I don’t like disappointing people, missing out on opportunities, and not being where the action is. Saying yes gives me a sense of purpose and solidifies my identity as a valuable person.
It can also leave me exhausted with little space in my life to rest and be kind to my body. Rushing from one thing to the next lessens the enjoyment of what I’m doing. More and more I notice that I like checking some things off my list more than actually doing them.
I’ve been discerning whether to take another year off from directing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life with the Jesuit Spirituality Apostolate of Vancouver. It’s good work that I love doing, but it takes a fair bit of time and energy.
When I thought about saying no I realized I was afraid. I was afraid of disappointing people, missing out, and letting go of a solid part of my identity.
But as I held that no in my hand longer and imagined letting it go, I felt more than fear, I felt liberated. I felt like God had put another Saturday in my week.
So I said no.
Then I said no again to something else I thought about doing even though I know someone will be disappointed.
“I need to disappoint people more,” a directee of mine said recently. He has embraced this new freedom as a divine invitation.
I think I can too.
Ask [God for the grace] to be free enough to be influenced only by this one value: which alternative will give most glory to God and be expressive of my own deepest self, my authentic self?
–Jim Manney, SJ
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Jim Manney, SJ outlines a step-by-step process of discernment for decision-making that Ignatius of Loyola included in his spiritual exercises. Perhaps you’ll find something helpful in it when you have to make a decision. I am so grateful that God is glorified when I listen to my deepest self.