It’s been a minute since I last wrote. And I never intended to go this long between posts, but life happens . . . travel happens . . . kids’ activities happen . . . housework happens. . . sick kiddos happen . . . life is busy . . . you get the point.
Which brings me to my title. “Just Say No” . . . if you were a child (or a parent) of the 80s you likely remember the “Just Say No” campaign introduced to us by Nancy Reagan over 30 years ago. We were taught from an early age to say “no” to all the bad and harmful things.
What I’m realizing, as an almost 40 year old, that while being taught to say “no” to all the bad was vastly important, we, maybe, should’ve also been taught that sometimes there are good things we need to “Just Say No” to as well.
While out of town last week, I got a text message for a job opportunity that five years ago I would’ve given my eye teeth for. It was something I actively pursued for a time, but it never seemed to work out. And here it was, years later staring me in the face.
For just a second, I thought, “Oh yeah, we have to make this work. I can’t pass it up now. What if I never get the opportunity again?” But here’s the thing, the reason it never worked out all those years ago is because I would’ve had to walk away from that job, very shortly after starting, when we brought our daughter home from Bulgaria. The week before we left on our pick up trip, almost four years ago, was the last time I worked a paying job. From the time I was 14 until November 25, 2015, I had some sort of “job” whether it was part time at the local newspaper and my family’s oilfield supply store, tutoring in math, teaching school for 10 years, or helping my parents run their businesses. And suddenly, I was jobless. Or so I thought. What I didn’t realize then, but know now, is that I was about to embark on the most important, but not necessarily most highly regarded, “job” I’ve ever had, a full time, stay at home mom.
So I stood there and stared at that text, and then quickly forwarded it to my husband, knowing all the while, what my answer would be. Even though a part of me desperately wanted to jump on it, a bigger part of me knew that for my peace, and more importantly, the peace of my family, now is not the time.
Hear me on this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a working mom. I did it for a long time and wouldn’t change that. I actually tried to quit quite a few times, but God’s (and my husband’s ) answer was always a resounding, “No!”. But with an adopted kiddo with special needs, I quickly learned that for the health and well being of my family sometimes I have to “Just Say No”. Graciously and with thanks, but without excuse or apology, I often find myself saying, “This is not what is right for our family right now”. I said it the first time, when I walked away from teaching public school. I said it the again when I decided to stay home full time. And I found myself repeating it the other day, when I declined this job opportunity.
Work isn’t the only area I’m learning that I can’t do it all. I tend to take on too much and push to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes it’s a birthday party, or a volunteer opportunity, or another activity on an already too busy calendar. Sometimes, a lot of times, it’s things that are seemingly good things, but will not lead to a good outcome. “No” doesn’t come easily for me. The perfectionist in me wants to do all and be all. And in this world of social media influencers and Pinterest level parties, I think, more than ever, we push ourselves to be more than the sum of our parts. We push ourselves to do more and be more to our own detriment. So for now, I will say choose to say “yes” to less and “no” to more. I will say “yes” to those things that bring my family closer to one another and closer to God. To those things that bring us joy and peace and build us up even in the midst of the hard. Many of these “nos” are not permanent but are for a season, and I have no doubt that if and when the time is right, the opportunity that I said no to in this season will come around again.
One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Ecclesiastes 3. It reminds me every time I read it to savor the season I’m in, whatever that may be, because both the passage of time and change are inevitable parts of life.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.”Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV
Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.
"Just Say No" Campaign, 1986 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Say_No