catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 21 :: 2013.11.15 — 2013.11.28


Saying “yes” to a simpler life

Before I had kids, I was a “yes man.” Need help moving furniture? Count me in. Oh, you need a hand with that painting project? I’ve got time. I even had time for myself: playing hockey, writing late, guy weekends away, sleeping in. I could do anything I wanted to as long as my beautiful wife was okay with it. We were both working, had no kids, and time was something that was filled with whatever we fancied, not something that slipped through our fingers.

All of this changed the summer of 2009. My wife and I were expecting our first child and a deep desire rose inside that I should take writing more seriously. When my wife’s pregnancy started to show, being a parent became something vivid and possible. This was real now. I was going to be a father. My mind swirled as I considered the reality of fatherhood against the backdrop of my current “yes man” lifestyle with a desire to become a novelist.

When our daughter June was born, I took inventory. Being a present father and a great husband were two things I never wanted to compromise. Also, becoming a novelist takes years and I made an agreement with my wife that my writing ambition would not interfere with my time with her and our children. It was then I knew I needed to make significant changes if I were to honor God with these two great gifts and pursue the life of a writer. I could be a “yes man” no longer.

Saying “no” to fun things is…no fun. Saying “no” to spending time with friends is equally unenviable. Saying “no” is not something that comes easy to me. I want to do a thousand different things with my day. However, learning to say “no” has freed me. It has created a simple life. I can breathe and move and feel confident as a husband, father and writer.

Now, instead of saying “yes” to something right away, I consider if an activity will interfere with my wife, children and writing. If it is worth sacrificing time with these three priorities, then by all means. If not, I’m sorry — it will have to be “no.”  

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