As we’re in ministry (or just in life in general), we will encounter constant situations and predicaments that will either require a Yes or a No from us.
Our Yes will not just involve a word – it is an unspoken commitment of our hearts, our resources, and our time.
Our No will not just involve a word – it is an unspoken revelation of our own awareness of our callings, our limits, and our godly boundaries.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU NEED TO SAY NO TO SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT LIKE HEARING NO?
Script it. Literally. If you know in your soul that you need to say no, but you feel you’re going to have a hard time of it, write it out ahead of time. Keep it by your phone (or, in your phone!) until you are going to call the friend/person you need to get back to. If it’s someone you live with, read the “No” statement many times, until it becomes “an automatic response” that you can fall back on as you open your mouth to speak. I have personally done this, and was delighted and surprised by how it helped me grow!
Here’s what your No can sound like:
“I would really love to do ___________________________ (come over, do this errand for you, spend time with you, etc). But this time I can’t do it.”
If the person protests (likely), you can say, as many times as you need to, “I understand. I’m not available this time, but maybe at a later date.” Or, “I understand. I’m not available at this time.”
You might feel like you need to then lapse into a soliloquy explaining all your reasons — guess what? Not required! It’s not necessary, and it just gives the person arguing material, leverage for their cause. We love and bless them…and we don’t need to explain to them. You will be able to discern who you can (and could/should) explain to. Remember, the goal is LOVE. Love allows people to grow up in God, not just “feel good”.
WHAT HAPPENS AS YOU BEGIN TO SAY NO MORE OFTEN:
Again, NO explanation is needed – your No is enough. (Yes, there are exceptions–save them for when you graduate from being able to say “No” healthfully.) It may feel awkward at first, but saying no is how you learn the healthy boundaries that God is looking for in order to entrust you with more of your destiny! He understands that He can’t advance you without you being able to say no as well as yes. A person who says yes all the time cannot distinguish priorities – the BEST from the “good”. A person who can say “No” understands what to truly go after to bring the highest return on the Lord’s investment.
THE REWARDS OF HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AND THE GODLY NO:
A godly, rightful NO brings peace, contentment, and an understanding of where you’re at in life. When you feel the need to say No to a request, it’s probably right. At the very least, if you’re not sure, say, “Let me get back to you on that” (and then be sure to set a reminder so that you will have integrity to follow through). It leads to happiness.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T SAY NO
Not being able to say No leads to resentment, frustration, confusion, fatigue, over-busyness, being overwhelmed, and disease. It leads to loss of health, wealth (resources squandered in medical bills, food, a rising number of relaxation aids, etc.), peace of mind, and joy. It leads to avoidance and withdrawal from those we love, leading to the very thing we don’t want, which is separation from community. Not saying “No” to others means that you believe you are their savior, instead of Jesus being the Savior. It is saying, “You can’t live without me, and I want you to need me.” It is enabling them in their immaturity. Wow, being able to say No is a powerful skill!
HOW YOU MAY FEEL AS YOU SAY NO
At first as you say no, you might be tempted to feel guilty, wrong, or even “bad”. Take those thoughts captive – they are from Satan. If you don’t receive those messages, you don’t receive the curses that come from them :). It’s the armor of God, at work in your Renewed Mind! Hallelujah!
THE PEACEFUL REWARD OF SAYING NO
As you begin to say No more often, you will find that feelings of anger or frustration at the person in question will dissipate, and become replaced with compassion, understanding, patience, and even a godly sadness (as you humbly see their spiritual/emotional condition and that they are trapped in an unhealthy behavior).
More excellent resources that will help you on the journey of how to say the godly No:
Telling Yourself the Truth, by Marie Chapin, et al: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004FV4T48/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
Healthy Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend (helpful as we learn…then, as you have healthy boundaries, you can begin to learn selflessness better, ironically)
And, to understand how LOVE operates in us, selflessly and supernaturally, please visit Youtube and watch any of Dan Mohler’s videos – they are an awesome example of how to be free from ourselves/free from others, and joy-filled in the Lord!
Matthew 5:37 NKJV: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’. For anything more than these is from the evil one.” (Understand this in context, and as Holy Spirit guides – it does not mean you can never explain yourself, but it all must be done in love.)