Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saying yes. Or no.

Usually when our summer starts drawing to a close, I start thinking about my fall schedule and the things I want to commit to during the school year. I currently have four email messages in my inbox asking me for a big commitment for fall. Four. That's a lot considering it's not even August yet.

Those four emails are overwhelming me right now. I'm not afraid of commitment, but I am afraid of losing myself in activity. Been there, done that, and hated every minute of it.

I took some time Sunday afternoon to jot down some thoughts that should probably become a permanent set of questions to ask myself before I commit to anything. Feel free to add to my list. Or to disagree with me. 

1. Does saying yes to this make me happy? Bring me joy?

2. Or does it cause me to feel stress? Why?

3. Does it cause me to feel guilt? I decided a couple of years ago that I was not going to let guilt be a motivator in decisions I make. The end result is never a good one when I follow guilt's lead.

4. Do I genuinely want to invest in this project? In these people?

5. Is it the right thing to do? Is there benefit/reward in pushing through hard things simply because it's the right thing?

6. Does this commitment reflect my priorities? Does it add to or detract from them?

7. Is saying yes realistic? Do I have the time? The energy? The resolve to see it through to the end?

8. Does saying yes leave room for spontaneity? That might sound selfish but days that are full of commitments leave little room for play. And play is important. For all of us.

9. What do I sense God is asking me to do?

10. What does my family think about me saying yes? Or no?

Honestly, some decisions are bigger than others but I think this is a good place (for me) to start.

A couple additional thoughts:
Just because I'm good at something doesn't necessarily mean I'm called to do it. 
Just because I'm good at something doesn't necessarily mean I always enjoy it.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I get into big trouble when I utter the word "maybe"

I'd love to know if you have questions you ask yourself before you commit to things or what your decision making process looks like. Seriously!


Stephanie said...

Nowadays, my biggest issue is how much it takes me away from the family. While the munchkins are young, I set the tone of our days and our routine and when I have too many things to fit it it disrupts everyone (husband included). It needs to be something that T is totally on board w/ me doing (like helping w/ N1's girl scouts last year) before I say yes to it. For example, with the girl scouts, I'm stepping back down this year because it's not the time w/ N1 going to a tutorial 2-days a week + a new baby). : )

OhioFamOf4 said...

That's a great list, I think you covered all the bases.

And I spent an hour playing Sporcle last night, LOL.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Now I'm wondering what in the world you were asked to do!!!

The Bowden's said...

Amen, Amen, Amen, and Amen. You know how I feel about all of the above and you know I always have no less than 200 posts going all the time that describe my hairy days due to my lack of ability to say no. But this year I have learned to Just Say No! :)

Chloe m said...

These are all good questions to ask yourself before committing.
I hope you are able to make a decision you feel good about and that your family can support you.
Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while. It has been a busy summer, as I am sure it has for you!

Elizabeth said...

I ask myself similar questions when I'm trying to decide what to/not to commit to. I'll admit, it's easier these days because I have small kid(s) at home. I don't want to be a SAHM who's never home! But there are some things that it's hard decide on b/c they are GOOD things. They just might not be good things for me or my family in this season of life.

#3 is a big one for me. It's been my goal the last few years to leave guilt out of big decisions. It's so hard for me to do! I never realized quite how motivating guilt can be, in a bad way!

Anonymous said...

It is soo true!!! I commit my time to the kids school, only to discover that along with the pleasure it brings me, I have huge feeling of stress and guilt throughtout the whole school year. This year I have chosen not to commit to the kids school but to commit to myself and the kids. I feel at peace with that and I have no doubts that it is the right decision for me.

FunMom said...

This is such a great list, Meredith! I love it...I may even bookmark it so that I can come back and reread it the next time that my Inbox gets daunting! Thanks!

FunMom said...

This is such a great list, Meredith! I love it...I may even bookmark it so that I can come back and reread it the next time that my Inbox gets daunting! Thanks!

Michelle (lemonade gal) said...

Mere, this is a great list! I'm printing it and taping it inside my day planner! I definitely need to better balance my time.

Michele said...

Asking a girl who consistently overcommits herself is not a good thing to do :) One question that is at the forefront of my mind as I'm trying to weed out activities in our lives . . . "Does it make a difference for eternity?"

Carpool Queen said...

Glad you wrote these down. I ask myself the same things, though I don't know that I'd ever articulated them outside my head. I ask if things will further my friendships and relationships or detract from them.

Stephanie Kay said...

What a great list! I don't have a specific list of questions but these are general thoughts I usually have: Do I have time for it? Or more accurately, what will it take time from? Is it realistic to think I have the time and energy to do it? What will my husband say? Does it fit with something I'm already doing?

That last one is big. For example, I don't have the time and energy to teach a weekly women's Bible study (as much as I would love to!). BUT, I'm teaching a co-op science class for 6-9 year olds this school year because my boys will be in the class and I'll already be teaching them the material at home. Teaching a class of 10-15 kids isn't that much more work and fits with what I am doing anyway.

Thanks for a great question to get me thinking.

Gretchen said...

Thank you for this. I needed to see it. Yep. Perfect timing, even though you wrote it a while ago.