It’s Okay to Say No, Not Right Now.

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We are in unprecedented times.  Every single one of us is navigating a new reality that we didn’t sign up for and were not prepared for.  You may have always dreamed of working from home, and now when tossed into the reality of it… maybe it’s less than you dreamed of.  Your kids may have begged you to homeschool them, and if you are like me… your kids are dying to back among their fellow students. I think the complexity of this is compounded because it’s not just working or schooling from home… but the inability to break from the home that makes it so much harder.  We didn’t get what we were dreaming of, instead we got a haphazard version of it.

Additionally it is all being hurled at us all at once.  We didn’t get a slow transition into working from home, homeschooling, etc.  It was left on our doorstep, for us to tend to, without any idea or experience of how we would get off the ground running.  For those of us who also serve in our churches or ministry, we are also being asked to add to that already daunting load to lead our Small Groups online, to find ways to connect with members of the church, to run our ministry virtually.  We are learning new software, new programs, new ways to communicate, and it can seem to much.

I am a go with the flow kind of gal.  I love learning new things.  I enjoy challenges and don’t mind putting in the work.  I embrace change as new opportunity.  But, as much as I do love it… I also can become very overwhelmed with too much, too fast, at one time.  This led to a full on break down just a few days ago.  I sat on my bed, eating my gluten free oatmeal, crying.  I wasn’t afraid.  I was overwhelmed by expectations.  I was overwhelmed by the lack of an end in sight.  For how long would this continue?  I was overwhelmed by the lack of clear strategy and planning for so many different things at once.  The idea of just winging it and hoping for the best doesn’t work in my mind.  I can go with the flow, but I still like to have an idea of where we are going, how we are getting there, and what the general timeline is.

Maybe I’m not as go with the flow as I thought.

Here is what I learned that day, when I sat crying over my oatmeal.  It is okay to say no.  It is okay to say not now.  I realized that it was important to me to keep my commitments, but it was also okay for me to say “not right now” to anything new.  Just as it was important for me to share that with the people whom I work with in ministry.  My life is adjusting just as much as anyone else, and my life has a new set of needs to meet just like everyone else.

So, for right now, I know what I can do… and what I can’t do.  What is most important for me in this moment is ensuring my kids online/virtual school gets up and running and in to routine.  It is okay for me to wait on adding any new tasks or responsibilities until the dust settles from this change.  During this time of wait, I can begin to familiarize myself with different virtual resources for my ministry without the pressure of needing to perform right NOW.  Then once I feel ready and equipped, I can reach out to those I serve with and let them know that I’m ready to tackle something new.

It is okay to say no.

It is okay to say not now.

It is okay to ask for extra time.

It is okay to let the dust settled.

It is okay to adjust to your new home life first.

The rest of it, will happen, as it needs to & when it needs to.  And if in the end, before you are ready to go virtual … life resumes to the way it once was.  No big deal.  You are ready to pick up where you left off.  That is okay, too.

What we have learned from this experience will be valuable to our future.  It will change how we respond and react when some other crisis comes knocking.  We will be prepared for then, because of now.  So, once life goes back to normal… I’m going to put into practice learning and using some of these virtual resources so that when crisis comes knocking in the future… I’m not feeling so overwhelmed by it.   Next go around our businesses, schools, churches, and ministry will already have a basic response to refer to.  Next time, it will go easier, faster, smoother.  This is just the season of bumpy roads.

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