Just Say “No”
As we enter 2015 most people have the same New Year’s Resolutions that they had last year, and likely for the last 5 years. They resolve to lose weight, find a mate, get a job, write a book, find purpose etc. So what’s getting in the way? Why do many get to the end of the year, having made little to no progress on the promise they made to themselves at the beginning?
You’ll notice that all of these common resolutions involve an improvement of self. Well as Christians we find it very hard to put ourselves first. We start out the year wanting to improve an area of our personal lives. Then as the year gets underway, so do everyone else’s needs, which we put before our own. And that list is seemingly (no actually) never-ending! And so we oblige.
I offer you this advice this year… add to your resolutions the ability to say “NO”, without feelings of guilt. This is the perfect resolution and the solution to so many of our problems. It actually gets easier as you do it more. Perfect! The perfect New Year’s Resolution that you can actually keep which will reduce stress, increase your independence and your ability to maintain control over your own schedule!
Anyone who has agreed to do something they didn’t want to do will find themselves dreading the event. They begin to resent the person who asked and become angry with themselves for not having the courage to say “NO”. Women especially fall prey to this problem more than men. We are helpers by nature and therefore, tend to sign up to help, even in capacities that we truly do not want to. Men seldom have this problem because society has made it acceptable for men to be assertive and allowing them to say “NO” to requests without any explanation. Men that can’t say “No” are often seen as weak followers and not strong leaders that they pride themselves on being. Every man wants to be seen as an alpha-male even if he prays daily that he never has to assert himself and lead anyone.
Oddly enough people who never say “No” are often seen as doormats as opposed to helpful team players. Many people, male and female, will never stop asking the person who always says “Yes”. They are often asked first as opposed to last because it is considered a given that they will comply. People are never forced to find another solution if you have been the answer to every problem.
So, why do women agree to do things we don’t want to do? Typically, women have “people-pleasing” DNA and it never occurs to us that we can say “no” amicably because we:
· Don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings – We are care-takers and hurting feelings seems counter to taking care of someone. But Jesus tells us to cast all our cares on him and we should teach others to do the same by allowing them to look to God more and man or woman less.
· Are easily manipulated and it’s probably seen in other areas of our lives – Our seemingly insatiable need to be accepted leaves us wide open to manipulation. Jesus loves us unconditionally. Don’t be manipulated.
· Fear what may be said about us if we don’t participate – The innate need to please. Insecurity and ignorance of your position in Christ are the culprits here. Often people that help are talked about just as much as those that don’t help.
· Want to be seen as a team player and a helper – We know everyone hates a lazy woman. So we do the most to avoid that title. In fact, those that don’t say “yes” can often be seen as selfish and harsh. Become balanced in life.
· Feel obligated because they have helped us in some way in the past – Fairness is paramount to us. Things must be even. But we side-step God’s favor with this mindset.
· Figure even though we can’t help, it will all work out –This is foolish and presumptuous.
· Fear we may need them to do something for us – This lingers in the back of our minds. But this is a “lack” mentality. We are not trusting God to meet our future needs.
· Like being needed – We cheerfully participate in everyone’s emergencies and rescue those in need. We let everyone know about it although we complain about it the whole time. This person is damaged in need of help. Get it, please.
· Like the praise that comes with fulfilling a request from others – It validates us. We know by now in whom we should seek validation… and it’s not in other people! Their validation is temporary and only if we comply with their current need.
So ask yourself, what thrill do you feel by saying yes to everything? What encourages you to continue to loan money to a slacker, loan clothes to your friend who returns your things damaged? Or what makes your agree to work the concession stands at the local game for your child’s school PTA group, attend the party of an acquaintance that you’re not particularly fond of, etc.? As you reflect on this, know that there is a place and time where this goes too far and it interferes with our own personal progress, peace and contentment. The need to help and to be needed can become a burden that we place on ourselves.
One of the most amazing things about being an adult is that we get to make decisions about our days and our lives. We are no longer at the mercy of others making daily decisions for us. It’s why we fought for our independence as children, teenagers and as young adults. So whatever your reason for saying “Yes” to everything is, it can only stop with you saying “NO”. If you aren’t doing so, it’s because you are getting some measure of satisfaction from being the answer to everyone’s request even though it is stressing you out.
If you don’t have the courage to immediately start saying “NO” the next best thing for you to do is to not commit right away. Simply say, “I need to think about this and look at my schedule and my family’s schedule to see if I am available.” Don’t torture yourself by procrastinating with the response for days. Instead, promptly check your schedule and call the person back and say, “As much as I would like to help I cannot do it at this time.” Don’t feel obligated to explain or promise to help next time either. And never say “If things change, I will let you know.” Be content to just say “NO”. If there is an awkward silence use that opportunity to say, “Ok. Good Bye!” cheerfully and quickly. Don’t allow anyone to bully you into promising something you don’t want to do.
So put the word “NO” on the tip of your tongue this year. Wield it appropriately, boldly and without regret. Free up the time to resolve to do the many things you’ve been wanting to do for so long!
Matthew 5:37New King James Version (NKJV)
37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
With Love & Prayers,
First Lady Lynda