This is a judgement free zone right? Phew, great! Because I am well aware of my recent post about showing humility and thinking about others rather than focusing on yourself, but I also feel compelled to write about the value of the word “no” and how finding a balance between service and self-care can be tremendously fulfilling. I personally do not believe that God wants us to work to the bone in service of others and entirely forget about our personal needs. I’ve been there and it is such an unhealthy way to go through life! When you really think about it, we are no good to those around us if we are not taken care of ourselves.
During my sophomore year in college I decided to pledge my sorority (Theta Phi Gamma Inc.), work full-time, and attend school full-time. Not only did I commit to each of these, but I was 100% wholeheartedly invested in giving my all to each responsibility. In the process I completely neglected my personal needs and in some ways, I believe, brought on my diagnosis. I was working myself to the bone–clearly this is a pattern in my life. Following my diagnosis, I struggled so much! I wanted to continue doing all of the things that I loved and living out my early 20s the way they should be–hanging out until late hours of the night, socially drinking, and finding the independence that I’d so longed for during my teenage years. Little did I know, things would work out entirely differently.
I was suddenly faced with the reality that I could not do all of the things that I wanted to. My mind and my body were no longer on the same page. Friends would invite me out for drinks and I’d go out of commitment, but be miserable the entire time. Birthday parties, movie dates, actual dates…I continued to push myself to be the “old Joezette” when I really needed to spend time investing in the “new Joezette”. The Joezette that finally embraced her journey and was okay with saying:
“No, I won’t be able to make it tonight. I really do want to be there to support you, but I need rest.”
“No, I won’t have a beer because I no longer enjoy the buzz…it actually makes me sick.”
“No, I won’t be able to hand in the assignment tomorrow because I was so busy working on other assignments, but may I please have an extension rather than staying up until 3am and making myself even more ill?”
Don’t get me wrong, serving others is one of the most rewarding habits that you can make a part of your daily life! However, I don’t believe that service should be associated with condemnation. It’s okay to say “no” every once in a while–try it! The next time that you wake up and feel that you are unable to fulfill a commitment because you really are just too tired, busy, having an extremely bad flare-up–whatever the issue may be, say “no“. You’ll be surprised to see that other opportunities for service will present themselves shortly thereafter, and most importantly, that life truly does go on!
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