“I’ll be glad when the holidays are over.”
“There’s not enough time in the day.”
A few of the typical responses you might hear this time of year when you ask someone how they’re doing.
Welcome to America.
And we Americans are busy at an unhealthy rate. Social media has amped up the pressure, too. Comparison is more addictive than a drug and FOMO (fear of missing out) is causing many depressive thoughts.
I can’t give magic advice to fix it all..but for the people-pleasers like me out there – what if we gave ourselves permission to stop saying yes. There are so many things going on, but if you say yes to all of them you will wake up exhausted and the sweetness of the season will have passed you by and left you spent (physically, emotionally, and financially.) That isn’t what your Prince of Peace wants for you. I’m still trying to learn to be a Mary in a Martha world…
And while we’re on the subject…can I just say there is no such thing as “Wonder Woman.” She’s a fictional character. In real life, you show me a Wonder Woman, and I’ll show you a worn-out-woman, as Lysa Terkeurst essentially puts it. We were not made to do it all. A wise friend once said to me: you must say no to something in order to say yes to another. Whoa. So true!!
And, if you don’t give yourself margin in your life, you won’t have space for the unexpected gifts that come your way. You will be too busy or stressed or spent to welcome them in. Creatives need time and space to create and dream. I think that if we were made in the image of God, then we are all creators in some way – and if we aren’t resting like He commanded us to – then we’re not able to allow our minds/hearts/spirits to bring the art and beauty into the world He has planted within us.
Also, if you have kids – I probably don’t have to remind you that your holiday seasons are very limited. You only have 18ish of them. I’m a recent military mom that feels like her son’s childhood passed in a literal blink of an eye. Say no to the too much so you can have space for giggles and adventures and pajamas and breakfast. Decide what your yes should include, and what your no will include and give yourself grace to change your mind a little as you feel led. Have fun and say yes as you so desire!
But do not do not do not say yes to anything out of a people-pleasing-obligation. You my friend have been given formal permission to say no. And you don’t have to explain why. “Thank you for thinking of me, I won’t be available to attend. Have so much fun.” And you’re done.
Someone will try to make you feel guilty. Ignore it. Let it go. You don’t have to own their reactions. Did they react and get upset that you’re not coming? Let them process it in their own way. You have to choose to take care of yourself and make space for your immediate family (disclaimer: keep healthy boundaries if you have dangerous relationships.) That’s it. The other stuff is nice but not required. And as you exercise your yes/no options: you’ll say no to some things you’ll really wish you had said yes to. However your rested body, brain, and sanity will sing thankful songs to you. And your people will love, love, love the extra time with you.
Dreamers can’t dream without rest.
So say no to that extra event or two.
((And to those I’ve said no to this year – I love you so much. Thanks for understanding my need to rest and slow my pace. May you draw near to Peace this season, too. 💜))
Much love and peace in Christ,