From Ally: I am on vacation this week and I have decided to share some of the most recent content from my weekly newsletters. If you have not yet signed up for the newsletter, you can do so by clicking here. Sign-up so you don’t miss future content like this.
I spent this last weekend hanging with my sister and her husband who flew all the way from Portland, Oregon to visit Darrell and I in West Palm Beach for a few days. We did all the things you never do unless company is in town — slept in, ate too many sweets, ordered pizza, went to the beach, and of course spend an afternoon screaming like a couple of teenagers as we flew down giant water slides.
Our time together was perfect. It was so great to see my sister.
Although we love each other dearly, no two people in the entire universe could be more different than my sister and me. Growing up, this meant a lot of fighting. In our teenage years, it meant a lot of not talking, and later in our twenties, it lead to a really rich, loving relationship. We’re both better for it.
This weekend she was telling me about her “say yes more” strategy to life and it got me thinking. She was explaining how often she tends to play it safe — save when she could have spent, stayed home when she could have gone out, gone to bed early because it’s what you’re supposed to do — and how she’s decided that her life will be better if she takes more chances, more risks, more often.
Her new strategy in life is to say “yes” to more opportunities.
Which is actually how she ended up in Florida this weekend.
She and her husband had weekend plans to go sailing, but when the plans fell through, the idea came to their minds that they could visit us in Florida. Normally, she would have thought of a thousand excuses why she wouldn’t be able to go. Tickets would be too expensive, she wouldn’t have a chance to plan, or it wouldn’t fit in to my schedule.
This time, she didn’t let any of those excuses stop her.
Thursday afternoon they booked their tickets and they flew out Friday morning.
As I listened to her talk, I was so proud to be her sister. She was doing something difficult for her, something out of her comfort zone, and I was sure it was going to improve her lifestyle. But I couldn’t help but think about how her “say yes more” strategy wouldn’t really be helpful for me. In fact, if I said yes more than I already say yes, I would probably be miserable.
I should probably work on saying no more often. I can probably learn that from my sister.
It made me think about two things.
First, I think God gives us relationships with people in our lives who are different for us because we need them. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even choose them, but He chooses them for us because He loves us, and He knows we have something really important to learn from them.
He knows we’ll be better, happier people with them than we would without them.
It also made me think about how it’s good to know ourselves, and to take care of ourselves based on what we know, but it’s even even better to stretch ourselves outside of what is “normal.”
Here’s what I mean by that.
Some of us play it safe, some of us are risk-takers. Some of us stay up late, some of us like to get up early. Some of us love routine, some of us thrive on spontaneity. It’s good to know our tendencies and temperaments, but sometimes, sticking with what you “usually” do, even if makes you happy, can get you in rut really fast.
Regardless of your natural bent, it can be a really good to practice opposites.
If you’re someone who hates to stay up late, I dare you to try it. Just once. Just to see what it feels like. If you’re someone who never spends money, I dare you to make a purchase. Just do it. Pull the trigger. If you have a spending problem, I dare you to go a month without buying anything new.
See what you learn from it.
If you’re addicted to something (coffee, cigarettes, social media) I dare you to give it up for 30 days. If you’re afraid of roller coasters, I dare you to find one and ride it. If you’ve never fasted before, I dare you to give it a try. See what God teaches you.
If you’re not a morning person, get up and watch the sunrise. Not every morning. Just once. Just try it. I dare you.
If you obsess over calories, I dare you to eat a brownie (or whatever it is you crave). If you never think about what you eat, I dare you to give up sugar (or start reading labels, or watch your calorie intake) for a couple of weeks. Just try it. Just see what happens.
People in our lives who are different than us challenge us to live different than we would if we were just isolated, living on our own, and something really cool happens when we step outside of our comfort zone. We learn about ourselves and we become better, stronger, more well-rounded people.
What do you need to do more often (or less often)? Will you tell me about it?