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Say “No,” So You Can Say “Yes”

A Heart of Dakota Life
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A Heart of Dakota Life

Say “No,” So You Can Say “Yes”

As homeschool moms, we have so many ways to use our time. With all of the activities, events, groups, field trips, and educational opportunities we have available, we can easily fill up every minute of every day. The problem with this is we really do need time to homeschool our children. When every minute is spoken for, little time is left to actually homeschool. This is why it is so important to know when to say ‘no’ to something, so you can say ‘yes’ to homeschooling.

What Was Once Good May Not Be Any Longer

As a mom of one son, I started a women’s Bible study. I dove into each weekly lesson with delight, taking long notes in my leader’s guide and carefully planning each lesson. What prop would I share? Which Christian music would I play as ladies arrived? What special homemade treat could I take? Which Little Hands to Heaven lesson would I plan for the children’s leader? I loved leading that women’s Bible study with all my heart. Beginning with 7 women, within several years, the Bible study grew to 50+ women. One class became 5 classes, and as the number of attendees and leaders grew, so did my family. Adding a baby changed things. Gone was the time to lovingly plan and prepare each lesson, and left was one exhausted mama. I woke up one day realizing that which was once a good thing, was not any longer.

Do Fewer Things, Better

I learned so much from leading that women’s Bible study! First, I learned how much I loved delving into God’s Word. Second, I learned how much I loved children learning about God with Little Hands to Heaven. Third, I learned I loved encouraging fellow Christian women. But fourth, I learned the importance of doing fewer things, better. The women’s Bible study was only one of many things I’d piled on my plate that year. I had 150+ students’ work I corrected online for a Christian curriculum company. Twice each week, my sister and I took turns watching each other’s children. Every spare minute, my husband and I worked on renovating our 100+ year old house. My son had speech therapy. My baby had reflux. Hubby took a traveling sales job. My plate wasn’t just full; it was overflowing.

If you say ‘no,’ life will go on!

What’s on your plate? Have you piled on too much? Are you exhausted and running on empty? Do you know something has to change, but worry what will happen if it does? Well, I am here to say that if you say ‘no’ and start to ‘unpile your plate,’ life will go on! How I agonized over saying I could not lead the Bible study and oversee the program anymore!!! Countless sleepless nights. When I did say ‘no,’ it was after much prayer, and it was hard – very hard. Not everything went smoothly, and there was a lot of guilt involved. But, you know what? Life went on, and so did the Bible study. Other ladies stepped up to the plate to lead, and do you know what? They dove into each weekly lesson with delight and planned each session with care. I am sure they loved leading that women’s Bible study.

The Powerful Act of ‘Unpiling Your Plate’

That year I ‘unpiled my plate.’ I took off the teaching and leading of the Bible study. Next, I took off the 150+ students whose work I was correcting online each day by quitting that job. Then, I took off the speech therapy sessions – my son was doing just fine. Last, I slowed down the renovating of our home; it could wait. I kept on my plate that which I’d learned I truly loved! Delving into God’s Word stayed on the plate; it just became something I did on my own each morning. Teaching children about the Lord with Little Hands to Heaven stayed on the plate; it just became something I did with only my own sons. Encouraging fellow Christian women stayed on the plate; it just became something I did through my work with  Heart of Dakota. Playing with the cousins stayed; it just changed to once a week.

What’s on your plate?

So, what’s on your plate? Take a moment to just imagine actually putting each thing you have chosen to do in your life on a dinner ‘plate.’ Make sure you envision portion sizes that equal the amount of time you devote to each. What does your plate look like? Do you have a manageable amount on it, or is it piled high to the point of overflowing?  Do you need a platter instead of a plate?!? That summer so many years back I learned the power of being mindful of picking carefully what I put on my plate.

Fully enjoy your homeschooling by always having a section on your ‘plate’ reserved for it!

Ever since that summer, I have always kept a part of my ‘plate’ just for homeschooling. Just like those heavy duty styrofoam dinner plates that have sections to separate your food, my ‘plate’ has a section always reserved for homeschooling. True, I’ve had to pass up on some things – maybe even some good things – on the buffet, but it has always been a more pleasing plate to me in the end. I find when I have set aside enough time in my life to teach, I truly love my homeschooling. It is not always easy to do, but it is always worthwhile. So, what’s on your plate? Choose only the best, reserve a section for homeschooling, and ‘unpile’ if you need to – what you are left with will be well worth it!

In Christ,

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Kelly Hill

    Thank you, Julie! Your words are always such an encouragement and so practical! You often say what I am thinking or looking for which really helps with confidence and direction!

    1. So glad this post spoke to you in an encouraging and practical way, Kelly! I try to ‘unpile my plate’ now and then still myself – it’s amazing how easily it can fill up again when I’m not mindful of it. Thanks for responding here and for supporting our blog!!!

  2. Leeza

    Thanks, Julie! This has been on my mind lately, and starting homeschool in August, I have told myself to stop saying “yes” to everything around that time and start focusing on homeschool. Your article just confirmed that I’m on the right track! Thanks again! Your story is very encouraging.

    1. Summer is such a good time to reflect, and I often find that is when I make some needed changes that make my upcoming homeschool year be even better. It’s so good to hear you found encouragement in this post, and I hope your choosing what to say ‘no’ to helps your ‘yes’ to homeschooling be even sweeter! God bless, Leeza!

      In Christ,

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