I found this picture on Pinterest a while back, and it pretty much describes my life in high school to a T. I am really really REALLY bad at saying no when people ask me to do things. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that on the internet because now anyone who needs to add a person to their club or group or activity could seek me out and I won’t be able to say no to them. Ah!
Looking back, it seems like way too big of a portion of my high school career was spent doing things I didn’t enjoy. There were so many things in high school that I felt obligated to be a part of, and I ended up being way overloaded during my senior year. Take a lesson from me, high schoolers, college students, toddlers, and adults alike: If you don’t want to do something, it’s okay to SAY NO. You might disappoint someone, but you have to take care of yourself first. That’s something that I’m slowly but surely realizing is so important. I was in about a million and one activities in high school because people kept asking me to join them. How many things am I doing (besides my classes) now that I’m in college? Three. And let me tell you, it’s amazing. In high school I was leaving for school at 6 or 7 am and sometimes not getting back home from all my various activities until almost midnight. Then I’d still have to do all my homework for the next day and somehow find time to eat, sleep, and hopefully shower. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably telling yourself that you’re “becoming a more well-rounded individual,” but in the long run, you really might be doing yourself a lot more harm than good.
It doesn’t matter how long your list of accomplishments can get if you’re not enjoying your life in the meantime. Don’t sacrifice your high school years just to try to achieve as many things as possible. Sure, it’s great to push yourself and live up to your full potential as much as you possibly can, but stop. Take a break. Enjoy where you’re at. Right now you might be at a stressful time in your life. It’s crunch time in the semester. College application deadlines are starting to roll around. You might even already be worried about prom (forever guilty of that). But just remember that it’s okay to stop and breathe. Eat a bowl of ice cream. Go out to dinner with your friends. Make a pizza with your parents. Ride your bike. Read a book. Tell God how your day is going. Everything will still get done. God is in control. He has a plan for you and it’s so, so good. You’ll feel way better in the long run if you stop and enjoy the ride. I know for some of you, you’re saying, “No Kathryn, you don’t understand how busy I am. I don’t have time to stop and take a break.” That’s definitely something I would have thought if I would have read a post like this a year ago. I’ve been there, and I can promise you that it’s all going to work out incredibly and God’s glory will come through. You don’t have to be the best at everything (or anything at all!), but God will fill you up and help you be the best that you can be.
How do you say no when you don’t want to do things? What are your best mechanisms for coping with stress? Leave me a comment, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @hopekathryn17! I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”