You know the story. Bad Guy is really bad. Good Guy is weak, but fights anyway. Good Guy and Bad Guy have a climatic encounter. Here’s how it played out in what is now known as Episode V of the Star Wars saga.
[Lightsaber battle…join me…i won’t, you’re evil…]
Darth Vader: “No, I am your father.”
Luke Skywalker: “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”
If you’ve seen Empire Strikes Back, (and if you haven’t stop now and get thee to a blu-rayery), you will remember this classic scene. Vader revealing the devastating news he is in fact the proud papa of the universe’s only hope to bring balance to the Force, Luke.
Luke can’t accept the truth. It’s just too much for him to process. His response? “No!’
Sometime we say no because we can’t imagine the alternative. We say no when the truth is just too painful to face.
This is understandable and maybe even healthy. We need time to work through reality and by suspending our belief, even if only in a verbal denial, we give ourselves the space to work through the pain, sorrow, struggle, etc.
Sometimes we say no because something is just plain wrong (“Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we all walked around with paper horns sticking off our heads?”). We don’t want to feed our children cookies every time they ask for them. We don’t want to jump off bridges just because our friends do. We don’t drive after drinking or buy cigarettes for the underage neighbor kid. We don’t run with scissors. Sometimes we say no because it would be wrong to say yes.
Saying no to distance ourselves from difficulty or to demonstrate the wrongness of something, these are pretty clear.
My problem is saying no when the danger is less obvious and/or when saying no means letting someone down (including myself).
I sometimes need to say no to opportunities that are good so that I can focus on what I’m already involved in.
I sometimes need to say no because I really don’t have the time or talent.
I sometimes need to say no to protect my mental/spiritual/physical health.
I sometimes need to say no so others can step in and shine.
I sometimes need to say no so I can later say yes.
Saying no at these times and in these situations is so much harder for me. What a gift this wilderness time is to evaluate how I spend my time, what I’m saying yes to and what I need to begin saying no to.
Have you taken time to make your own evaluations? What needs to go? What is distracting you? What are you feeding that needs to be starved?
I’m really asking. I’d love to hear how you make these decisions. How you prioritize and simplify? Let’s learn from each other.
Life is better together,