saying yes to saying no.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who had problems saying no.

You know, just say no and all that (thanks, D.A.R.E. I’ve since forgotten everything I learned in fifth grade about how to resist drug abuse, but I’m sure it was helpful.) I consider myself a strong, independent woman, by which I mean am can be stubborn. Just a bit.

But if you’ve been around these parts for a while, you might know that I’m a bit of a perfectionist and  maybe an overachiever and perhaps control freak wouldn’t be too far off. Throw those together with two time-consuming majors and a slight inferiority complex that is the result of having two genius brothers, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster that results in 22-credit hour semesters. Let’s talk about poor life choices.

I’ve always felt the need to do it all, and to have it together. Or at least, look like I’ve got it together. 4.0 GPA. Involved in church. Always smiling. I’m fine.

College has been a hard and messy and painful and beautiful journey in letting go of control. Letting go of perfection. Learning to trust. And if I may say so myself, I think I’ve grown a lot since my freshman year when I basically laid on a couch and cried to my small group leader about being afraid that I was going to pick the wrong second major and ruin the rest of my life.

(Okay, so maybe I’ve got a bit of a flair for the dramatic, too. Just a bit.)

But I’ve been learning that it’s okay. It’s okay to not have everything together, and it’s okay to let people know that. I’ve been learning that I don’t need to earn people’s approval, or their love, and I certainly don’t need to earn God’s.

He calls me Beloved.

And that is enough.

So this semester, I’m learning to say no. To say no to an outrageous course load. To say no to a student group that I want to join, but don’t quite have time for. To say no to only accepting straight A’s from myself. To say no to expecting perfection.

I’m giving myself permission to say no. Making space for selfcare, because it only took me three years to realize that sometimes, my mental and emotional health is more important than my grade point average. And when I say sometimes, what I really mean is always.

But saying no also means saying yes. I’m saying yes to investing more in relationships. To taking care of my body and my soul. To delving ever deeper into the Word. To believing that my worth is in the Lord and that will never change.

I’m finding freedom. And in that freedom, I’m finding peace.

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