For my entire life, I’ve struggled with trying to wear too many hats.
No, not literally. (Though that would be a pretty funny problem to have!)
I’ve tried to do everything. To be good at everything. Some days, I’ve moderately succeeded. Other days I’ve miserably failed. I’ve spent years trying to perfect being a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, a good Christian, a good employee, a good musician, a good girlfriend, a good cook, a good hostess, a good sister, a good writer, a good listener… the list goes on. I’ve tried to be well-dressed, well-spoken, and well-mannered. I’ve tried using lists, getting up earlier, dividing my time differently, and any number of ideas that are supposed to help you live your “perfect” life.
I’ve always known that doing everything was impossible. Not only for me, but for anyone. The people I look up to so much for their incredible abilities, gifts, and passions have accepted this lesson and are devoted to saying no. They say no frequently and firmly. They say no to so many great opportunities in their lives, so that they can leave space for better ones.
Over the past few years I’ve slowly embraced the concept of actively saying no, and passively letting go.
It’s entirely bittersweet and to be honest, I’m never quite positive I’m making the right choices. But, uncertainty aside, I would not be where I am if I held so tightly to everything I once tried to be. I’m working two jobs and pulling an almost full-time college load year-round, which leaves little room for anything else. I’ve faded out of many friendships, I’ve shelved my half-written novels, and I’ve allowed my hobbies to gather dust.
Let me tell you, that can be painful. I want to do everything! Fortunately (though sometimes it feels unfortunate), I know myself well enough to recognize that trying to do everything isn’t healthy. I have to focus. I have to be where I am right now—even when that means saying no to good things. I’ve focused my energy on fewer things… in the hopes that I can do them better.
It’s hard to choose “which hats to wear”, but anyone who wears them well knows that carefully choosing is essential. Saying no can sometimes bring peace, healing, and purpose into an otherwise hectic and scattered life. I know that throughout my life, I will be in a constant state of saying no to good things. But I also know that if I keep my heart open to God, those “No”s will not detract from my life at all, but instead enrich it.
Friends, spend some time today thinking about what God may be prompting you to say no to.
All the best,