Can saying “No” actually be a Best Yes in your life? I think so. When we say “no” to one thing, we are really creating space to say “yes” to something else.
If I say “no” to heading up this committee or enrolling my kid in one more activity, I could be saying “yes” to more time with my family or a less stressed state of mind.
Sometimes an opportunity is offered to you and your answer needs to be “no”. There are times when saying that needed “no” can be clear cut and easy. Other times it is far from simple getting to that place.
I had a very hard decision to make not that long ago. I mulled over it and
analyzed over analyzed it to death! It was good for me, though. God taught me a lot about making decisions and gave me some great tools to use.
I was asked to be a leader in a ministry at my church. Now, it was nothing huge like being worship leader or something like that. But it would require a big commitment from me. Every job in the church is important and needed. So, I did not take this request likely.
My initial, in my head response was, “I don’t want to do this.” There are jobs in the church that each member like to do better than others. For example, the nursery is not my gig. I much prefer the older kids. Does that mean I shouldn’t help in the nursery if needed? No. It’s just not my preference.
Just because it’s unpleasant doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take on the challenge. (And I don’t think babies are unpleasant!)
This “job” was not something I would have sought out to help with. I didn’t really feel like I was equipped to do this job. We know pretty much what our strengths and weaknesses are. Again, though, God does not always call us to do the things we think we are good at. Umm…. Moses! Perfect example, right?
All of these things raced through my head in about 5 seconds. At this point, I knew one thing for sure…….I could not base this decision solely on my feelings.
I had just (literally) finished reading Lysa’s book The Best Yes, my inspiration for this series. I used some thoughts in her book that helped me immensely. Let me share:
(pg. 116 in My Best Yes) “Every yes answer comes with a list of expectations. If I don’t know what those expectations are, I can’t possibly meet them. It’s crucial to identify the expectations before giving a yes answer. Then I must determine which of those expectations are realistic and which are unrealistic.”
Now, in my situation I didn’t take the word unrealistic to mean I was being asked to do something outlandish or over the top. Though, some requests can be outlandish. I took it to mean, “Was it unrealistic for me, Jen, to accomplish in this time during my life?” I wasn’t being asked to join a professional soccer team. That would be unrealistic, dare I say, outlandish.
So, I asked myself some questions. These are great decision making tools. But you must be honest when answering them. (pg. 119)
1.) It feels thrilling to say yes to this now. But how will this yes feel two weeks, two months, and six months from now?
2.) Do any of the expectations that come from this yes feel forced or frantic?
3.) Could any part of this yes be tied to people pleasing and allowing that desire to skew my judgement of what’s realistic and unrealistic?
4.) Which wise (older, grounded in God’s Word, more experienced, and more mature) people in my life think this is a good idea?
5.) Are there any facts I try to avoid or hide when discussing this with my wise advisors?
I decided to do three things.
1.) I didn’t make a rash decision based on my feeling, which in this case was fear.
2.) I prayed about it and asked God for wisdom.
3.) I then honestly answered those 5 questions above.
I did end up saying No. The big factor was not my feeling of inadequacy, though that was a factor. It was the factor of the time commitment I knew would be expected. It wasn’t because I wasn’t willing to give the time. I just didn’t have it to give.
It was hard for me to say “no”. I also realized how much the fear of disappointing others plays into my decision making. This why I agonized over the decision. When I finally made my decision, though, I did have a peace about it.
Lysa also writes in The Best Yes, “Not every assignment is my assignment.”
Months later that ministry is being led by a person that I think fits the bill perfectly. That person just wasn’t me.
This by no means gives me the freedom to run around saying “no” to everything that feels uncomfortable or unpleasant for me to do. These tools above have been very helpful for me to make my Best Yes choices and I hope they can helpful to you.