Kind of reminds me of the beginning of an old jump rope rhyme we used to sing in elementary school. Today, I want to talk about the ability to say “no” and how that affects your “yes.” Telling someone that I cannot do something or, worse, that I don’t want to do something is VERY difficult for me. There must be a need or they wouldn’t ask me, right? Maybe no one else can do it, so certainly, that must be why I should say “yes.” Wrong…that’s just the mouthpiece of pride.
What happens when you dilute something? You decrease its effectiveness which compromises the integrity of the purpose for which it was created. If you are a habitual “yesser” like I was, then this will set you free! Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 both say to let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. Though the context is in the validity of keeping your word, it sure seems like the Scripture actually gives us permission to say “NO” or it wouldn’t even have been an option!
Here are a few things that I have learned recently from personal experience:
1. Saying “no” liberates your availability to say “yes” to the things the Lord has called you to do instead of wearing yourself thin trying to cover ground that’s not yours. Picture a piece of loose leaf paper. Leave yourself some room in the margins of your life, so that you CAN say “yes.” Time is priceless; guard it as such. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
2. Saying “no” establishes your boundaries which are crucial to your health, our health and everyone’s sanity! LOL! Even the ocean knows its bounds. God is the only being with no beginning or end, and last time I checked, there was only One of Him. Boundaries are a necessary good.
3. Saying “no” initiates the blessing for someone else that you would have essentially robbed them from…which in return makes room for your blessing anyway. It’s a win-win! Psalm 1:2-3 states, “Blessed are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord…That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit IN SEASON and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do PROSPERS.” You should probably re-read that again.
4. Saying “no” increases the effectiveness of your “yes” and allows you to play to your strengths and passions. Not that there won’t be times when you have to do things you don’t enjoy, but you get the drift. Don’t dilute your excellence! It’s best to do one thing excellent than two (or five) things half-heartedly.
Something done out of guilt or obligation usually breeds discontentment and frustration anyway. You end up exhausted and that’s not beneficial to anyone. So, how do you know when to say “yes?” Follow the peace, identify your strengths, embrace your purpose and know your season. That might involve some prayer though in case that point isn’t obvious.
Let’s be empowered to say “no” so we can be EXCITED and ENERGIZED about our every “YES!” Can I get an AMEN!?!