Originally published Thursday, 25 July 2013.
Learning to use the word N.O.
Off balance. This described my sophomore year in college. The only problem is that I had no idea I was living off balance until I ran smack into mononucleosis. It is amazing how differently you look at your life situation when all you can do is stare at the ceiling, too tired to get out of bed, and think about how in the world you ended up there. I lived the college dream life, or so I thought. My days were jammed packed with having a blast with friends, the executive committee of my sorority, making some money with a part time job, and oh, a little school as well. I had too much fun to notice that I ran my body to the ground. God must have tried to get my attention to tell me to slow down several times, but I never listened. So, He let me hit a brick wall.
I realized during the many months of recovery that I couldn’t treat my body this way. I had to find a way toward balance in my life and this meant making time to take care of my physical and mental health. Looking back, though I missed out on many fun activities while laid up in bed, this lesson of balance is one I would be hard pressed to forget in the future.
I’m going to make a bold statement here that might make most of you ladies cringe: it is okay to say N.O. If you are the type who loves dinner with your girlfriends, but school has worn you out this week...N.O. is an acceptable answer. If you are the go to gal at work when an officemate needs help with a project and you are already neck deep...N.O. probably won’t get you fired. Or, if you have been running on empty, but the treadmill is calling your name...N.O. won’t mess up your fitness goals if you skip one workout.
A balanced life that makes time for rest is actually God ordained. If you don’t believe me, check out Genesis 2:2. Doesn’t it say that, on the seventh day of creation, God took a rest? Or take a look at Mark 1:35. Jesus broke away from the crowd begging for his attention to relax, rejuvenate and spend time with His Father. The Lord knows that our bodies can’t handle constant wear and tear so He set the standard Himself for balanced living and time for rest.
Take a few minutes to do a little exercise with me. Write out all the activities you are involved in. Then, put those activities into two categories:
~Absolute priority-N.O. is not an option(ie school, work, family, etc.)
~Moderate priority-N.O. might be an option if I’m worn out (ie. volunteer work, social clubs, work, friends, etc.)
The activities or responsibilities that fall into the first category are those that you just can’t skip out on. It is when you cut down on those in the second category and take time to rest that you can put your full attention into your top priorities. This is balance plain and simple.
I wish I could say that I have this concept down, but I don’t. Just the other day I hit that wall even after a great time of worship at church. I treaded water all week. By Sunday, I had nothing left and I was terribly grumpy. I don’t believe I took even five minutes the entire week to step back, prioritize and then say N.O. God never intended us to live our lives off kilter and our priorities out of whack. Had I taken that time to step back I wouldn’t have made life so miserable for those around me that one grumpy Sunday.
So, let's set an example for the women around us headed toward their own brick wall. Let's live our lives in balance. And, let's be bold and make it okay to say N.O. for our own sake. I’m headed to take a nap. How ‘bout you?
Inspiring Bible Verses:
Genesis 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.