The Pain of Subtraction



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Well, shoot. This Uncomfortable January post was painful. It kind of goes against everything I stand for. Dependability, having a huge capacity, being a game-day player and making it all work with effortless charm. Well, maybe those aren’t exactly things I stand for. Just things I strive for.

Strive. Yep, there it is. I’ve been striving these past few years. I just hate to say ‘no’. I wish it was because I was a kind soul who hates to hurt people’s feelings by telling them ‘no’. But, it isn’t that. I hate to say ‘no’ because I don’t like admitting I can’t do something. So, I keep my schedule full and stretch myself to fit everything in.

But, this is January. So, I gave it a try.

  • No, I can’t keep doing the writing job I’ve done for the past year. I just can’t. It keeps me up late at nights trying to get it done by the deadline each month. I just can’t keep doing it anymore.
  • No, I have to cancel the playdate. If I go to the park after school then I won’t have time to make dinner. Yea, it would already be taken care of if I had used the crock pot or stocked my freezer with meals I’ve cooked ahead of time. But, I don’t do that. I always forget.
  • No, I can’t be at the meeting anymore. All the other moms can seem to swing it and make it work. I just can’t. Mostly because they take up the most peaceful morning I have with my kids. Yep, that means I won’t be as high-profile as I’d like. Yep, I will have to forfeit some of my opportunity to shape the conversation. But, I just don’t want to. I miss my time. I guess I can’t run on empty after all.

I’m kind of freaked out by this process of taking things off my plate. It feels eerily strange. What if it all moves smoothly without me? What if no one really notices I’ve stopped? What if all this stuff wasn’t ever productive in the first place?

Well, here’s to you Uncomfortable January. I guess we will soon find out.


Filed under An Uncomfortable January

14 responses to “The Pain of Subtraction

  1. I hate saying no too but love those sweet times at home with Nate!

  2. I was JUST writing some thoughts about this in relationship to my dreams for 2013. I hate not being involved in everything, but hanging on when I feel like God is speaking to me about letting go has only ever resulted in me burning out and doing a crap job and letting people down in the end. Here’s to no!

  3. Leslie

    Woah. I think I’ve been living in the same thoughts…Ive let myself think that I don’t like saying ‘no’ because I don’t like disappointing people–but it really is because I don’t like admitting that I can’t make everything happen. That I can’t fit everything in. Thanks for drawing out this truth. Getting a new mindset about this will be most uncomfortable. And profitable.

  4. OK…it’s your Daddy again. I try to not overdo this “Leave A Reply” thing because I know I’m not necessarily your target audience! But let me say just one little thing here. Eternity. No, not the cologne. I mean, the REAL Eternity. Our schedules…including all of the “absolutely necessaries”…have to be filtered through eternal values. And this is what you do, Elizabeth. As hard as it is to do, you go for “best” over “good”…and I mean “best” according to God’s standards. (Like, time with your kids!) He leads…you follow. You’ve done it all your life, Sweetie. You can do it now.

  5. Lolly

    I was about your age when I realized I had over-extended myself. Everything I was doing was good…room mother, women’s group at church, Sunday School worker, and being a wife and mother on top of it all. I had spread myself too thin and it was affecting my family the most. I had become short-tempered and impatient with my family because I was hurrying on to “the next thing on my list.” I hated that. I remembered someone once told me, “A need doesn’t equal a call.”
    I was doing good things but at a cost to me and my family. That’s when I learned to start saying no, and have never regretted.

  6. Rachelle Dorroh

    I love this, Liz… God’s promise to me in the same vain has been that I would “do” the least I ever have before, and yet be more abundantly fruitful in the end! I join you in the ‘here’s to “no”‘! 🙂 And I love your dad’s wisdom – wrapping my heart around the eternal One who holds it all together!

  7. I love this and totally need a reminder because I do WAY too much. And I love reading these comments–what a sweet relationship you and your dad have.:)

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