Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as an adult is how to say ‘no.’ Not the making excuses to hide your real reasons ‘no’ or covering up what you really want to say ‘no.’ But just ‘no,’ I can’t do that. ‘No,’ I’m not available. ‘No,’ I don’t have time. The ‘no,’ but maybe next time (if there really is a next time). And ‘no,’ I’m just not into that (baseball games, anyone?).
It’s okay to say no. ‘No’ establishes the boundaries of who you are and how you plan to spend your time. ‘No’ lets your friends and family know what you’re really about without making excuses. ‘No’ allows you to have better relationships because people really know what you’re about (of course the ‘no’ thing doesn’t always apply to spouses!).
And you know what saying ‘no’ also allows you to do?
To follow the will of God.
It’s so obvious that it almost goes without saying that you can’t say ‘yes’ to God without saying ‘no’ to someone or something else. And that’s okay. Let me repeat – it’s perfectly okay to say no and be direct and honest about your reasons for doing so.
‘No’ is a complete sentence which doesn’t require any other words (however you can add a few if you’d still like to remain friends or on good terms with that person). ‘No’ means simply that – that you are unable or unwilling to do what is asked of you. For good reason. For your own personal reasons. And those reasons are good enough. There is never a time when you have to explain yourself to anybody. No means no. And that should be enough.
And ‘no’ allows you to fulfill the will of God. If He tells you to move across the country, you may have to say ‘no’ to your current job perhaps or ‘no’ to a closer school or ‘no’ to seeing your family on a daily basis.
If He tells you to engage more in ministry on the weekends, it may mean ‘no’ to more brunch dates and having fewer opportunities to interact with your friends. And it might mean ‘no’ to staying up late or hanging out or even ‘no’ to friends who no longer support you in light of your new ministry.
Saying ‘yes’ to God ultimately means saying ‘no’ to whoever or whatever stands in your way. And saying ‘no’ to your own inner demons. And saying ‘no’ to your own irresponsible side.
Saying ‘yes’ to God means saying ‘no’ when it’s not convenient, ‘no’ when you’d rather say yes and ‘no’ when it’s hard for you to stand firm.
But it’s all for a good reason. And ultimately life itself is meaningless without the power of God and being obedient to His will.
So think of it less as saying ‘no’ and more of saying ‘yes’….to God.
And your life will be better for you.