Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Say Yes Less

Much to the surprise of some of my students when it came up in discussion today (OH MY GOD, IT'S ASH WEDNESDAY??? I ATE A PORK CHOP!!), Lent has, indeed, begun.

I love Lent.

I love it for the religious and spiritual meanings.

I also love it for the practical point that it offers another chance to start again. Man, I love my opportunities to start fresh.

While I feel like I am doing fairly well with my New Year's resolution to nourish myself, I know that I can deepen my understanding of what this means.

This year, I have decided to focus on saying yes...less.

First, I had to to take a moment to reflect on why I agree to so much, take on so many responsibilities, volunteer for tasks I will later regret.

I realized that my reasons fall into one of two major categories.

Call Me at Midnight

I say yes because I want to be the person people depend on. Maybe it's an only child thing. Maybe it's changing schools and moving around and swapping out best friends over the years.  But I want to be the person you call.  I want to be so useful that I'm the first name people think of when I they need help.  I want to be included, part of an extended family...I want to be the one you call at midnight.

Give Me a Voice

I say yes because it gives me a voice. If I do all of those little things. If I turn around a project before you know it. If I put together subcommittees. If I agree to sub a day in the front office. Then I get some capital. I have shown that I care, and that care grants me a place at the table.  Now I can use my voice, my knowledge, my understanding to gradually make change, to grow an organization.

Let Me Matter

In both scenarios, I want to be seen.  I'm sure there are deeper emotional issues at play here, deeper than I care to explore right this second. But I can easily see that I eagerly say yes far too often and with far too much speed.

I Will Nourish

Each year, I sit and pray about, reflect on my concentration for Lent. I let go of "giving up" something tangible long ago.  I needed to feel the season more.  My first idea was that I need to say no more.  Then I realized it's not about the active response. It's about something quieter.

Once I came to the conclusion to "Say yes less," I realized that the first reason I say yes, that need to be needed.

I have to let that one go.  Not just for Lent. But for good.

The reason?

I have two tiny humans who need me more than they need anyone else on Earth.  They do, in fact, call me at midnight with their crazy requests.  I am the first person on their mind when they need something. And when I keep pushing myself out there as someone's go-to-girl, I take myself away from them.  And I can't do that anymore.

I will do what nourishes me, what nourishes my family, not what feeds some deep-seeded emotional deficit.

In this Lenten season, I will nourish the now, rather than a broken past. And after all, isn't that what Easter teaches us?

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