Can you say “no” the right way and for the right reasons?

{something I put on Instagram…}

Hi, my name is Tash and I have a problem.  That problem is that I find it hard to say “No”.

No, not to my kids – they hear that all the time – along with “maybe” and “we’ll see”.

I find it hard to say “no” to people who ask me to do things –  things that are usually long-term, projects that need commitment.

This week I was asked to do something, it would be only a short-term commitment, but a commitment all the same.  It was for something that I am passionate about –  it involved working with special needs children.  The request did tug at my heart-strings, and there was a split second when I almost said “Yep, just give me the details..” (ahem – if you are the person who asked me,  your identity will be kept anonymous… but thanks for allowing me to grow, just a bit more into the self-assertive person I know God wants me to be..)

I didn’t say yes immediately.  I said, “Can I think it over and I’ll get back to you?”

I know that there are tasks that God has planned for us, every day of our lives are filled with God-given moments and tasks, ultimately working towards the moment when God says our job on earth is complete and we can have eternal rest.  We must not shirk away from these God-given responsibilities   But.  God also teaches us in His Word that we must also be good stewards of our responsibilities and resources. Think of the five virgins Matthew 25 with the full oil lamps.  The five didn’t say no because they were being selfish – they were being resourceful.  If we always give out time and energy to lots of different people and projects, we are likely to spread ourselves so thin that we don’t do any of them justice. *before someone hones in on this and says – you’ve missed the point of the parable.  I haven’t.  There are many lessons we can learn from this parable and this is just one of them.

I went home, discussed it with someone who I knew would give their honest opinion (friends are good like that) and talked it over with the hubby.  I also prayed about it. This decision wasn’t easy.  It’s something I would enjoy doing – and we don’t like to give up on the fun/good things do we?

That afternoon I had made my mind up.   To say “no”.  Immediately.  I did it over email and I also included a list people who could be considered for the job.  This  is an important part of the “No” process.  Giving alternatives.  I run a playgroup once a week at church.  Big commitment and a big commitment by the fabulous group of women who help me.  However, we really need more people to help out, and often when we ask people the answer is “no”  – but I am ever so grateful when it comes with alternatives.  “Have you thought of this person?”  “What about her?”

Another part of the “No” process is encouragement.  Make sure that you follow-up and check with the person to see if they found someone.  It is a hard task to get people to commit, especially in this day and age of busyness.

You have to know what your priorities are.  And you also have to consider why you are doing something.  Never think that you are the only person who can do a job as well as you.  It’s not true – believe me, I know from experience.  Maybe you saying “No” will be opening doors for someone else.

Plus… realise that your self-worth is not based on what others think of you or what you do for others.   It’s based on who you are in Christ.



One thought on “Can you say “no” the right way and for the right reasons?

  1. Love this post, i didn’t even think of offering alternatives :) Also, next year once uni is done and getting married is out of the way, you can always ask me to help with stuff like playgroup :) Hope your having a lovely week xo

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