We got home from Louisiana Monday. The trip was good. The kids had a great time. MaMaw and Pop got to feed them lots of icecream and hand out tractor rides. While there my sister gave Victoria the entire first season of Wonder Woman on dvd for her birthday. It had been a favorite show of mine when I was little, and Victoria is now enraptured with Wonder Woman as well. Aside from a deplorable lack of clothing on her very voluptuous figure, Wonder Woman is a very mild show. . .she dresses more modestly as her mild-mannered alter-ego, and she doesn’t always need her handsome Steve to save her.
I have been teaching a ladies’ Bible class at church this summer. I thought about several topics, looked at lots of books, and in the end came up with my own:
“Words to Live By: Modern day quotes from a Biblical perspective.”
This has been a lot of fun to do. . .and I’ve gotten to indulge my love of collecting wonderful quotes from various sources. The ones I chose as focus lessons are ones that are particularly meaningful to me. . .mostly they apply to current or long-term struggles of my own. Some of these collected gems will be sprinkled throughout this post.
We arrived home to several phone messages. . .one of them a call from my school secretary. As it turns out, a position has come available that is a teaching AND administrative position all rolled into one. She was calling on behalf of our new principal to issue a personal invitation for me to come and interview for it. My first reaction was to laugh hysterically–which I did–in my kitchen. After that I was really glad I’d not been home to receive the phone call so I could come up with a more professional refusal. I called the outgoing Academic Achievement Helping Teacher (the job that was up for grabs) to ask why she was leaving–she’s a friend that I knew was considering staying home–and she encouraged me to take the job. “Thanks, but no thanks,” said I. (“Horse-sense is ‘stable’ thinking hitched up with the ability to say ‘Nay.’” Unknown)
I called the next morning and got the new principal rather than the secretary. I thanked her for her issuing such an invitation (only three of us were called), and declined stating my reasons very clearly . (“Women aren’t trying to do too much. Women have too much to do.” May Kay Blakely) She proceeded to poo-poo all of my reasons and strongly encouraged me to reconsider my refusal. Again, I said thanks but no thanks.
TODAY I get a call from one of the school counselors asking that I really pray about and think about this. . .I would be the “perfect fit.” I care about my students on a personal as well as academic level. . .and so the words flowed. It was harder to say no to her–she’s a friend as well.
I had JUST HUNG UP THE PHONE WITH HER when the outgoing teacher/administrator called AGAIN to see if I’d made up my mind. I thought I had stated it clearly the day BEFORE.
My point being this. It is very, very hard for me to say “No.” (“In this life sometimes we have to choose between pleasing God and pleasing man. In the long run it’s better to please God—he’s more apt to remember. Harry Kemelman) I have been a pleaser most of my life. I tend to go above and beyond to make even the least involved person in my life feel loved and appreciated. I have done this to the point of burning out on more than one occasion. I used to do this mainly because of insecurity about whether or not someone would like me. . .now it’s about what they will think of me. . and it is still a struggle. After the counselor’s call this morning, it took me about an hour to get a handle on myself and my guilt over saying no. (“Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty, and I’ll show you a man.” Erica Jong) It is flattering to be wanted and needed. . .there is also a lot of guilt that I tend to carry over disappointing people. I had to go back and revisit all of the reasons I initially turned the job down. And I am confident with my decision.
(“The best time to make a decision is before you have to make one.” Unknown)
When my friend Doris (the outgoing gal) called again this afternoon, I said, “I would love to do it someday–just not this day.” She said, “Well, this opportunity might not come up again for awhile. If you EVER want to do it, now is the time.” And my reply was, “It WILL come up again, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.” And I meant it. Right now I have two leadership positions in my full-time job, a very full-time family, and not only that, but I’m “crafts lady” for Brownies this year. . .what more do they want from me??????????????????????????????????
(“Let me not bite more off the cob than I have teeth to chew.” Ogden Nash)
Well, what they want me to do the job they want me to do rather than the one I need to do. So this very descriptive post is written for me to clear my head and for me to say this to anyone who needs to hear it. Listen to your own voice–not the one in your head, but the one in your gut. (“When I was young, I didn’t worry about making decisions. If I found I was on the wrong road it was easy to go back. The distances were shorter. Now I’m all the time second guessing; wondering if I’m doing right. Sometimes in the night I’m woken up by my own voice—the voice of a woman, a mother, a child. Those are the times I have to close my eyes and listen hard and hope that one of these voices will come clear and be right.” Lilly Harper From I’ll Fly Away) The one that screams “NO! NO! NO! Absolutely not!” or “I’d never thought of that. Maybe I ought to try.” or “Not right now, but someday.” Of course there are lots of times when we need to follow our head rather than our gut. . .when we need to “Think yourself into feeling better rather than feel yourself into thinking better.” But I truly believe it is the gift of God–that gut reaction to something. . .especially when we’ve lived long enough to pair our intuition with wisdom.
It’s taken me years to learn that lesson. . .today it took me only one hour to come back to what I already knew. I know what’s best for me and my family. Thank you God for the lessons of life and the ability to grow and learn every day.
*UPDATE. . .July 13, 9:30 a.m.* The counselor called AGAIN just to make sure. I still told her no. I’m thinking of taking the phone off the hook. 🙂