Nurturing Your ‘No’ Response

learn to say no

We’ve all heard it before – just say NO.  Simple, right?

If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, say no more.  If there’s too much on the calendar, you need to say no.  If you struggle to manage everything on your plate…

Just say NO!

For many of us, the struggle usually looks something like this:  after an awful season of taking on way too much, or of incredible busyness, we swing clear to the other side and just start clearing our calendars.

We STOP everything, or almost everything.

Sometimes, this is exactly what we need to do.

Sometimes there are emergencies or radical changes to our life that we simply couldn’t predict, and everything has to immediately shift in order to make things work.  Sometimes, we have to fully clear our schedules.

But most of the time?  

We must learn the art of nurturing our NO response a little better.

A lifestyle of taking on w-a-y- too much, then dumping responsibilities (again and again) is a clear sign for maturity in our decision-making ability.  We’re swinging back and forth, back and forth, instead of gaining traction and moving forward.

say no

Learning to Say No

To live purposefully and intentionally does require we learn to say NO to things not priority at this time in our lives.

In order to do this, we need our YES very well-defined.  Here are a few tips to help get you thinking:

1.  Know your season of life.  Understanding your God-ordained purpose in this current season of your life is really important.  We can’t do everything, and especially not all at once.

2.  Embrace your YESes and Nos.  Ask yourself (and spouse if you’re married) these three questions based on evaluating your season of life:

  • what things might I/we need to take a hold of?
  • what things might I/we need to release?
  • what things or situation are simply out of our control? (and we must release to God’s hands)

Giving thought to these questions may spark some interesting conclusions, so be ready to embrace whatever steps you might need to take!

3.  Remember you can’t please everyone — please God the most.  Disappointment from others is sort of inevitable, and it’s okay.

You may not be as available as before as you focus energy and time on the YES answers for your life, but you’re on a better track.

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Nurturing your no response takes time, practice and will change as seasons of life change.

So, be gracious with yourself!

 

photo credit; post by Daniele of Domestic Serenity

 

Balancing Life in Seasons of Chaos

balancing life

Before I jump into the heart of this post, let me share a bit about my personality and take on ‘balancing life’ –

I am a planner and love all things rhythm, routines and organization.

I also strongly advocate for finding a plan, a way to manage your days as a Mom.  Each of us is different, and thankfully we don’t have to act like clones!  Yet, there is great value in learning and growing in our home/life/work management skills — doing it all by the seat of our pants really isn’t the best idea.

We’ll overwhelm ourselves this way for sure.

But do you want to know what I’ve learned the hard way in my 23 years of parenting?

Rhythm and routine for our family sometimes flies out the window in the face of transition, change, major shifts — basically…organized chaos.  Or rather, I have to establish a NEW way of functioning before burning myself and the whole family out.

When each pregnancy brought on severe illness (I can relate to Princess Kate), it wasn’t an option for me to continue on as normal.  Our family had to adjust to new patterns of living.

Last year, my husband raced to complete his dissertation and it was ‘all hands on deck’ as Daddy took several weeks to wrap up the BIG paper, as my 4-year-old called it.  He was practically in hibernation until the defense, and we all had to adjust.

There have been seasons of moving, of trauma, of unexpected surprises that have thrown us for a loop.  I’m sure many of you could relate as well.

balancing life

Are you currently in a season of organized chaos?

One you knew was coming (or didn’t), or maybe couldn’t see it would be this tough, this hard — this chaotic.

I do believe hope is available to us, and clues to find our way through during these times.  I’ll share what our family has learned, but please offer your own thoughts as well:

  • release the idea of balancing DAILY life – in these seasons, each day may need to be different and that’s okay!  Try to think of balance over the long-term, after the period of chaos.
  • release whatever practical tasks you can – if you can afford to hire help or have others to assist you…let them do it!  This isn’t a time for heroism, but humility.  Allow others to bless you – ask and receive.
  • release yourself from guilt – I believe this only comes through prayer, honestly.  We need to apply God’s grace to our lives and hear his words of affirmation over us and our families.  He knows and understands it’s all only temporarily messy, and that you would LOVE to get back to ‘normal’.  He’ll help you get there.
  • release yourself from doing FOR others as much as possible – I know, sounds a bit selfish right?  But you need to care for yourself and your family now – and this is paramount.  We can be gracious in the process, but find peace in saying NO when needed.

