How to say no:
The word no! It’s one of my favorites, to be honest. To some it’s taboo and off limits; never to be uttered no matter how inconvenient it makes their life.
My blog today is about how to say no. It is vital to your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health to say no at the appropriate times.
The thing that drives us to constantly say YES is basically pride. You want people to see you as being able to do things. You want people to see you as someone who is helpful and giving and capable of doing everything. That’s fine…to a point. On the flip side of that, we often want people to see us better than we feel that we are. Some days I feel like a terrible mother so when people ask me to babysit, I feel the compulsion to say yes; even though, self-admittedly, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Surely if someone else trusts me with their kids then I must be better, at being a mom, than I feel I am.
There are many good reasons to say yes and I’ll expand on that in a moment. But I will tell you a phrase that I had drilled into me by my parents. Frankly, I heard it so much it became annoying until I truly understood what it meant. “The need is NOT the call”. Just because there is a need out there somewhere does not mean that it’s your responsibility to fulfill that need. Now I know this sounds calloused but hear me out. Are you constantly sacrificing your sanity, health and time with your family because you just can’t say no? If your answer is yes, that’s a problem. Think of it this way. If you’re constantly saying YES for the wrong reasons (PRIDE) and huge aspects of your life are suffering, there is a HUGE problem. You have to explore the possibility that you might be robbing someone else of the blessing of serving or stepping up. Do we really want to be guilty of robbing someone else of a blessing because of our PRIDE?! I think not.
There are things that arise in our life where we obviously feel the gentle nudging of the Lord to step in and handle. There are also those things that arise where we seek the Lord’s will and we get an answer on whether we should step in and fulfill the need there. I’m not talking about these types of things, however, not to their fullest extent. There are those people who minister so much that they never leave time to be fed by the word of God. There are those occasions where being a pew warmer for a few weeks is ok! You need to be fed also! You can’t feed others if you are not fed regularly and fed well!
What I’m more referring to here is a boss who always asks you to work the extra shifts, that one lady who asks you to babysit with 5 hours (or less) notice, the family member who suggests coming over for dinner in 20 minutes. It’s ok to say no and put your family first. Also, it’s very ok to offend people in order to protect the sacred little time we have with our families. I’m one of the folks that don’t mind offending people (not that I try too); especially if it’s because I’m putting my sanity, health or family first. The Bible is very clear that the base unit for humanity is the family. When women were first allowed to vote the world lost the familial structure and everything became about self… (insert the phenomena of the “selfie” here).
I think we live in a world of “busy, busy, busy, go, go go, do, do, do”. Do you think we can hear the Lord’s still small voice when our worlds are so busy and so LOUD? We don’t take the time to listen to anything or anyone, much less the Lord! That’s apparent by our spiritual lives most of the time. So let me ask you this if we don’t have the time or sensitivity to listen to the Lord why do we think we have adequate times to listen to our families? Or to the Pastor at church?
This is why saying no can be so vital to our existence. If we can’t quiet our lives to be sensitive to the Lord we can’t hear what He is saying obviously. This is a huge problem. We should be seeking His will and His direction for our lives. By doing this, and saying NO we are able to focus more time on our family unit and making sure that our family is following the Lord as it should be.
Practice saying no. Practice saying no without feeling like you have to give a detailed account of why you’re saying no. It will take a while to get over the guilt you have in declining a request, but as I said above, “the need is NOT the call”. SET YOUR BOUNDARIES. Set them often and set them firmly.