Life, The List
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Repeat After Me: NO

How to politely decline via lagarfias.com

You and I could enjoy lasting relief from the overwhelming guilt and frustration of our todo lists. That’s right, it is possible to achieve freedom from the tyranny of The List.

You control The List. Never let it control you.

Easier said than done, right?

Today’s advice is the most difficult for me to follow. But gaining mastery over this one little word means the difference between a successful life and a slow, painful death.

The truth is, we all want to say, “Yes.” We want to be the hero.

We like to think of ourselves as responsible. And we pride ourselves on our work ethic.

BUT the reality of the matter is different. We can’t save everyone. We are not always responsible for the situation. And we have a limited supply of blood, sweat, and tears.

But tell me if you can relate to this story:

You have a packed schedule of family commitments, little league sports, school activities, work, and church ministry. Someone calls you up one week and asks if you would cook a meal for a new mother. In spite of the fact that your youngest kept you up all night with the flu, the car broke down again, and your daughter needs help on her science project, you stifle a sigh and say, “Sure.” Then you find yourself up after midnight again, putting together a casserole for someone else (your own family had pizza delivered again), crying in anger and frustration because you are too exhausted and too stressed and too guilty.

If you haven’t had that happen, then this post is just for me. But it happened too many times to count before I learned one simple phrase:

I just can’t this time. I’m sorry.

No excuses. No reasons. No maybe’s. No guilt. Just … no.

<I’m not talking about being lazy or unhelpful or selfish. But I am encouraging you, if you find yourself in that frustrated place too often, to put your courage to the sticking place and just say no. It gets easier each time, I promise.

Because a magical thing will happen. When you give yourself the time, space, and sleep to get your own stuff back under control — a reasonable handle on the housework, the schooling, the children, the marriage, the finances — you suddenly will find your margin again. And maybe a few “yes’s” will sneak in there, you find yourself serving again with a smile, and suddenly there is Joy in Serving Jesus again.

It all starts with saying no so you can say yes.

Here’s my challenge to you, friend. Take a deep breath this week and say this sentence to someone:

I just can’t this time. I’m sorry.

Then walk away and get back to your life. With a smile.

Did you do it? How did it go?

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Shorten Your Todo List Once and For All | Lea Ann Garfias

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