You may be familiar with the verse in Matthew 5 that states "Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'." At the heart of me, all I really have is my word. If my deeds don't coincide with my words, then those words fall empty.
But even deeper, if my "yes" is "yes" and my "no" really is "no" I need to be justified in my response. I find myself in the trap of overwhelmed and frustrated where everything that isn't necessary becomes No. It's that place where your immediate gut response to anyone asking for anything is No.
At work: "Can you do me a favor?" Response: a sarcastic "No" with a sprinkling of "I'll probably do it but I really hope that this isn't going to take much of my time because I already had ten projects on my list today."
At home: "Can I do/ have/ make/ invite...." Response: "No" to all the million questions that are thrown at me. Sometimes I even throw in "because I said No" to add emphasis.
Lately I've been thinking about why I say No to my kids so much. It is like an involuntary reaction to a lot of questions. Without even really thinking about what they've just asked me, I answer with No. Sometimes, the answer really should be No but then there are the times when Yes wouldn't have been bad either. There are the times when it was No because I didn't want to stop what I was doing to play with them. Sometimes No means that I don't want to do extra work. Yet other times there isn't a really good reason at all, it was just No.
While trying to take back control of this whirlpool that has become my existence, I've committed to give real consideration to my kids' questions and try to avoid the No reaction. That's not to say that the answer might not be No but at least I'll actually consider their questions. A life lived in the world of No is miserable and too safe. There need to be times of fun and risk. So now before I answer I ask myself why I want to say No. Is it because the request is against the rules, unsafe, or impossible at the moment? If not, then I need to consider saying Yes.
Yes to taking a break from work to play farm set and legos once in a while.
Yes to going sledding before school when there's a 2-hour delay. Soon enough the snow will be gone.
Yes to making hot cocoa.
Yes to that outfit that you love.
Yes to a sleepover because friends make memories.
Yes to enjoying life.