Do You REALLY Mean It?!

“You really should learn to say no occasionally.”

I hear this ALL the time.  

That comment usually comes after a discussion of my current theatrical involvement and the person making the statement almost always means that I should say no to the theater “stuff” I do.

But what if I took them at their word?  What if I learned to say no to those things that really don’t hit my God-given designs and passions?

Would the person offering advice be okay with it if I said no to playing for the kid’s Christmas program at church?  Or what if I declined to plan/run an elementary school program for the holiday’s?

In the church, there is a tendency to have expectations of others based on what we think they should be doing with their skills and their time.  If they don’t live up to our expectations we shake our heads and talk about “wasting God-given talent.”  As a Pastor’s wife, I have had people refuse to speak to me if they feel I am not doing what I should be.  Apparently, the fact that my husband is on the payroll leads them to believe that they should have some say over how I spend my discretionary time.

Time to speak out clearly – if I HAVE to learn to say no to things, I will NOT be choosing to say no to theatrical involvements.  It is when I am in the throes of a theater production – rehearsing, directing, whatever – that I am the most truly myself.  I get that over-committing can be dangerous to one’s sanity and even one’s physical health.

But never saying yes to the things one is truly passionate about is just as dangerous.  Maybe more so.

So if you tell me that I should learn to say no, I will thank you for your concern and take a look at my schedule to reevaluate the allocation of my time.  Just be ready for me to say “yes” to those things that are right for me, even if you don’t understand!

One thought on “Do You REALLY Mean It?!

  1. “Hi, my name is Jim. I’m a compulsive people pleaser.”

    One of the major lessons in my life was learning that I can say “NO”.

    I, too grew up in a pastor’s home. Somehow, I got the idea that everything I was asked to do was the “Voice of God”. I felt guilty when I said “No”. I’m very capable. I can do just about anything I set my mind to do. Therefore, “Jim, CAN you do_______? Was usually answered with a quick “Sure”.

    “Can I do it?” “Do I want to?” “Do I have time to?” …”Probably so, …Not really, …Probably not” were the answers I had in mind, but would say “Yes”, anyway. I seldom asked if it was what GOD was wanting me to do. I finally realized I was saying “Yes” when I really wanted to say “No”, but didn’t want to disappoint anybody. I lost myself in the process. I also realized when I said “Yes” to “You”, I had to say “No” to something or somebody else. Too often, that was my wife. Or kids. Or …God!

    As I have learned to say “No”, I am finding that I am saying “Yes” with more enthusiasm and a deeper commitment. Especially when “Yes” ends up becoming more than I thought it was going to be. (somehow, it usually does)

    My wife likes the new, more relaxed me. She likes it when I say: “Sorry, I won’t be able to give that the time I know it will need.” She knows that I say that in order to reserve “our time”.

    My default answer has changed from a reluctant “Yes” to a much wiser “No”. I sometimes say “No” just because I need to stay in practice. lol

    If I say “No” first, it’s usually fairly easy to change my mind after reconsidering. If I say “Yes” first, changing becomes much more difficult, impossible at times. I’ve discovered that “NO” is a complete sentence that does not necessarily need to be explained.

    As I’ve become less busy with things that everybidy else wanted me to do, I am hearing God’s Voice much more clearly.


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