Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just Say No!

I have a problem saying no. This doesn't involve drugs or anything like that. I've never tried the stuff, and I never will. This is actually a family problem that has been passed down for generations. This kind of no involves sometimes turning away people who want your help.

When people need help or want me to do something for them, I have a really hard time saying no. Usually, it's fine. Usually I'm eager and able to help them in any way that I can. The problem arises when four or more people ask for my help on the same day or week.

Too much service can tucker you out!
This Sunday, I was sitting in Relief Society (our meeting for women) and they passed around a few sign-up sheets. I was feeling particularly good on Sunday, so I signed up for all of them! One was a sheet for helping the local Sister Missionaries, another was a volunteer sign-up sheet for helping at the cannery on Wednesday morning from 7-11, and the other was an announcement about indoor soccer that was starting on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

Sometimes I think I can do everything, and when I find out that I can't, I feel bad about it. Tuesday was going well, and then the missionaries called me during the morning and asked if I could go to a lesson with them at 6:00 p.m. I said yes. I wasn't feeling very well that day, but I went to the lesson and I felt a lot better.

It was really nice. They were teaching a nine-year-old boy who had decided, with his parent's permission, that he wanted to be baptized. He was a really sweet kid, and the spirit was strong in the lesson.

As the Sister and I left, I got a text on my phone reminding me about the cannery assignment the next morning, and it told me that we would be meeting to carpool at 6:00 a.m. (the cannery was about an hour out of town).

Whoa! I suddenly realized I didn't have a baby-sitter for Kevin. My usual baby-sitters (my grandparents) were out of town, and it was pretty late notice to be calling anyone else. However, I gave my aunt and uncle who live in town a call. They didn't answer, but I left a message and I assured them that if it was inconvenient that I would figure something else out.

I felt worn out that day, and  though I was planning on going to the indoor soccer thing that night, with the cannery the next morning and my not feeling very well, and I decided that I was going to go the next week instead. The problem with the time on that one, is that Grig and I usually try to go to bed at 8:00 p.m., and if I went to play soccer at 8:30 p.m. Grig would have to stay up and watch Kevin. That wasn't going to work out that night, especially if I had to get up to go to the cannery in the morning.

At that point I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I felt as though I was trying to be of service to the Lord and to those around me, but I had over-stretched myself a bit much.

As we got ready for bed, I received another text from the people in charge of the cannery. They told us that the machinery had randomly broken down, so our cannery assignment had been cancelled.

Usually that would have been disappointing, but I felt as though it was the answer to an unspoken prayer. The Lord knew I was trying, and He made a way for me not to go back on my promise to help. Wednesday (aside from some craziness from Kevin) turned out to be quite a relaxing and stress-free day. I even got my bathroom clean!

Though often I've done my best to be there for everyone, sometimes it is important to just say no!

Honestly evaluate what you can actually do with the time you have, and don't forget that sometimes you have to find a babysitter before you can help others. If helping others is causing you to take away precious time from your family, try to figure out how much time you can actually spare. Service is very important, but it shouldn't become a burden on your family. Do what you can for others, but not at the risk of your own health and welfare. However, sometimes we can do more than we think we can with the Lord's help. We are His hands on this earth, and if we don't spare a few moments, who will?

Also, don't be afraid to ask for help yourself. That is something that I often struggle with. It's okay for me to help others, but not for them to help me? What kind of a contradiction is that? Service brings blessings to both those who are serving and those who are served. We need to rely on each other more and try not to hog all of the service opportunities ourselves. Other people need the blessings too!

Sometimes it's okay to say no.

Just don't overdo it, in either direction.


  1. Great post. Those things are difficult. I keep being reminded by my bishop that things with my family are most important. On the other hand it is important to make sure that we are responsible in our commitments. I think finding the right balance is a life long quest.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I appreciate your comment. The balance is very difficult to maintain.

  2. I think that I used to be that way, until I became a single parent, and that whole experience lead me to lean in the other direction--be very jealous of family time, and it was difficult when Jeff was in the YM presidency for that reason. Now I'm being forced to start leaning back in the other direction. Hooray! Anyway. It is very difficult, in our current society where it seems that a gospel of "self reliance" is preached as the highest of virtues, to allow others to help us. The thing that has helped me be more ok with it is the realization that when you serve someone, you develop love for them. I want to form relationships with those in my ward, so letting then serve me (and serving them) can help that closeness develop. And also, knowing that at some seasons we can serve more, and other seasons, we need more help. Having faith that those seasons of being able to serve will come around again.

    1. It's true that knowing when you can help is a matter of being sensitive to the Spirit as well. Sometimes we try to overexert ourselves when we really shouldn't, and other times we refuse to let others help us when we should. I'm learning too, and it's hard to always know the right choice to make.