Opinion: The word we are all afraid to say - The Echo News
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Opinion: The word we are all afraid to say

It might as well be a curse word here

By Rylie Harrison | Contributor

The silence is heavy. You can practically smell the silent judgement as your wingmate walks away. You said it, the one word that might as well be a swear word on Taylor’s campus: no.

We have all felt it. When we say no to a certain activity or outing, we feel like we are somehow letting people down. The jig is up. Now everyone will know the truth we have so desperately tried to hide: we are human.

Why do we feel this way? Why are we made to feel guilty when we choose not to do something?

At Taylor, there is a standard of excellence students are expected to meet. Expectations are extremely high and it feels like all eyes are on us to perform. Somehow, this makes us think we have to be involved in as much as possible if we are to be seen as meeting expectations. Before we know it, we are overcommitted, stressed, exhausted and dropping balls left and right.

But do we stop? No, we don’t.

Why? Because to stop would be to admit we cannot meet the standards of those around us. We can’t reach the level of excellence everyone demands we meet.

Saying “no” won’t diminish anyone’s worth; it’ll help us flourish more. (Photograph provided by Unsplash)

Saying “no” won’t diminish anyone’s worth; it’ll help us flourish more. (Photograph provided by Unsplash)

At Taylor, we seem to have forgotten a simple truth: we are human beings with limitations. We can’t do it all. We can’t live up to the notion that we must be able to maintain excellent grades, foster deep friendships, engage in multiple extracurricular activities, cultivate our spiritual lives and care for our bodies through exercise and a healthy diet.

Guess what? Attending Taylor University does not make you a superhuman. You are still limited in your time, energy and gifting. To think you can handle everything Taylor has to offer is not only unhealthy, it is also prideful.

When we think that way, we slip into the mindset that if we can get fantastic grades, spend an hour every day in prayer and Scripture reading, play on the intramural soccer and volleyball teams, lead a Bible study, audition for the next play, get published in The Echo, have deep conversations with our roommate, go on every Love’s run, play in an ensemble, manage an on-campus job and work out every day, then we might be able to prove that we are good enough Christians and we deserve to be here.

This thought process starts with proving ourselves to those around us, but eventually it morphs into us trying to prove ourselves to God.

Listen up. That is absurd.

Please don’t think I’m just being preachy. I’ve fallen into this trap, too. If I can’t handle everything and have to say no to things, I feel like I’m not good enough, like I’m failing.

But what we forget is God doesn’t care how many sports we are in or how many coffee dates we’ve had this week. He loves us no matter what. There is nothing we can do to earn His favor or to make Him love us more than He already does. We have nothing to prove.

Therefore, from one overwhelmed student to another, it’s okay to say no. No is not a bad word. In fact, it is a word that might just save our sanity.

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