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Just Say No

August 1, 2014

Sorry, but sometimes, I just have to get it off my chest and so I turn to writing. Feel free to listen in if you’d like…

One of the most difficult things about the “new normal” is just saying no. I was blessed for many years to have some flexibility in my schedule. Kathie was home, so if there was a need, church-related or otherwise, I could often break away from business for a little while to go take care of this and that. Over the last year and two months, I have tried to maintain staying flexible, and to be available to others, whether in business, extended family or to the church. I have said yes to some, no to others; the result has been stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, neglect of the kids, irritation and frustration, the house being upside down, spending money I didn’t have going out to eat because I didn’t have time to cook, and the kids’ schoolwork suffering. I know this will surprise a lot of you, but let’s face it, I’m not “Super Dad.” I can’t do it all, not even close.

One of the things I have learned is that just because something is a good work to do, it may not be the work for me to do. I’ve had to do some serious readjusting of priorities. Things that were at the top of my priorities have drastically slipped to near the bottom to the point of neglect… and feelings of guilt.

I had previously been in school working toward a degree in Christian Counseling. I had one more class to take, then the final 15 practicums (practical application sessions with clients) to complete. Once that was done, I would have completed my Bachelors. I tried a few months after Kathie’s passing to take the final class so I could get it done and behind me. I never finished. I could never seem to find the time; but more than that, I could never seem to get my heart into it. Just too busy and my focus was simply in other places. I still do not have the heart, nor the time, to do this.

After listening to my whining about being overwhelmed, one of my daughters told me straight up that I’ve got to learn to say no. Well that sounds mighty harsh. I apparently have a tough time doing this, but I now know that is my biggest issue when it comes to time. It hurts to tell others no or “I just can’t.” But I’ve had to back up and just say it on occasion. I will have to say it more and more, especially this next school year. I’ve got to stay with my kids’ schooling.

But I have also learned that it is okay. I’ve got a primary mission; I’ve got a job to do: It is called raising children. Next to my relationship with the Lord, Himself, they MUST be my priority. I simply cannot do them justice and not be there for them. They need their time with me. They must experience my examples before them and my example must be one that exhibits the Lord in my life. But possibly more than that is the literal, hands-on schooling that must be done. Janessa will require undivided attention as will the others to a good degree. God has called me to dedicate myself, my time and my energy to them. They deserve it. This does not mean ignoring other things or other people, but simply doing what God has entrusted me with first. This is the priority He has given me. What have I accomplished if, with all the good I may do in this world, I lose my children to the world? So, our focus in ministry will be more of what we as a family can and should do, not what Leland can do.

So, bottom line? This coming school year, I will simply be unavailable during the daytime. I’ve got to back off from all the running around. I have to say “no” to other things, and “yes” to my family. I only get one shot with them. I refuse to lose that battle.
It’s taken me awhile to settle into this “new normal.” I don’t particularly care that I have been thrown into this; it’s not the road I would have chosen, but it is the path I’ve been given. I will take it with grace, gladness, thankfulness, and praise to my God. I will devote myself to it wholly, and commit to my God my heart, my soul, my body, my children, and all our work. May the Lord receive all glory and praise in my life.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2014 12:45 pm

    Being the prayerful example you’ve always been, with this message, you’ve continued to praise our Lord in humbling your desires, accepting His highest priority, your children. Your example strengthens me, encouraging me to press on when I grow weary in well doing. May our Lord continue to Bless you with strength and courage!

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