I've started saying No.
I'm a people pleaser. Definition (according to the Urban Dictionary): People pleasers are doormats who let high expectations, resentment, and saying yes when they mean no run their lives. They are set on being perfect and nice. (In other words, a people pleaser is a person who spends a lot of energy pleasing others.) Yes. That's me. In elementary school, my main focus was pleasing my mama, who had a knack for scaring the nether world out of me with her emotional outbursts. Who doesn't want to avoid that?
In my teen years, it was agreeing with boyfriends and friends, and in my adult years, it has been a bright and enthusiastic YES exclamation point!! to watching neighbor's kids, being present at all parties at school, and selling hot dogs at the concession stand during baseball season (Worst. Volunteer. Job. EVER. Why? First of all, some concession stands don't have calculators. That's right. In 2013. No, I don't want to do that math in my head. Even though I so totally can, but whatever. Also? When the concession stand closes, you have to stay after and clean up the icky crock pot full of unidentifiable meat/chili/nasty hot dog sauce and the hot dog turning thingy and wash dishes and...OK, see, I like my kitchen. I like working in my kitchen. I know where everything is, I know how I clean, I know the last time a new sponge was introduced to the dishes. Important note: I will never, ever eat an non-prepackaged food item from the concession stand. Ever. But moving on.)
I have, up until December of the year 2013, said yes to many things that I didn't want to do but thought that I should. Because it would make me a better person, more likable, it was a good use of my time, it would tell my kids how much I loved them, I'm paying it forward--whatever the reasons I've had, I always said yes. Then I roll my eyes and shake my head and dread the job. And if it's a job I can do at home, I put it off until the last minute. (Confession: I'm a terrible volunteer. You probably shouldn't ask me.)
We are all gifted in different ways. Some are administrative, paying attention to details and they have this thing for multi-tasking. Some are good at hospitality, throwing great dinner parties and making Meals-On-Wheels (ahead, probably). Some are effective leaders, commandeering troops and becoming Commander-In-Chief of any committee you throw at them. Some are wonderful teachers, bringing lessons to life.
I might be missing my gifts. Like I never got any. Which is awesome.
But now, I'm finally learning that it's okay to say no. To set boundaries. It doesn't make me less of a person, or unlikeable, or tell my kids that I do not love them. It doesn't make me less of a Christian, or unwilling to serve God or the church. It makes me smart for not stretching myself so thin that I burn out and yell at my kids and burn the pasta and go to bed exhausted. It gives me time for other opportunities. And I'm looking out for those opportunities that might stretch me and make me grow, that will challenge me and force me to hone in on the skills that I do have.
Maybe even discover what my gifts really are.
Which would be totally awesome.