5 Divine Days – Day 2 – The Day You Learn to Say No
The Day You Learn to Say No
I’ve never met a toddler who wasn’t fluent in the artful language of saying ‘NO’. Please pick up your toys… “No!” It’s time to lay down for a nap. “No!” Eat your food. “No!
Sometimes it seems like the darling little monsters have a one word vocabulary that only varies in volume and intensity. These little angels get so passionate about their ‘No’ that they’ll flail around and scream like they’re being eaten alive by swarms of rabid Easter bunnies… or something horrifically similar.
What happened to our ‘No’?
Somewhere along the journey to adulthood though, those two letters make a subtle exit from our daily vocabulary. What happens to us during adolescence and our teenage years? When do we lose our ability to say, ‘No’? At what point does the fiery passion to be in control of our own lives extinguish?
Without a doubt, we do have to learn that we can’t always have our own way in life. We do eventually have to go to bed, we do have to eat our vegetables, and we do have to pick up our messes…
But what happened to being the bold one of a kind human beings that God created you to be? What happened to squeezing every ounce of joy from this beautiful life we’ve been given?
When did we decide that it’s so much better to place our identity on the shelf and merely ride the wave of mindless compliance with countless others drifting along in a sea of shallow existence?
When you DON’T say ‘No’
When you stop saying ‘no’, every area in your life will eventually succumb to the will and desires of others. When you don’t say ‘no’, you give permission to anyone willing to take it control and push you out of the driver’s seat and steer your life anywhere they’d like.
When you stop saying ‘no’, you effectively deny the existence of the greatness placed within you. You will be controlled by any strong personality in your life. Their intentions are almost irrelevant because only you can follow your God-given path to fulfillment in life. No one else can make those choices for you.
When you DO say ‘No’
Life is full of strategic moments when you MUST say ‘No’. Again and again, as long as we walk this earth, will be faced with forks in our paths. In order to say ‘Yes’ to your purpose, you have to say ‘No’ to every other alternative.
Often times, you will not be able to say ‘Yes’ to the next destination in your life until you firmly and definitively say ‘No’ to the situation you’re currently in. Think of all the great revolutions throughout the history of our nation and even the world. Nearly all of them began with someone having the courage to say ‘No More’!
How to say ‘No’
For me personally, this has been one of my life’s greatest challenges. As a lover of people, I really can’t stand to do anything that might disappoint them or cause conflicts in the relationship. (that’s another blog for another day though)
What I’ve learned is that I cause more harm in the long run by not saying ‘No’, and this has led me to become a student of those who can effectively and kindly say ‘No’.
I’m going to give you 3 quick tips to make saying ‘No’ a little bit easier.
- Say ‘No’ as quickly as possible. Let the person finish speaking, but don’t postpone your answer for hours, days, or weeks. The longer you wait to say ‘no’ the more likely you are to say ‘yes’ by default.
- Say ‘No’ by first saying ‘Yes’. It’s amazing how different the word ‘No’ sounds when you preface it by saying, “I would really like to, but…” or “I wish I could, unfortunately…” Doing this reaffirms your care for the person while at the same time opening the door for a polite ‘No’.
- Say ‘No’ firmly. It does no good to say ‘No’ if everyone in your life learns that it really means, “Ask me a few more times, and then I’ll say ‘Yes'” You are constantly educating your circle of influence about what you will and will not allow. When you say ‘No’, you need to make sure that your follow-up actions communicate that in their translation too.
I could go on and on about this topic. It has been so pivotal in my own life. Be encouraged today. Saying ‘No’ doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It doesn’t mean that you don’t value and love that person. It simply means that you value the purpose and destiny God has placed on your life highly enough to say ‘No’ to anything less.
The day you learn to say ‘No’ to what currently is, …is the day you unlock the possibility for all that could be.