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Say, “No.” I Dare You

I was watching an episode of Friends one day several years ago, and when invited to go somewhere, Phoebe responds, “I wish I could, but I don’t want to.” It wasn’t mean or rude, just radically honest and true to herself. This seriously inspired me.

I hate letting people down, so often times, I bite off more than I can chew at the expense of my mental and emotional health. I have been known to push myself to a breaking point trying to make everyone else happy. A friend who reminds me very much of Phoebe from Friends in this honest way, reminded me that I need to be very clear and very honest with people and not to allow myself to be walked on or rattled by back lash.

I’ve been re-inspired ever since, and I’m sure many people are not enjoying adjusting to the honest Kelsea who is respecting her own body and needs.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t control other people. Let’s really let that sink in. I have no control of other people. Not even a little. However, I do have control of me and how I handle and react to things. Taking on too much, hoping people will step up, and being disappointed and overwhelmed when they don't, is on me. My stress level is ultimately my problem. Therefore, it is on me to calmly determine what I will and will not do, and how I will react to people. How people respond to this navigation of my self-care is their problem.

People don’t like being told no, and people often find clear communication to be rude. I do my best to be kind and loving as I communicate my boundaries, but people’s reaction is not my problem. They control them. Not me.

These are truths that I know to be critical to mental and emotional health, but I have a really hard time remembering let alone putting into action.

I read this thing today that said, “If you have time, meditate for 20 minutes a day. If you don’t have time, meditate for an hour.” (For the Christians hung up on the word “meditate" replace meditate with pray and spend some time alone and unplugged from electronics with God and yourself.) I feel the truth in this deeply. The busier we are, we often tend to put off self care, but that’s when we need it the most.

I happened to be on the beach when I read this, and in a God ordained moment, Eli was sound asleep in the stroller next to me. I closed my eyes and just listened. To the sound of the ocean waves. To the beat of my own heart. To the voice of God. I proceeded to get an incredible yoga/prayer session in right there on the beach. I got up rejuvenated and reinvigorated and ready to sing some Karaoke on the beach! Despite stress from home following us here, it was one of the best days we’ve had in a while.

In this busy chaotic world, we desperately need to carve out the time for ourselves. For fellow parents, this sometimes seems near impossible, but nothing is more important than our investments in ourselves. We are of no use to anyone if we are burned out, exhausted, and at our wits end.

I used this scripture last week, but it’s an important one, so here it is again,  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

Get away from the noise. Get away from your phone. Don’t have a beach handy? Find a field and go lay in it. Find a tree and climb it. Or like me in the wintertime, something far less romantic, go hide in your walk in closet.

Find somewhere, anywhere, to get some peace and quiet. Sit in silence and listen for that still small voice. Figure out what your limits are and what is mentally and physically healthy for you to do and not do, and be radically honest with people. Loving yourself is ultimately showing love to others as you can not pour from an empty cup.

Hebrews 8: 10 says, "This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God,and they will be my people."

The Bible clearly tells us that the word of God is written in our hearts. Take the time to get to know your own heart friends! For us busy parents and recovering people pleasers, the struggle is real. Reminder to self: Navigate your self-care and show some love to yourself today. You will not regret it. 💕

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