_Faith like Esther.
I love to read. I have always loved to read. I am the person who is reading 6 different books at once and never really finishes one before I start another. I go to the library and check out 7, 100+ page books and read the first chapter of maybe 3 before they need to be returned.
I want to finish. I wish I had a better method to my madness with books.
Oh but then....this week happened! I think I finally figured out a solution to a focused subset of books.
As I was in the church library with my daughter this week I started browsing. I had already returned the 6 different books that I had renewed twice and realized that it just probably wasn't going to happen. As I debated about the use of browsing...I continued to browse.
I then started looking at the adult studies section. Ya'll…..you might know what I am talking about. The section with the curriculum and small group leader and study guides. Ya'll know what comes with those leader study guides?! The movies! The movies that contain 4-10, 20 minute video clips with the most important parts of the book!
Sure this isn't the first time I had known that there were such things....but why had I never thought of using this outside of a small group setting?
So I found one that a friend has been recommending for such a long time. It is like her go-to. She quotes it all of the time. "Present over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. Now, I am sure her book is amazing. I probably don't get the entire experience that I would if I would feel the pages turn between my fingers.
But oh how I still gained so much from watching these short videos! And now I don't have to wonder what my friend was talking about. She's right! I can't wait to actually read the book one day!:)
Now, that was my first point...tip...suggestion...revelation... etc.
Here are "the goods".
The overall concept of Shauna's story was that she felt like her life was always busy. She was always saying yes to everything, being everything to everyone and living in a constant state of "hustling".
Now, I have also always been a fan of "The Best Yes" By Lysa Terkeurst. She discusses this same topic. I did make it through that book years ago and it really did change the way that I lived.
Both of these women looked at their lives and decided that instead of wondering why they found themselves amongst chaos and stress, they realized that they were responsible for this chaos and stress. They then allowed themselves the freedom to say No. They encourage others to embrace only saying yes to commitments, people and events if they are truly the most important things.
So why the picture of the playdough you ask?
Shauna referenced this concept. (I just happen to be in the toddler stage of life and had playdough on hand...nice touch you say:)- Thanks!) She was discussing the difficult journey from a "yes world" to a "no world" and being ok with it! She said that it is helpful to think of the word "No" like a scalpel. This scalpel can "cut away the things that don't fit, that aren't for you, the things that make your life overly frantic and leave you exhausted". Once you cut away all of the extras, what you are left with is the life that is yours. In the center, you will be left with the most important things that you value. Identify who or what is in your center most field of vision and with each opportunity that arises (no matter how big or small) ask yourself "How will this decision affect my core values?"
As I started to adopt this principle in my own life, some got offended and others didn't understand. But if I ultimately am responsible for how busy I am- I am ultimately responsible to make the decisions with how busy I want to be....or not to be.
So cut away. Find your values. Identify how far out from the target are other relationships, events, commitments, people etc. Really do the work of being honest with where they fall. Shauna stated that we should be disappointing our core values the least and it is ok to disappoint the outer relationships the most.
I know that is tough to swallow friends. But ultimately, God wants the best of you...not the last of you.
If you had to ask yourself right now- which circle would you put God in right now? Or which circle would God see himself in?
Join me. Let's embrace "No" unapologetically. I learned a while back this small truth "No is a complete sentence".
Praying for you friends.
_Faith like Esther.