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One day, this season will be over, and all will (and should) return back to normalcy.  Chronic stress is not at all healthy for us or our families.

God’s grace to you friend…whatever season you’re in.

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{photo credit}, related post: the rhythm of family life :: balancing it all {or not}

Daniele, Domestic Serenity

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Easter Resources for the Whole Family

With the Lenten season upon us, and as we anticipate days leading up to Easter…

I want to encourage you as a Mom to give thought to crafting special moments of celebration for both yourself and your family.  Perhaps your church already outlines a suggested plan, or maybe you have deep family traditions which define this time.

If so, please share with us so we can all gain ideas!

For anyone needing fresh inspiration or direction, here are a few favorites our family has participated in and enjoyed each Easter season.

easter garden

Devotional Reads for Easter

I have thoroughly enjoyed Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter each year – every time I learn something new!  Though I never get through the entire thing, it’s helpful to pick it up each year.

Last year my husband and I read Love to the Uttermost by John Piper.  It’s a devotional reading for Holy Week (link is to last year’s outline), and was both short & inspiring!

For the whole family, Ann Voskamp offers a FREE Family Lent and Easter devotional — with printable ornaments for an Easter tree.

NEW!   A free Blessings of the Cross 40-day PDF devotional when you sign up for Faith Gateway’s Easter email devotionals (also free).  I’ve downloaded the book…and it’s beautiful and incredibly inspiring!

easter books

Children’s Books and Activities for Easter

Just a few of our favorites read often in the season:

If you were to Google or search Pinterest for crafts, there would be a plenty!  Remember to choose ones that fit your family in this particular season.

Easter comes every year, and some ideas can wait if they only serve to stress you out right now.  The focus is celebration, not aggravation!

easter cross

Here are a few activity suggestions from our family:

Each year is a fresh opportunity to remind ourselves of this greatest gift — the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior.  May it never grow old in our hearts.

Plan celebrations to fit your family…

…and savor the season.

 Blessings,

Daniele Evans, Domestic Serenity

Surrendered Goals, Surrendered Lives

Surrendered Goals, Surrendered Lives

With just a month of the new year under our belts, I’m sure the freshness of this season still carries us.

Maybe you’ve started off with a bang, or if you’re like me, it took a while to ponder and find focus.  Though I really enjoy goal-setting, I tend to do it all in slow-like manner.

Wherever you find yourself in month two of 2014, moving along great or barely moving, may I encourage you in this one thing?

Allow God to define your plans and goals not only at the beginning, but ongoing throughout the year.

I believe as Christian women, we do really well in praying for direction, for ‘one word‘, for God-ordained targets to shoot for.  The end of one chapter usually finds us asking just what might be next when we flip the page.

However, I often fumble (and I’m thinking you might too) somewhere in the middle of it all.

When the going gets a bit tougher, it doesn’t feel fresh and fun anymore, and I just start to lose steam.  I evaluate what it’s going to take to get to where I’m aiming for, and…well, I’m tempted to give up.

Where is God then?

Exactly where we need Him to be — right there with us.  And we are wise to still seek His guidance and strength to continue on.

Remind yourself how Jesus relates to facing tough goals and necessary follow-through.

His struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane is prime example.  Christ seriously wrestled with the need to keep on task!  Yet His total and completely surrender to the plan in front of Him — the prize — defined that moment.  He didn’t give up and surrendered his own preferences instead.

We’re only in February, month two…

…but challenges to your God-breathed goals are sure to come.

In order to live a life surrendered to God, you cannot give up on His plans!  There may be adjusting, tweaking, double-checking, and reaffirming of direction.  You’ll experience struggle and may lost steam.

I want to tell you right at the start, you’re gonna want to give up.  Don’t.

Don’t give up on your surrendered goals.

Surrender to His direction and rise above the feeling that you can’t or you won’t — with God’s help, you absolutely can!

He has good plans in store.  Don’t give up on them…

Blessings,

Daniele Evans

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