I don’t know anyone that likes to be told “no.” Doesn’t matter if they are two and want a cookie instead of a nap, or forty-five and desiring a book deal. Hearing no as the answer hurts sometimes. It’s also practically impossible for some of us to say! I have the hardest time telling people no to almost any request. It’s challenging to find the right balance. Sometimes I just know deep down that I have to say no but I can’t explain it to people, and sometimes it makes no sense to anyone else. So for a very long time I was a “yes girl.”
“Vicki, we need someone to bake muffins for visitation.
Sure, I can do that. “
Nevermind that the kiddos need my attention in the afternoons when I’m baking,
and I’m working from home full-time.
“Vicki, we need a meal for someone who just had a baby.
Sure, I can do that.”
Nevermind that I won’t be home all week because the kids have practices
and I’m teaching in between.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. I have struggled with saying no to extra responsibilities for YEARS. I like being a yes girl and I like being patted on the back or thanked for being so helpful. Pitiful. Drive myself into the ground and become #1 grump to my own family, just for this.
Over the last few years, the Lord has been working in my own heart to learn to be honest in my abilities and capabilities instead of just relying on my default yes. See I know the Bible teaches the principle of “counting the cost.” Check out these passages – Luke 14:28-30, Ecc. 2:11, and Prov. 11:1.
Sometimes it’s not the monetary cost, it may be time, or having to say no to other things later, because you committed to this. Sometimes it’s rest, time in the Bible, you name it – the cost of saying YES is high and before we say it we should consider if we are willing to make that commitment for ourselves and sometimes for our families also!
Recently, I reflected on this year and thanked the Lord for the work He had been doing in me to start learning to say No. Now, by no means have I perfected this … I still struggle, but I’m working on it. I’m working on being honest with people about my limitations, because honestly that’s something I don’t want anyone to think I have. Now that’s just sinful pride right? we all have limitations, why do I feel that I should hide that? No idea my friends, but it’s almost hardwired into me. So I’m a work in progress.
But this work in progress said no earlier this year. About six months ago I said no to a wonderful opportunity and something that took me a couple of days to respond back to because I was trying to justify, work out an angle, anything to be able to say yes and feel right about it. But the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me. I knew deep down in my core I shouldn’t accept the offer, and eventually told them no.
I was disappointed because it would have been wonderful. Something that would have been work, but would have been enjoyable and I would have loved it.
What I didn’t know is what God knew. In His omniscience, He knew that in June I would be working on a new book that I hadn’t even proposed yet. He knew that I would be on a short deadline, and I would have either had to say no to the book deal, or I would have been a literal crazy person trying to accomplish both BIG things not to mention doing life with my family.
I’m so grateful that I listened this time and trusted there was a reason I needed to say No. I really cannot imagine if I had said yes. There would be regret. There would be a huge emotional toll. The cost would have been far greater than I thought at that time. God in His provision spared me the pain. My friend Dawn Owens recently released a new book Like Me or Not dealing with an approval addiction. She drills down into how this looks and manifests itself, and then shows how wrong it is by using Scripture to reveal the dangers in this behavior. The thing is she does it in a very real way. She lays out her life, her experiences, and her pain in the process of detailing how this has affected her life. If you struggle with your no’s, you will benefit from reading her story and her challenges to let God deal with your heart. You can purchase it at a variety of book stores or click the link to get it on Amazon.
Do you struggle with saying No? Do you like to be a yes girl like me, always volunteering and saying yes, even when you know deep down you should say no? There’s tremendous freedom in learning to trust the Lord and lean on His wisdom.
I pray that you are encouraged today to take responsibility for the “yes” and “no” answers you face today.