It's Okay To Say No
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Those who know me can probably all agree to this: I am a pushover.

If this sounds like you, then this article is for you.

Because you're like me. We are "yes people." We don't know how to say no, so we end up committing to too many things or saying yes to things when we shouldn't.

It's easier to say yes, but it's not necessarily better for us. We are too uncomfortable with the idea of turning someone down that we take the easy way out instead of prioritizing our needs and just saying no.

A year or two ago (and still today, although I'd hope to be able to say I'm making progress), this all perfectly described me. I was (and still am) that "yes person." I did (and still do) say yes when I should say no.

However, God has been working in my little heart and teaching me why and how I need to learn how to balance when to say yes and when to say no.

This balance is important because without balance, we stress. Stress is harmful to our physical and mental health, and Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 6:25 not to worry or be anxious about our lives. By this we can know that if we are committing to too many things and it causes us to grow anxious, we are doing something wrong.

It's important to leave time to be with God. It may seem like the right thing to do all the "good" things you can do for others, but it's not always right if you don't take time to settle down and focus on your own mental and spiritual life. Even Jesus often went off by Himself often just to be alone and pray. (Luke 5:16)

It's also not realistic to say yes to everything, because often times that means you will realize later that you shouldn't have said yes and you have to cancel. Though you may have good intentions in saying yes originally, canceling later makes you seem flaky and it's better off just to be truthful and politely say no up front.

It's also a very important skill to be able to say no. Peer pressure is certainly real, and we need to be able to make our own decisions that aren't based off of how people will react.

This isn't to say it is a bad thing to want to help others and bring others joy, but it shouldn't be our driving force. The reason we want to say yes to everything is because we hate the thought of letting anyone down, especially when we highly regard their opinion of us.

Though it sounds so well-intentioned and selfless, this kind of "yes" attitude is unbiblical. God says he doesn't want us to be "people pleasers."

The Scriptures address this topic many times, but I've personally found Colossians the most impactful on this subject. These are just two verses in this wonderful chapter which shed some wisdom about where we should be aligning our priorities:

in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. (Colossians 3:22-23)

It's not that God is saying He doesn't want us to do good things. He just doesn't want us to do good things with an insincere heart and for the purpose of pleasing men. When it comes down to it, people please other people in order to build up their own false sense of confidence, and people that love you less for saying no are not people that you want in your life anyway.

The last verse also says to "work heartily." God doesn't want us to say yes to too much because He doesn't want us to spread ourselves too thin and sacrifice the quality of what we are doing. He calls us to do everything to the best that we can, and if we aren't doing our best, we are probably doing too much.

Again, it's not a bad thing to say yes. Sometimes it's fun to spend time and have fun with friends or share your blessings with others. Giving unto others, enjoying life with friends or getting involved with the community is a great thing, but first check that you are following God's will and not your own will or the will of others.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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