Friday, February 1, 2013

When Saying No is the Best Thing Ever

"Who's coming over tonight?" she asked. Her four-year-old eyes were eager for an answer.
"No one."
"Then where are we going?"
"No where."
"Well…," she was confused at this point. "Then what are we doing?"
"Nothing, sweetheart. There's nothing planned tonight."

I don't even realize I'm doing it, but it happens. I fill up every nook and cranny of my life with things. People, places, work, to-do lists, company, dinners, movies, music, sound, appointments, you name it.

I have started measuring the value of all the things I do, people I see, places I invest, against the one person and place I want to be investing the most...home, here, with her.

And as hard as it is sometimes, I am forcing myself to ask the question — is what I'm choosing to do with my time worth losing the time I'm not spending with her?

I'm so afraid that I'm teaching her that being alive, being happy, being valued equals staying busy. I'm worried that somewhere in her mind she's learned that in order to feel important, valued, loved, appreciated, that it means sacrificing peace, quiet, routine and ease. 

The truth? I've lost the ability to say no to good things for the sake of better things. 

Last night, I was not even finished with dinner before I was throwing on a coat to rush out the door to rehearsal. She stopped me and begged to come along. I knew it would be exhausting. I knew leaving her here at home with my niece would be a far easier option for me. But she cried, and asked "When am I going to see you again?"and I realized I was again choosing what was good instead of what was best. So I bundled her up, and took her along with me.

Even today, as I'm scheduling, planning, inviting, cooking, I find myself wondering when I'm going to be able to watch that movie with her, finish that story we started, go down to that park again. All the good things seem really good, because they are really good. That's why it's so much more difficult to say no.

Somewhere in all this doing good, I've lost the best. And today, I feel it. And I want to fix it. My heart aches to pull her in and teach, talk, watch, learn, and not lose anymore time.

Because being busy is sometimes good. Sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes it is important.
But sometimes it's not.
And my value is not measured in the amount of meals I serve, faces I see, places I attend.
But in my God, who has given me one soul to steward under my care and love right now

And I will not forfeit this time. 

So if you see me say no to things that seem good,
please know that it's likely because I'm trying to say yes to something better.


  1. That's my goal for this year, to choose what is best. I heard a talk at church once about choosing the best part, and it's something that has stuck with me.

  2. Andrea,

    I have been absent from blog world much lately, but I'm so glad to have read this. I am feeling that a lot- the busyness of good things, but not the best things. I told the kids our theme for the year would be "The Best Things", but I think I had forgotten that. Thanks for the sharing and reminding.