It's a real thing... but we can overcome.
Throughout high school I suffered a serious case of approval-addiction. I would give anything to please anyone. I would do things that sometimes didn't align with my convictions or core beliefs just to get in with the 'Cool Crowd'. On top of that I had this extreme fear that if I said 'no' to something - such as an event, a party or anything where anyone I deemed 'important' was going to be there - I felt as though I was going to miss out on a grand opportunity in my life or that my world had dramatically shifted all because of one trivial event. I wanted to be able to do everything.
I thought that these things, places and people shaped the course of my life and if I didn't say yes to these moments, I wouldn't find the fulfilment, joy, peace and all those other beautiful things we so often seek after. My life was in there hands so to speak, well, at least I thought it was.
The added problem to my approval-addiction was that I am naturally an extroverted person. I love being around others, being the life of the party, and it energises me to be with groups of people. This what not a good combination for someone who had a fear of missing out on 'the best' opportunities or moments. What if there were two events planned on the same night that I was invited to? What if I say yes to one thing but then 'something better' seemed to have come up? I was wayward, unstable and constantly fretting that I would miss out on something because ultimately, I wasn't secure in my own decision-making and life direction. There was some work that needed to be done within my heart. I did eventually grow out of this phase but it wasn't without struggle.
Somewhere around the same time that I was graduating from High School, I met a woman at a church service meeting who spoke some words of encouragement to me. She said many things but I remember her distinctly saying to me 'You will not miss out. You will not miss out.' Soon after I received revelation on this...
Saying 'no' to some things in your life will set you up for the better 'yes' in your life.
I realised what I wish I could have learnt many years ago and saved myself from a bunch of stress, drama and pain. It is impossible to say 'yes' to everything. What is even more liberating from this truth? You don't have to say 'yes' to everything!
Do you ever find yourself fatigued and can't quite figure out why? You constantly wake up tired but you are getting a decent night's sleep? You can be easily agitated or frustrated? You feel as though you have some free time during your week but it all of sudden gets snatched from you and you have no idea where it went?
This was me. I so desperately wanted to be able to do everything that I was unable to do any of it productively (or wholeheartedly). This revisited me a couple of weeks ago as there was just so much going on in my life. I was asking myself (and God) 'why do I feel so close to the edge!?'. I was gently reminded that I had started slipping back into my old ways. Which is why I felt compelled to write this post.
Don't allow others to put endless demands on you, listen to your inner voice.
What are you doing that you don't need to be doing? Are you walking in the direction of where you want to be going? Are you giving time to what really matters?
These are all questions I ask myself. I don't want to be doing anything that is distracting me from where I need to be or from my purpose. I want to be intentional about my time and I want to give it first to people and things that matter.
Figure out what is really important to you and this will set a compass for your life's course. I believe this can change from time to time. We have seasons of particular focus and then some others where there is more room to breathe. Ultimately, you should have an over-arching 'Yes' that determines your life-direction.
You're biggest yes will determine what you say no to.
And remember - all the times you said 'no' to something like, say a party so you could be at your family dinner or 'no' to drinks with the girls so you could be prepared for your exam the next day - remember that you will live in the benefits of these moments and choices in the days, months and years to come. You are sowing into people and places, not to mention yourself and I believe that is building for you a strong, intentional and purposeful foundation.
I'll say it again sweet girl, you will not miss out...