We Interrupt Your Day…
Note: If you are a Weight Loss Wednesday gal, please click here to locate our cyber accountability group now called His Weigh Wednesdays and lead by Lindsey Feldpausch. New comers always welcome!
ALSO: GIVEAWAY ALERT!! Visit here Friday when I’ll be offering a giveaway in conjunction with my Proverbs 31 sister Renee Swope. My book The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized will be featured on her site and we are both offering giveaways based on it. Two chances to win!!!
So last time, we chatted about knowing when to let God divert us from our ‘plan A’ ( our ‘to-do’ list for the day) to His ‘plan B’. These are those times that He sends a sick child, a hurting friend, a lonely neighbor or a needy relative to us.
However, the trouble is…how can you tell it is always God?
What about those people in our lives (we all have them) who are habitually ‘needy’; not because they are in a tough stage of life or have an illness or tragedy they are dealing with, but because the have, well…’situations’.
You know situations that they themselves have created.
They are in crisis due to a lack of planning on their part and now have a fire to put out. Now, they could do the hard work of putting out their own self-made fire but instead, they call the local fire department: YOU!!
Or perhaps they come to you out of laziness.
(I once had a woman call me for a phone number; one I knew she had in the church directory just as I did. When I told her the number she was seeking was clearly listed there, she said, “I know. But I’m in the basement and it is on the second floor. Can’t you just go get yours and read it to me?” She never asked how far I was from my church directory. I was one floor away.)
Being a person who for much of my life has been addicted to the approval of others, this has been a great source of headaches and heartaches for me.
People call with their crisis.
They dump their crisis in my lap.
Their crisis now becomes my crisis.
I happily (most of the time) rescue them.
But behind the scenes, I fuss and fume and stress myself plum out.
All over something THAT I NEVER CAUSED!!!!
So what’s a gal to do?
I have some thoughts, but would like to hear yours too.
One thing a wise mentor and friend told me was to use the phrase “Help me to understand…”
As in “Help me to understand why, when you forgot to make cookies for tonight’s PTA meeting, I should have to switch days with you an hour before the meeting? I don’t have time to make treats today or I would have signed up for today!” (Said with kindness and a smile, of course!)
I’ve also gotten caller ID on my phone. BIG help there. If someone calls who I know will expect me to interrupt my day and resuce them right now, I can return their call.
I also have been told by a few straight-shooting, caring friends that I am an easy mark. “You come across as so friendly, inclusive, approachable and helpful. (Good…good. I think God wants us to be that way.)
So, women feel they can ask you to do them a favor or even do their work for them. But in reality, you are doing them no favor by rescuing them. You are enabling them to continue to be needy, lazy (ouch!) and overly dependent on others rather than on God. Actually Karen, at that point, you aren’t being a very good friend. You are being a bad one.”
I don’t want to be a bad friend.
How about you?
Okay…so let us know: How do you handle people who habitually ‘suck your time’ (as my husband calls it)? (He tells me often, “Honey, if you aren’t intentional in filling your time, there are dozens of people out there willing to fill it for you!”)
Oh, and feel free to comment anonymously.
I don’t want one of your friends calling you and saying….”were you referring to me?”
Oh well… I guess you could always check your caller ID before you answered, right?
My Mom always told me, “it’s always more than what you think.” What this means is every commitment requires more than we realize. It may be explained in a very simple way or the requirements even shown in print, but IT IS ALWAYS MORE THAN WHAT YOU THINK. It is!
I’m a people-pleaser by nature, but I have been forced to learn to commit to less because of my chronic migraines. (Lord willing, I’m on the road to recovery, but it will take time.)
I have also realized lately that I don’t want to be so focused on pleasing people but on pleasing my Lord.
I learned the valuable lesson of saying no in college. A lady in my church worked part time at my university and had 2 small girls. I worked for her cleaning her house and then keeping her girls. At first it was just for an hour once a week but then she started calling more often – always at the last minute and always there was a “crisis.”
