Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Power of "No"

Making decisions without a husband to bounce  ideas off has been a real learning curve. A few weeks ago I was praying about changing my cable/internet system to another company. I felt like the answer was (stick with me here), "Yes, you can change it but that is not going to be the end of this lesson." Drat. Felt like God was throwing me a curve ball. 

So, I walked into the competitor's store with my AT&T U-Verse Special Offer Card I'd received in the mail. Except, they glibly explained to me, U-Verse was not available in my neighborhood. Which was the same neighborhood the store resided in. And the same one the Special Offer Card was mailed to. But blah blah blah bait and switch blah. I should have run out as fast as my little feet would have carried me. But, oh no, I listened to the two hour spiel that was full of twists and turns and hidden information. Only after I'd signed in blood and handed over my debit card did I remember the commercial against AT&T. "Umm," I countered, "is this cable a dish?" (Oh, I am such a techie.) Why, yes! exclaimed the salesperson who'd forgotten to mention that small fact. Do you personally use a dish? I asked him. Uhhhh, well, no...he backpedaled. But he used to have it. And he used to like it. And then he went to the back room to deposit his commission check.

I went home with reams of information to read about my new system. I was immediately accosted by four phone calls and three emails that laid out new! and even more confusing! information. Things I would have to do and appointments I'd have to set with several different technicians over a two week period. It involved climbing in my attic, routers, boxes and some kind of plot to overthrow the world via satellite. Stressed much?

 After two days of heartache over the decision to switch, I re-engaged God on this subject. Actually, I think I fussed at Him. "I ASKED you before I went to that store. You said YES and now I am STRESSED beyond belief and what is UP with THAT???" 

And His reply? "Cancel it. You always have 72 hours to cancel an agreement."

I can do that? Really? I picked up the phone, clinched my fist and prepared for war. I knew these people were not going to let me off easily. Before the tech person could say a word, I shot into my spiel: "I want to cancel my cable and internet before it begins. I do not want to be led through any hoops. My husband died and I do not have the emotional energy for playing games over this."

I thought the line went dead, but then I heard a soft voice on the other end of the phone in the U-Verse. "I understand where you are. My son died last week. I'm only back at work to try and stay busy. There will be no hassle from me. Consider it all taken care of."

And it was. And the weight of the world  lifted off my shoulders.

"No"? It is my friend. As it was again today.

I have two mature trees that have died in the Texas heat. Along with the grass in a corner of my front yard. I called the number advertising yard and tree work on a sign in a neighbor's yard. Their yard looks good, I reasoned. Worth a shot.

Two guys showed up who reminded me of that fox and cat in the movie "Pinocchio" who tried to lead the poor puppet astray. They put on this little show that made me very distrustful.  The tree removal price seemed sort of reasonable, but the thinning of other dead limbs was exorbitant. When I just chose having the trees cut down, the total for all services was magically reduced. And he could do the work that day: no waiting! I agreed to the lower price. His friend, in charge of the sod, said he'd email his proposal: $550 for about 20 square feet of grass. I could carpet a few bedrooms for that price.

This was the first time I felt like I had experienced workers who rubbed their hands together greedily thinking, "Widow! With money!" (Except reality would be "Teacher! With little money!") I asked another worker that I trust what he thought of the sod bid. He said it was about 4 times too high, and he would do it for a quarter of the cost.

I turned down the grass bid, and waited for the tree guy to come. And waited another day. And another day. And felt like this was another "NO!" Today, I called him and cancelled the job. And, again, felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. There are other tree trimmers, and I'll find one I feel good about next time.

The Moral of this Story?  Sometimes prayer leads me down a road that appears right, but seems to turn out miserably. And that is when God steps in, takes my hand and makes it all right. And He is teaching me boldness and the value of the word "NO". I'm slowly learning that I do have Someone to bounce my questions off. And I always end up right where I should be.

Bet they don't have that in the U-Verse.


kstein said...

I, too, am learning the importance of the word "NO" in my own life right now. It can be so intimidating and then once you deal with it, it's done and that's that. Sad to hear about that lady's son, I know she must be hurting and in such a fog.

Locketts said...

Is this a girl thing? Remember the chick in Oklahoma (the musical, not the state)? Josh seems to have no problem saying no, and often becomes irritated with me when I can't. I stress about agreeing to things I know I shouldn't, but feel guilty if I actually have the guts to say no. Hoping I can have your strength in NO someday.

Dawn said...

I'm the queen of "Sure, I can do that" and had to learn the "No" a couple of years ago. Not an easy lesson in the midst of it all, but sure makes life easier down the road.

Emailing you some tree service info.

Be blessed!