My phone buzzed this week. It buzzes every few minutes. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, I’m addicted to that sound. Yes, I’m working on that.
But back to the buzz.
“Leslie, did you say you would chair XYZ committee?”
Crap. Chair a committee?
That sounds like a Leslie I once knew. Back when I had two kids, not three. Back when I was getting eight hours of sleep each night, not four. Back when I had an 8-5 job, not a “this business never stops” gig.
“Gosh, I would love to help, but I am definitely not going to be the chair,” I responded without a twinge of guilt.
There was a time that question would have made me anxious. I would ponder her words and feel badly about telling her no. Then I would end up being the chair of XYZ committee and would dread every moment of it.
I simply wouldn’t want to let her down.
Because that’s the right thing to do, right? We’re supposed to give our time and help others and volunteer at school, at church, in our community, for the neighborhood BBQ and the 20-year class reunion.
And it goes deeper than that.
We’re supposed to sign our kids up for every activity so they aren’t behind the other kids. We’re supposed to say “yes” to every coffee get together so we have lots of friends. We’re supposed to do all the things all the time because society says so.
Friends, I ditched the “supposed to” guilt a few years ago and haven’t looked back. And you know what? It feels pretty dang amazing.
All I am supposed to do right now is take care of my growing family and love them hard. Sometimes that means I am able to bake a casserole at dinner and even read a book or two before bed.
Sometimes that means I throw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a plate so I can focus on something else I’m supposed to do.
I work hard each day because I want to grow my business and I have to pay bills (for those kids I love so hard). And sometimes that means I’m up late at night finishing work. Or sometimes I’m up late at night watching a Netflix marathon with my guy.
Because he’s another “supposed to” that I don’t want to miss, you know?
In this season of life, all I can do each day is all I can do.
Is the baby fed? Do my girls have shoes to fit their growing feet? Did anyone change the cat’s dang litter box? Am I ever going to sleep again?
And in the moments between the chaos, I need to spend a little more time on me (I’ve got to use that gym membership I pay for each month) and a lot more time with God. And that’s it. That’s all I can do right now, which is all I’m supposed to do.
I’ve let go of the “supposed to” guilt. And now when my phone buzzes with another text message request, I can simply say, “no thanks” with no regrets.
Try it, friends. Figure out what you must do each day and let the rest go. There will be another season in your life when you can say “yes” a bit more often. But if that season isn’t now, if you too are in the “I’m not sleeping and I’m lucky to have clean underwear” stage of life, please learn to say no to all those “supposed to” requests and figure out what you really need each day to fill that bucket of yours.
Your time is too valuable for anything else.