I don’t know about you, but saying no can seem nearly impossible at times. I’ve admitted before I’m a recovering people-pleaser, so it’s probably no surprise that often times when my heart is screaming for me to decline an invitation, my mouth blurts out “yes.” Then I’m stuck. Sure, these things are usually good things but there is such a thing as too many good things. Attempting to burn the candle at both ends as my mother would say doesn’t help anything and leaves you too worn out to be any help – let alone fun. Agreeing to every person or opportunity that comes your way will only make you tired and incapable of being truly present for the things that matter most.
One of my favorite authors I’ve worked with once told me a story about a producer for Oprah’s talk show – ah, the glory days – and how she was insistent on having him on the show as part of a panel to discuss a “hot topic.” He politely declined, citing that he wasn’t comfortable with the set-up and had already committed to a family event. The producer was stunned since she rarely was told no – turns out most people rearranged their whole lives to be on the Oprah set – and told him how much she admired him for saying no to something he didn’t feel like he could fully commit to. She booked him on the show, solo, for the next month.
See? Sometimes it’s best to say “no.”
So today, I’m giving you permission to say no – in the most loving and gracious way possible, of course. Here are the two big ones that come to mind but trust, there are more:
- When your “yes” is just you trying to please somebody – We’re never going to be able to please everybody. Period. I never enjoy letting someone down – my family, friends, church family, etc. – but we can’t do it all. When we say yes trying to make someone else happy we’re committing to something for the wrong reason and likely our heart won’t be in it. Besides, if your schedule is already full for the week then you say yes to baking that cake for that event/covering that Sunday school class in someone’s absence/meeting a friend for coffee because you don’t want to let someone down, you’re really just letting yourself down because EXHAUSTION. Again, you cannot do it all and no one expects you to – don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself! Preaching to myself here.
- When your “yes” takes your time away from what’s most important to you – The best way to do this is to make a list of what is most important to you and then be diligent in not letting anything else cut into that time. In this season of my life, I am fully committed to being the wife, mama and friend God created me to be so my time spent with God, my family and friends is non-negotiable. Get your priorities in line from the outset and it will be easier to say “no thank you” to anything that could take time away from your people and passions.
Are you good at saying no? I would love to hear! Have a great week!