The Permission You Might Need to Do this School Year Well
Author’s Note: Please be aware that not everyone will need this post. Some of you are super good at saying no…and some of you are too good at saying no, so good that perhaps you need a post that gives you permission to take a risk and say yes. But, for those of you who say yes too much (you so know who you are), this one is for you.
August hit and I’ve found myself starting to gear up.
Being back at home with the kids by myself all day.
Organizing class parties.
Stress because we’re ALL busy and have things to do.
Preschool “homeschool” lesson plans**
“Mom” small groups at church
Family small groups
While I really like most of these things, the expected stress comes because all of this is simply an add-on to our already busy life.
Last school year was really challenging to me. Not only did we have a million life changes, I also did a horrible job at drawing boundaries. I ended up not sleeping as much as I should have and stopped engaging in the rhythms of my life that were life-giving because I was too busy.
This year will be different… because I’ve discovered a beautiful secret and I want to share it with you.
If you can identify with feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or feeling like life has become more of a chore than a joy, here are a few TRUE things I’ve discovered that have helped me be able to create appropriate boundaries:
1. The world won’t fall apart if you say no to something.
2. Your “no” is someone else’s “yes”— by saying “no”, you’re allowing someone else to get an opportunity to serve or help or create or dream or lead in a way that they are gifted and called.
3. Sometimes our “No” means that something just won’t happen. Maybe the PTO after-school club won’t happen or the small group won’t have baked treats or your kid will have to figure out something to do at home instead of you driving him all over the place to keep him busy. And that’s okay. You may find that nobody misses it all that much (but in a good way).
4. Your worth is not defined by how much you do. Our culture can try to make us feel that way, but it’s absolutely false. Buying into that lie is not only bad for you, but it’s toxic to your whole family. You are loved and worthy simply because you are a child of God.
5. Sleep really matters. God created us to need to sleep every. single. day. That means he doesn’t give us more to do in a day than what will fit into a day. If your to-do list consistently requires you to sleep less than your body needs to be healthy and refreshed, then you need to reevaluate your commitments, because some of them are probably not what God intends for you to do right now.
What I’m trying to say is that you have permission to slow down your life. To say “no” to good things. To keep margin in your life so that you can relax and so that God can use you in unexpected ways that you could not possibly plan for.
As I’ve been intentionally pruning my commitments, I’ve already seen a change. While at first saying “No” caused anxiety (Will I be as valuable if I don’t so this? Will people think that I’m less important if I stop doing this? Will God be happy with me if I’m not doing this?), slowly a wave of peace and freedom began washing over me. I was happy to stay in my kids’ room for a few extra minutes so that I could rub my daughter’s sore legs instead of getting frustrated that my precious work-after-kids-go-to-bed minutes were ticking away. I felt unhurried and happy to indulge my daughter when she asked if she could have some mommy time while the baby was sleeping, which is typically time I try to squeeze in checking a few things off my to-do list. I realized that these boundaries are not going to only affect me, but also every single person in my family.
I know many of you are struggling with the burden of expectations and obligations and burnout….know that you are not alone and that this is the time to make a change. To quit a few things. To say no to upcoming things. Get together with a spouse or friend and talk about your pace of life and how things need to change. Ask them to help you see things in your life that are good, maybe great, but are simply not for this season of life.
Here are a few other posts by respected women in the blogosphere who are saying similar things. If you need some more pep talk, check out one of the posts below:
Note: **I used that term incredibly loosely last year. Most days Ada would help me make lunch and call it our homeschool lesson of cooking. Sure, sounds good to me.