I recently had to tell a friend no to a very important request. I knew the request was coming and every time I thought about saying no, my stomach turned a little. Even though I knew it was the right decision, it didn’t make me feel any better about it because I don’t like saying no. It feels like I’m letting the person down; almost as though their life can’t continue if they don’t have my yes. I know how ridiculous that sounds. To think I have that much influence in someone’s life, is just not realistic. It’s like saying God can’t use anyone but me and I know that’s not true.
The past six or so months, I’ve attempted to master the skill of saying no. Not because I don’t want to be helpful to others, but because some circumstances are not helpful to me. It causes stress that affects other areas of my life. Sometimes I don’t have any room on my plate for anything else and instead of trying to pile something else on, I need to say no. I can be a better friend, employee, family member, and Christian when I can give a whole hearted yes and not an obligated yes. When I do the latter, I find myself resenting the person because I said yes. They didn’t force me; I made a choice. And I’ve started choosing to say no more often.
There are times in life when saying yes is inconvenient and we simply don’t want to, but it allows us to be a blessing and we should say yes. It can be difficult to differentiate between those times and the obligated yes. I’m still figuring that part out, but one tip I can give you is to truly seek God first. No agenda, no preconceived notions, just a simple “what would You have me to do, God?” Trust the answer He gives you and if it’s a no, trust that the people in your life will accept your no as the best answer you could give.
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;