those two tiny words

I don’t want to pack. The task of laying out everything I need for two months on the floor, and then trying to fit it into a suitcase that only weighs 23kg is not something that makes me jump out of my bed and rush to do.

How am I meant to know what to take for two months, how am I meant to know what will happen in that time? I’m writing mainly as a distraction from it all, the packing and the cleaning…but also because I have figured that I haven’t written much in 2016. I haven’t given time to it or made it a part of my life. I swore to myself that I would on January 1st – that writing would be something I did regularly. That it would be good for me. And then as with most things I promise myself I forgot and I got too busy with other things.

I have been having this conversation with various people over the past few years about the word ‘no’. The word which somehow kids seem to learn early and say all the time and then when we reach adulthood some of us forgot it exists. I’m often a yes person; ‘yes’ i will help you out, ‘yes i will come to that event’, ‘yes of course i have time to do all of the jobs you are giving me’.

It has lead to me not necessarily making wise decisions over the years. It has lead to me having experienced some form of burn-out, encountered panic attacks and generally being tired more often than rested.

I fully believe that sometimes you have to say yes when you don’t want to, or when it might be hard. But I also know that the word ‘no’ is just as important. Learning to say ‘I’m sorry but I can’t come’ or ‘I’m sorry but I don’t have time to do that as well as all the other things’. Because when I say ‘yes’ all the time, and i don’t think this only happens to me, my yes becomes a mess of tiredness and half done jobs or helping out, and seems to lead to disappointment, and broken promises.

I mean Jesus said it best:

 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matt 5:37

It seems this isn’t just a modern day problem, but something humanity has been struggling with for a while.

But I think, very slowly I’m learning when to say yes and when to say no, and how to do it all in the best way. I should have said yes to more writing this year, yes to more of the words flowing out of my head than being stuck there for months swirling around. I should have said no to a lot of the things I have done and taken on. And right now I should say yes to packing, so I can fly back to England tomorrow.

So if you know me and you start to hear the word ‘no’ more often, please encourage it, I’m sure in some ways it will lead to a more healthy way for us all to live.


*image from


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