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The Power of Saying No

alec vanderboom

I learned how to say no a lot this summer. No. No. No. No, thank you. Yes, I'm serious. Yes, I mean it. No.

I said no to volunteer positions at my church. I said no to vacation plans with my extended family. I said no to Swim Team. I said no to teaching Vacation Bible School. I quit a bunch of church committees. I skipped out one some of my kids' extra-curricular meetings. I canceled a few play dates.

Some people took my "No thank you" calmly. Some took my "No thank you" badly. A few times my kids burst into such intense tears in front of me I thought that my heart would break.

At the end of an entire summer season--from May to August, a thousand "No thank yous" later, we actually have enough time, energy and money to consider a beach trip tomorrow. God willing, we're going to Assateague Island near Ocean City, Maryland. This is a beach front National Park where 300 wild ponies live.

We've lived in the Washington, DC area for 7 years. This could be our first ever trip to the beach! We're beach people! We simply never had a car, or never had enough money for gas, or never had enough vacation time or never had enough energy while I was pregnant or nursing.

It's shocking to me that after refusing to deplete myself over trying to please outside people this summer, I actually have enough energy to plan a Beach Trip while I've got first trimester morning sickness! God, please help me keep setting firm boundaries. I love the results of living happily inside God's Will for my life instead of veering off it at the slightest whiff of peer pressure!