The straw that broke the camels back came the fall semester of my senior year. My time was jam packed – working 20 hours a week on campus, taking 21 hours of classes, taking tests for my teachers license and had a boyfriend (who became my husband 8 months later). I had already explained to the lady that I could not possibly watch her kids that semester (oh, and she paid terrible!) but she called anyway. In tears. Because she felt the new sitter was letting her daughter do unsafe things. I gave her names for a few other girls that might could help but she kept pushing. Thankfully I stuck to my no!
Now that I’m a mom I appreciate the situation she was in but I also recognize her “crisis” was almost always of her own making.
My husband will often say, “Did they need their windows washed?” I do want people to like me and will thus voluntarily take on whatever I am asked to do. Age has helped. I have learned to say, “I really am sorry I just can’t help you with that right now.” – with a smile of sympathy.
…. random early button push- sorry- blogging on my iPhone in bed- it’s actually a sickness ;)
Finishing… Every yes is actually a no to something else- usually my family or God so as a super people pleaser I have had to say I would love to but I can’t at the moment – I have hasd some extremely surprised and put out people but I think I need to make other things namely Fod & my wee ones a priority.
I especially like the suggestion above about actually being able to say that you want to stop and take it to God in prayer- how many broken commitments and hurt feelings and bad advice would that save,
I’m glad to meet you & I am thankful for your post today,
Communication has been a big theme this week for me- you know when God starts to put something everywhere you go??
I have been really convicted to slow down answering- especially “yes”. Whatever I say yes to now has a consequence- I have a seriously sick toddler, a teen on school hold , our farm and
I have lived most of my 60 years as a people pleaser…rescuing people made me feel good…at least until I got over whelmed and it affected my family. I have finally learned (almost) how to pause before I just blurt out “Of course I can”. Saying that on the phone is easier since I am not looking the person right in the eyes, but l am a work in progress. Now I say, “Can I pray on it?” and that gives me time to ask God if that is really something He wants me to do…If it is, He will give me time time and resources to do it…
The hardest part of our journey as women is learning the difference between what we can do for others and what they need to do for themselves.
My personality is also a helper and reaching out to others comes naturally. God showed me in a powerful way to let it go and let it sit and let them figure it out just as we did for our children. We did not give them all the answers we allowed them to problem solve first then if they stayed stuck we would come to their side and help. Realizing that the world does continue whether I help or not was critical to be learning to back up and let it be.
Sometimes people make bad choices and that is ok. We learn from them.
I definitely think I’m an easy mark – but hopefully am becoming less of an easy mark over the last year. Now my problem resides less with others and more with my semi-adult child. You know the one who is over 18, a straight A student, but who asks me for info because it is easier to ask me than to look it up herself. Like a phone number. Puhleeze. Said child likes to consider that adulthood has been reached, but behavior says otherwise. It surely seems that said child wants the privileges of adulthood, yet not bear the responsbility of adulthood. And as a mom, it’s very, very hard to decline the opportunity to “rescue” said child when in reality what should be done is allow said child to sleep in the bed that was made – if you get my drift. Hope you can all understand me! I don’t mean to be ambiguous, but I suppose it’s likely that anyone who has walked in my shoes knows exactly what I’m talking about. LOL
I have a family member who often feigns ignorance or takes advantage when she truly does not have the knowledge by saying… “You’re so smart, you know all that stuff, can you ____?” I have done tons silly things for her, many of them online things, some forms that took an hour or more to complete! All while she is single, with grown children out of her house! Meanwhile, my three children (two young ones!) have to entertain themselves!
I have decided this compliment “You’re so smart” is really an insult… it means “You are not smart enough to say no to me!”
Thanks for the interesting blog & some good ideas on how to say no! :0)
I am learning to continually seek God because I too am an “easy mark” for people in crisis. I love to be the “rescuer” but am realizing it is not the best thing for my family or for my friends. Learning to draw those boundaries is difficult. Thanks for the good thoughts Karen – love reading your blog!