Saying "no" has always been tough for me. Not when it really counts, like facing peer pressure in high school or college. Or even in those ethical moments, like when a "boss" advised me to fudge my gas mileage so I would get paid more. And as a parent, I have NO trouble saying "no". Just ask my kids. They will tell you.
But in other areas, it is not as easy. I ended up on a lot of dates with guys I didn't really like because I didn't want to hurt their feelings. (I would then try my best to come up with an excuse to not go... :) And who knows how many committees and meetings I ended up at because it was so hard for me to say "no".
It still isn't easy.
We have a countertop filled with requests for charity donations. We love to give but we can't give to them all. (I guess we could but we may not be eating dinner again for a while...)
I get asked for favors and often end up doing them no matter how much valuable time they take just to avoid that two letter word.
We end up with busy weekends as we deal with parties, sports, and other things I just couldn't turn down.
But I am learning.
Sometimes I have to.
Sometimes I have to think of my family first.
We have been asked why we don't go on the family mission trips with our church. Hopefully one day we will. But for now, it is more than I am capable of doing. For one of our kids, it would be more than he could handle. I would spend all of my time dealing with the repercussions of that change of routine and sensory overload. There would be no mission work for me. Only a frazzled child and a tired mom.
Another "no" I had to say recently was when Mark asked if I wanted to host life group ("community group") at our home like we did last year.
It wasn't easy to say no.
There are many things I like about life group. I enjoy the fellowship (with adults no less), the food, and the faith talk.
But it was also a lot of work. Cleaning the house up. Cooking some sort of snack/dessert. Buying the plates, cups, silverware, etc.
And keeping the kids up past their bedtime every Sunday night.
That wasn't fair to the teachers who had to deal with them. Nor to the kids themselves.
For now, this will be our family time, a meal together, a little time to relax, and regular bedtimes.
And I am a little sad. I will miss that time. It is a good thing. But for now, I have to say no.
Sometimes it is necessary.