by Paige Smith
Have you ever felt torn between meeting the needs of others and taking care of your own well being? Have you ever felt an overwhelming pressure to please everyone else around you, and found yourself left burnt out and distressed?
The word “no” can be one of the most difficult words for us as women to articulate.
Many of us have such an overwhelming desire to give to those in need, especially those closest to us. We are mothers, sisters, daughter, wives, aunties, and nieces and there is something intrinsic in us that wants to demonstrate our love by giving and serving those we love. In addition, often as women we have an acute sense of the needs of those around us and when we are called upon to alleviate a need that we have usually already identified we compassionately and often prematurely respond with a resounding YES!
By the end of the day these “Yes’s”, “Of course’s” and “I’d be happy to’s” pile up and become a mountain of responsibilities that we have no idea how to move. This is when we attempt to be superwomen and use our arsenal of “superpowers” to tackle every task we have agreed to. So we do it all. We babysit our friend’s children, we edit our sister’s 15 page thesis, we drive our niece to the airport, we cook our famous mac and cheese for our aunt’s barbeque, we give our last $20 to a moving infomercial.
At times we do manage to complete everything we’ve committed to, but often it is at the sacrifice of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health or the priorities we have established for our lives.
In this Holiday Season there is never a time more tempting to perform and acquiesce to the needs of every one else. It is the season of giving, of celebration, of eating, of coming together. But what happens when you have been giving to the point of exhaustion? What happens when others are celebrating at your expense, when the food being eaten and served has all been provided by your hands, and when coming together turns in to you working to meet the needs of every one you come into contact with? This is sadly the reality of many women in life, and it is only heightened during the holidays.
I know I have struggled with using the word “no” and have often overcommitted to others, which in the end did not benefit myself or the people I had over enthusiastically committed to.
But imagine this: Imagine yourself full of confidence and self-awareness, knowing what you can realistically do and what you cannot. Imagine yourself having a deep value for your own well-being, rest, and enjoyment and creating healthy boundaries for others to keep these intact. Imagine yourself kindly saying no to requests that you know are unrealistic for you to complete so that what you are really meant to be focusing on is fully taken care of.
Imagine you being a woman of priorities who through her word and actions invests in her relationship with God, herself, and family, and then reaches out to help others. Imagine yourself being balanced, and not harboring guilt for not agreeing to do something that you do not have the time, energy, or resources for. Imagine yourself going through this holiday season full of peace as you walk in the measure of grace God has given you.
Can you see yourself as this woman?
All that separates you from her is a decision in your heart to live your life not to please man, but to win the approval of God alone.
In Galatians Paul asks a vital question we should all ask ourselves before we say YES to anyone or any thing: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man?” (Galatians 1:10). His response is honest and convicting, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
“If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
God wants us to do everything as unto Him, not out of a pressure to meet the needs of every one else. The reality is when we commit to doing everything we end up ensnared by our own words (Proverbs 6:1).
Today, I encourage you to make a decision to let go of manpleasing and free yourself from feeling obligated to say yes to everyone.
Here are 7 affirmations to speak over yourself this holiday season to help renew your mind:
1. Everything I do today, I am doing as unto The Lord. He is the one I will look to today for approval and affirmation.
2. I value my time, energy, and resources and will use them wisely today, keeping in mind priorities I have already set for myself and goals I have already purposed to accomplish.
3. I know God is the only one who can do it all, I rest in the fact that He is aware of every need and He will only require me to meet the needs of those He has empowered me to do.
4. I am not a superwoman, my strength comes from the Lord not myself.
5. I can show my love to others by being a woman of my word, and committing to things that are realistic for me to complete.
6. I can only give to others if I have received from The Lord first. Today I will receive from my heavenly dad before I do anything else.
7. I know life and death are in the power of my tongue, today I will use my mouth to produce life for myself and everyone around me and will not make promises I cannot keep.
Saying no can be so difficult but when it is necessary it can save yourself and others from the pain that comes from unmet promises and stretching ourselves thin. Let go of the guilt and pressure to meet everyone’s needs and let the Lord be the one to save the day. After all, He is the only one who can truly meet every need and save us all.
Do you have any stories of how you learned to balance your desire to give and serve with the decision to say no to others? Please share in the comment section below, we love hearing from you!