7 Reasons You Can Say "No" With Confidence
The door has flung open to a great opportunity but there’s something holding you back from saying yes with confidence. And, there's something telling you no might not be the right answer. Oh, how I feel your pain!
For some reason we think no comes across as harsh and unloving even when said with the best-of-all tones. The truth is, saying no may be the most loving word of all. Still, we often think it will be considered a form of rejection even when that’s not our intent. And then…we conclude we may be rejected or at the very least disappoint someone because of our response.
Consider this…if we're to be honest—and we are—when we say no with sincerity motivated by love, we allow ourselves to stay true to who we are and the calling God has placed on hearts. This can seem a little selfish to those on the outside but considered more deeply, it reveals your desire to honor your heavenly Father and his important plan for your life.
Here are a seven reasons you can, with confidence, say no to what’s good.
7 Reasons You Can Say "No" with Confidence
1. Creates Time to Say Yes to Other People, Opportunities, and Options
When you say no to something you’re saying yes to time for something else.
We each have only twenty-four hours in a day. How do you think God wants you to spend them? Have you asked him?
It's taken years, but I’ve learned to ask the Holy Spirit to lead me and order my steps. Then as I go with him and acknowledge him, pray, and obey my doubt disappears because Jesus is leading. As you would imagine, I'm not perfect but my progress is noticeable and freeing. Who leads you throughout your day?
2. Keeps You Focused on Your Values and Priorities
Your values help guide your priorities. Do you know your values? Your priorities? If not, take time to write them down now.
As you review them, ask yourself if they align with God's values and priorities. If so, does saying yes or no help you best live into them? Said another way...does this thing you're considering honor God and have eternal value?
Focusing on the values and priorities that reflect God and his kingdom is a great way to guide your response.
3. Stops Over-Commitment and Increased Stress
Be honest. Will saying yes overwhelm you? Keep you too busy for growing your relationship with Christ—too exhausted for family, friends, godly interests, and passions?
Jesus was likely busier than you or I can imagine. He had to have been exhausted walking from town to town with no place to "lay his head." Yet, he always made time to get away and be alone with God. To refuel, renew, and receive direction. He created time to spend with his friends and enjoyed time with children.
Saying no may help you create much needed space for the rest and enjoyment so critical to continuing on your purposed path. In your evaluation of your opportunity, it's worth it to consider what good and necessary parts of life saying yes may keep you from experiencing.
4. Helps You Stand Firm and Resist the Desire For Approval from Others
We are taught to serve in love, but negating yourself, your design, and your heart's mission so you can receive acknowledgement and accolades from others isn't really loving service. It's more like false humility armored up in people pleasing.
Oh, how I know the desire for approval and attention from others so I can feel approved, loved, that I belong, and I'm valued. Unfortunately, seeking this from people sets them up as idols in our lives and drives our sense of worthiness even lower. There's a better way.
God has taught me well it’s not about me. (I'll humbly admit I still need reminding from time to time.) But I know in my mind, heart, and soul, and without a doubt my life is about his glory. AND... I don't need to look anywhere but up to realize my value. God sees me, approves of me, and accepts me more than anyone else ever would or could.
Are you hoping for approval and recognition for your efforts if you say yes to a request? Or, are you seeking God’s glory?
5. Puts an End to Responding from Guilt
Ask yourself if any guilt you may feel for saying no is really sin or if it's self-condemnation and accusations coming from the enemy.
If the guilt comes from an unrepentant wrong, then go to God for cleansing and then to the person you sinned against. If tapes of ugly condemning themes still roll through your head when you think of saying no, remember who you are in Christ and that in him, there is no condemnation. There is no shame in living true to who Jesus made you to be and what he's given you to do.
Are guilt and condemnation howling at you when you consider saying no?
6. Guides Your Sense of Obligation
If the request for your participation comes from your employer or other authority, first ask yourself if the request violates God’s word and ways. Next, consider whether saying yes will benefit other individuals, the company, and bring glory to God by your example. Your highest obligation belongs to God through faith in Christ.
If the request is the thing that finally brings you to your tired, overwhelmed, and aching knees or you feel resentment building ask God if a conversation with someone is in order. If so, how and what might the Lord want you to say? What positive insight or better options might you provide as you have your discussion?
Pray that the Holy Spirit give you his words and reveal the right time to speak them.
7. Allows you to Pursue Your Purpose with Direction and Freedom
Recently, I was given an opportunity to say yes to a leadership position. After several days of prayer, scouring the scripture, and seeking wise counsel I finally knew I was to say no. While this offer would be a good thing for me to do it would take time away from what I value most and what is best in this season of my life and for those around me.
In reflection, it was an honor to be considered but in the end it revealed itself as more of a distraction on my given path and less of a next best step toward the freedom found in the fulfillment of my purpose.
Is the thing you’re being asked to do a distraction or a great next step? Seek the Lord in word and prayer and listen to wise counsel. Then, step out in confidence with God.
What do you think keeps you from saying no to what's good so you can say yes to the best with confidence?