I would like to share a blog with you today from Patti Johnson, a local pastor’s wife, on the hard subject of learning to say, “No!”
We are so often put in the position to give an answer to the question, “Will you do …?”
Often we say, “Yes” and then everything in us is screaming that we should have said, “No.”
So how do we maneuver this minefield?
Here are 5 practical practices that may help. I discovered them while nurturing my retail career steeped in customer service as well as in ministry, both as a lay leader and as the wife of a pastor.
- It is beneficial to know that it is not your job to make everyone happy. It is beneficial to bring understanding when we can. So whether we say YES or we say NO remember that you can’t make everyone happy, but you can strive to make some understand.
- Setting healthy boundaries with your time and resources is important. One Yes may mean many No’s. Qualify what you invest your time and resources into, don’t just spend them.
- Determine where your gifts and abilities are best used. When you answer to your sweet spot you are energized. When you just fill a need, you may feel depleted and discouraged before you even get started. Filling needs may also keep someone from stepping into their sweet spot. Be patient and see who turns up.
- Delay your answer. Saying I will get back to you after checking out the details allows time to process requests and check with those that will be affected by your answer. A well timed Yes or No is a gift to those asking.
- Whether your answer is Yes or No, make it time oriented. If it is Yes, determine a time frame of commitment. It is wise to allow for a trial period or a reevaluation after a determined period of time. If your answer is No, perhaps at another time or circumstance the answer will be Yes. Determine a time period that you will reintroduce the idea.
Our brain knows that people pleasing is the fastest route to failure and disappointment. But our heart has a very strong emotional pull because we love to have people pleased with us.
Take the time to read in the Gospels how Jesus responded to people around Him. His answers did not always result in happy people but He responded to bring understanding.
I pray these 5 principles will be something you take to heart and learn that is it is okay to say no. Don’t let the guilt of saying, “No” cause you to go back and rethink your answer. If we say, “Yes” to everything we have nothing left to give to the best.
We are here to come alongside you on your journey. Please let us know how we can help.