental clarity and emotional health are worth a few not right nows. Err on the side of a calendar that’s even a bit too light, than one that has you and those you love feeling frustrated or abandoned. The next time someone you cherish makes an offer you can’t refuse, you won’t have to!