I have always considered myself a strong woman, little did I know how strong until I found myself in some hot water; yet again.


tea bag and a glass cup with smoke 

Why do I keep doing this to myself?


Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”


Hmmm. I don’t know about you, but I am very good at creating my own hot water situations. This time, as in many others, it was due to saying “yes” when I should have said “no”.


My stress level escalated as I realized all the deliverables I had to get done in pretty much the same timeframe. My desire to be helpful kept me from saying “no” even though I had that sinking feeling within seconds after I said, “sure, I can do that…”

Certainly, we all do this kind of thing once in a while. I remember all to well the days when I did it constantly and found myself in a never ending turmoil of stress.


I find this quandary of wanting to help, but keeping healthy boundaries interesting. A common boundary question that comes up is, “am I being selfish if I say no?” I’m going to talk more about using the word “no” later this month – stay tuned.

A big part of what I find interesting comes from assessing my self-imposed overload when it passes. I have found many times that I was able to get through all of the tasks and felt good about the help I was able to give. Even so, something didn’t get done while I spent time on those added commitments. Hmmm.

I have always said I work better under pressure. Maybe I needed the hot water inherent in the overload to be motivated in that timeframe. I wonder.

There have also been those times when it was all to obvious that I should have never said yes and the results clearly demonstrated that. In these instances, I wound up beating myself up and asking “when will I learn to stick to my boundaries!”


There is already so much stress, “hot water,” in our lives, we really need to help ourselves out, by not creating more. Relative to commitments, here are some helpful tips:

  • Be aware of your commitments: review each day what you have coming up on tomorrow’s schedule. Do this weekly and monthly as well. No surprises!
  • Learn to take a step back before you respond: pray and check what you are already committed to. this will earn you more respect than simply saying “yes” to everything that comes your way.
  • Most importantly, keep your days lifted up in prayer: if you do this, when you are hit with an unexpected request you will know if God is in it. Whether you say “yes” or “no” you can trust that He is in front of you.


The Lord tells us in Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


God created me to be a strong woman. And, I have seen that strength rise up many times in tough situations.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise lady. No doubt, she too created plenty of her own hot water situations and found out just how strong she was.
You too are a wise lady. Sometimes we simply need to put down our fears and trust in that wisdom.

What “hot water” situations have you created when you did not exercise your boundaries?


Debbie Luxton

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