Saying “no for now but not forever” is an expression I heard for the first time from pastor Andy Stanley at a leadership conference called Catalyst.
I was working full time at a Christian university I loved and a part of my church’s leadership team. I had no kids. I suppose even then I felt quite busy and so I recognized the wisdom in what he was saying, but it didn’t apply to me at all the way it does today.
Learning to “say no for now but not forever” simply means that there are many different times and seasons in your life, and in some seasons you have to say “no” to lots of things for yourself. Mamas, having babies at home is the EPITOME of one of those seasons!
You will sacrifice many girls nights and coffee dates and yoga classes. You will miss extended date nights and exciting travel overseas and hours reading books just for fun. You will reminisce about the days when you could go to the movies. Heck, you will just reminisce about the days when you went pee alone.
You. will. not. sleep. in.
And you know what? It’s HARD!
Now I am not saying you should throw in the towel on self-care. Because obviously, that is especially important when you are being stretched so thin. But let’s just recognize that it is hard.
It’s tough to be so crazily depended on every moment of the day when you have a little one. And it’s hard to live in a social media society where you get blasted with the exciting, sexy adventures of those in your life NOT in the same season as you. Especially if, like me, you had a surprise pregnancy before you were planning on it. Mama, I want you to know that I totally get it.
But you know what? That’s only half of his truth. The encouragement comes from being reminded that we are making sacrifices today to give ourselves and loved ones a better future. And furthermore, we aren’t saying no to things for forever.
In the thick of toddler-rearing, it’s hard for me to imagine that one day my kids will be gone and it will just be my husband and me again. But I know that it will happen. And we will have all our little freedoms back again one day.
And we will probably understand what they mean when old couples stop us to tell us we are in the glory days.
And so, for now, I am challenging myself to be content and even embrace the things I have to say “no” to as a reminder of how blessed I am by the big “yes” currently in front of me.
And I take confidence knowing I won’t regret a single sacrifice I make to be present with my baby. After all, she won’t be little forever.
So if you’re saying no to some things in life right now with little ones at home, take heart! And don’t forget, life happens in seasons. Saying no for now isn’t for forever.