How To Say No

In my last blog we looked at the “curse of busyness”. And I asked the question, how can we learn to “redeem the time” when we feel pulled in a dozen different directions?

As Jill Savage writes, “Most of us long for balance in our life and margin in our days. We don’t like the feeling of being over committed, but we find ourselves there more often than we like.”

You see, the truth is that dozens of great oppourtunities come our way every day, but there is simply no way we can do them all – at least not well.

And so we must learn to say that small two-letter word “NO”.

The Bible says, “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no”. (Matt 5:37)

Easier said than done.

How do we actually do that? Well, I think there are two key ideas here that can help us to establish healthy personal boundaries in our lives:

1) Discernment

Much of establishing boundaries is about knowing what to own and not to own. What we can take responsibility for, and what is beyond our control.

Too often we say “yes” and “no” to the wrong things.

We say “yes” to workload or social commitments that over-burden us, and we say “no” to taking ownership of our own emotions or happiness. We take on too much, and then we blame external circumstances or others because we are unhappy.

2) Vision

If we want to learn what to say “no” to, we have to first know what to say “yes” to. Knowing where we are going and why we are going there is critical. It allows us to sift through the things that are unimportant or ultimately not helping us to get to our destination. Having a clear vision for your life helps to clarify direction and makes it easier to say “no”.

The reality is that saying “No” to something actually lets us say “Yes” to something else – to the things that are really important to us…

like playing with our kids

spending time with our spouse

connecting with God

or making time for friends.

And that is what life is really about, isn’t it?

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