I was sitting at a table of strangers, sipping on chicken soup, my nerves still dancing over a promising meeting I’d had with an Author Agent that morning. Next to me sat fellow writers, their minds and hearts abuzz with all the information we were taking in over the weekend at a writers’ conference.

We were discussing, as many writers do at these gatherings, the frustrations of spreading our messages in an already (very) loud online world. In this industry, it’s imperative that you have an audience, and growing that audience is tough business.

The woman two seats to my left was all ears as I shared about my desire to merge my love for writing with my passion for web design and marketing. I explained my plans for growing my business by working directly with authors, and helping them spread the reach of their messages online.


When I told her that I would love to help her with her website, she could hardly contain her gratitude. She was not the only one I offered to help that weekend. I was excited to help fellow writers, and to begin this new chapter for my business. However, and perhaps you can relate to this, in my excitement to help somebody or pursue a dream, I can be quick to say “Yes”, before stopping to consider how well that new project will fit into my current season of life.

In the following weeks I met with a couple of new friends from the conference to discuss their websites. I drafted plans, chose color schemes, and began designing these beautiful new online platforms—I was very excited to finally develop this part of my business I had been dreaming of for some time.

That was, until the baby stopped sleeping through the night.

And until that promising meeting with an agent turned into many new drafts of my book’s first chapters needing to be written.

And until the date for our move to a new state began rapidly approaching, and boxes were strewn across our house, waiting to be filled.


I was quickly slipping into survival mode, suffocating under the weight of the tasks I had piled onto my plate. Crystal Paine says in her book, Say Goodbye To Survival Mode, (win a free copy here!“Living with purpose means wisely choosing and committing to a few of the best things for the season of life you’re in.” I had chosen good things, but it was quickly becoming apparent that they were not a good fit for my current season of life.

It was this realization that led me to crawl out of bed late one sleepless night, and write an email of apology to the writers I had promised to build websites for. I explained my current commitments, and that I had simply bitten off more than I could chew. Typing out the words felt like a step backwards for my business. But as I hit “Send”, peace overcame me, and I crawled back into bed and fell fast asleep.

Sometimes it is those steps that seem backwards, that actually free us to move forward. Sometimes it is those steps that redirect us to the path that our hearts really want to go.


Crystal says in her book, “Saying yes to the best means focusing and streamlining your time, energy, and efforts on what matters most at the time.”

She walks readers through how to create their “Best Stuff” list. It is an exercise in courageously unearthing and embracing what you are most passionate about, what your long-term values are, and what will produce the most fulfillment and purpose in your days. It is invigorating!

Setting those writers’ websites aside allowed me to focus my mental and physical energy on our move. I discovered room to breathe, think, and sift through my own emotions, as well as help my boys sort through theirs. I found time to rest between nights of interrupted sleep with our new little guy, as well as time and mental space to pour into my book.


Setting aside the projects we are excited about does not necessarily mean saying “No” forever. Several months after I sent those apology emails, the opportunity arose to pick one of those website projects back up. After a week of praying and thinking through the commitment, I realized that my season had some extra space now to accommodate the commitment. I took it back on, and it felt a whole lot lighter this time!

That one website helped pave the way for a seminar I would teach a few months later, walking 50 writers through how to set up their online platforms, and better spread the messages that God has laid on their hearts. That path also opened up the opportunity to work with several other writers on their websites. The plan that had hatched in my heart to work with writers was blossoming into a beautiful part of my business—a place where I have discovered a whole new sense of passion and purpose.

And I don’t believe that the journey would have been quite as beautiful had I forced it into the wrong season of our life.


Perhaps you have some of these exciting opportunities laying in your lap right now, but the weight of them is growing heavier with each passing day. Those opportunities that we are excited about—they are the most difficult ones to set aside.

But what if saying “No” for this season would prepare you to say “Yes!” in a season better suited for the task? What if “Not Now” would allow you the space to rest, reflect, and restore your vision, in order to glimpse a more fulfilling plan ahead?

Sometimes it takes a bit of saying “No”, to realize what we really want to say “Yes” to.  Let those “No” or “Not Right Now” answers be where you discover new freedom; freedom to dream and unearth what matters most to you. Freedom to rest and heal. Freedom to explore new passions and interests. Freedom to take care of you. Freedom to discover what it really is that will bring the most fulfillment and purpose to your days!

You can purchase Say Goodbye To Survival Mode here 


{Note:  I am not receiving any compensation for this endorsement. I have greatly benefited from Crystal Paine’s book, and believe that many others can also.}

Eryn Lynum is a speaker and the author of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. (Bethany House Publishers, 2018) She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and three boys, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. Every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family.

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