Sometimes Betty and I feel a little like Ado Annie, the character in Oklahoma. There is a particular word she has trouble saying in situations where it would be in her best interest to use it. For those familiar with the musical/movie and the song I must quickly add that Ado Annie's non-use of the word is in an entirely different context than ours. But, the word, "No," is a toughie.
Betty will readily admit that she has a terrible time saying "no" to someone who asks her to help with some project, short term or on-going. If no one volunteers, heads turn to Betty. She feels compelled to be the one to step up and help. Even if she doesn't particularly like the chore involved, finds it stressful and time-consuming, and knows it will cause problems, she still says "yes." Even when she tells those involved she can't continue without help and someone to replace her, if they don't find another person to take the load Betty continues to perform the function.
I am right there beside her. I have been faced with exactly the same situations where I want to say, "enough is enough. I am done." Yet, because there is no viable alternative I continue plugging away. While I think I have gotten somewhat better over the years, saying "no" or walking away from a situation where others will be affected in a negative way is still tough for me.
I know you will advise us that if the organization or situation can't figure out how to replace Betty or me that becomes their problem. If driven to the edge of the cliff they will figure out a solution to keep things functioning, or fall over the edge. If not enough folks care to step up and volunteer then maybe it is time for things to end or change.
That sounds so logical, yet it doesn't work for us. Our personalities are such that walking away just isn't us. We mentally just can't do it. Even if our own well-being would improve with a change, we can't.
I am sure you can relate to this at some point in your life. Your child's classroom needs a volunteer for a field trip: you'd rather have root canal than go to the worm farm for the day but not enough others agree to go so you sign up. Work on a project is behind so you go in on a Saturday or Sunday to help out. Your neighbor, the one who borrowed the saw, lawn mower, drill, and hammer and kept them, needs help with a chore or maybe a ride to the doctor's office. You don't even think about the tools that never came home - you help.
There can be a strong argument made that in not saying "no" to others in need you are showing true love, compassion, or empathy. Based on my recent post on Romans 12, you have gifts that you are supposed to use. To not do so is selfish.
Even so, how do you say "no" when you really feel it is time to move on but without hurting others and ignoring the full use of your skills and talents?
Ado Annie couldn't figure it out, and neither can we. So, we keep saying "Yes."