31 Days

Moments, Day 3: Saying NO

So now that I’ve committed to cutting myself off of working a thousand hours a week, I of course see the big list of distractions that are starting to come my way. I had a cool moment that made me see how delicate my commitments can be. How lightly I can take them. And above all, how there is way  more at work than just what we can see in the flesh.

I got an email from a member of our district’s administrative team, someone I really respect. The email was an invitation-only opportunity to take some free graduate course that will help pilot a new online certification in a specific area of education. Oh, and not only this, but this new program that select teachers would be piloting just happened to be for my alma mater…the college I loved dearly.

So, what’s not to love about this? FREE graduate courses for a new, cutting-edge program at my all time favorite college, all initiated by a person in my district whom I respect and am certainly flattered by, being that she only selected a few teachers in our whole district to whom she extended the opportunity.The courses start in a couple of weeks and would run through the beginning of June, with a few weeks off before the start-date of the Master’s program I was already planning to begin next summer. Everything’s online and I go at my own pace. All I have to do is complete the courses like I would any other course and give feedback to the college about the new program. Sounds pretty good.  Sign me up, right??

Well that’s what I thought, except for as soon as I went to hit the “reply” button to let her know that I would gladly take one of the limited spots that were available for this one-time opportunity, I gor this feeling. A funny feeling, like I was just about to begin a huge adventure in missing the point.

This is a great opportunity. I’m flattered that I was considered. I can’t imagine what this respectable superior would think of me if I were to turn this type of thing down…I’m sure she would write me off and not offer any similar opportunities in the future.

But what about your promise? What about not being a workaholic? Didn’t you just begin the new goal of leaving work by 5pm each night so you could have some sort of life? So you could re-prioritize? So you could focus on what’s important?

Yeah, about that…

It only took a second to see what a terrible idea the whole thing would be. That it would undo everything I was so excited about doing…all the changes that might serve to make me a more balanced human being, one who enjoys life instead of just working it away. I could see that the only reason I was really wanting to do it was because for half a second, my ego had been stroked. Because I may be thought less of if I don’t jump at it and say yes.  Lord, help me. Why do I even care about that?

Wow. Talk about a reality check. So instead of giving into the [self-made?] pressure of doing what others might think is right, I crafted the most polite rejection email I’ve ever written. I explained that the opportunity was great but that with all of the other commitments in my life right now, it simply wasn’t feasible for me to take on this additional responsibility. I hoped it did the job, but actually I didn’t care all that much.

I was more excited that I’d had a moment where the Holy Spirit nudged me and I actually listened. Yay! As soon as the email was sent, I felt completely lightened. It dawned on me that if I was getting such resistance, that something was trying to distract me to the point where zn opportunity so tempting would pop up in my lap AS SOON as I started my new schedule and life, then what was I being distracted from? Obviously this whole rejecting-workaholic-ways thing is the right thing to do.

Thank you, God for that moment of clarity. It only makes me want this thing more.

Greater is He who is within me than he who is in the world.

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