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When should we say no?

How many of us struggle with boundaries through the holiday season? Today we are getting a guest post from Lisa Betz that is perfect in its timing. Give it a read!

Happy Thanksgiving – I’m grateful for a bajillion and twelve things this year! ~Angie


Do you struggle to say no as often as you should? Is your schedule filled to overflowing and you spend most days running from one thing to the next? A busy lifestyle has become the norm, but God calls us to steward our time, energy, and talents wisely. Sometimes this means saying no to requests, invitations, or non-priority projects.

The ability to say no is a vital life skill that enables us to regain control of our schedules and live according to our priorities. Saying no to some activities helps us avoid the stress of overcommitment and allows us more time to do the things that matter most. I think this quote sums up the problem well.

“If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete.There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.” Elisabeth Elliot

If we don’t want to be too busy for the most important people and projects in our lives, we need to be able to say no to the good-but-not-best activities.

Saying no isn’t just for busy people.

Getting control of our schedule isn’t the only reason saying no is a vital life skill. Sometimes we must say no in order to stand up for our values, maintain wise boundaries, or protect our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health. We cannot serve those we love well when we neglect our own well-being, or when we’re constantly running to meet every need we see.

Consider these benefits of saying no more often. We can:

  • Stop wasting our time doing stuff we don’t care about.
  • Have time for the things that excite our soul
  • Devote more time and energy to our loved ones
  • Work from a place of passion and joy instead of guilt or resentment
  • Avoid being drained by toxic activities or relationships
  • Maintain healthy boundaries

Do you need help saying no when you need to?

There will always be people around us who want us to do things for them. Our job is to be discerning about which of those activities we agree to and which we decline. Here are some questions that will help you avoid saying yes when no is the better answer.

Time and energy considerations:

  • Have I already squeezed too many things into my schedule this month?
  • How will agreeing to this commitment affect my family responsibilities?
  • Is there a compromise I can suggest that doesn’t require as much of my time?

Purpose and value considerations:

  • Is this a cause I believe in?
  • Does this activity or request align with my values?
  • Is this something I used to have a passion for, but now I’ve moved on?

Personal health and boundary considerations:

  • How much energy do I realistically have? Am I pushing myself too hard already?
  • Am I being guilt-tripped into saying yes?
  • Am I genuinely eager to do this, or am I saying say yes only to avoid disappointing someone?

Do you need help finding the right words?

Sometimes we avoid saying no because we aren’t sure how to say it without sounding rude or selfish. If so, you can find help with a free guide called 7 Strategies for Saying No. This handy guide provides you with the words to decline unwanted requests politely and confidently. Each strategy include four example sentences that show you exactly what to say. Does this sound like a useful tool? Then download 7 Strategies for Saying No here and begin to say no with more confidence today.

Lisa E. Betz is an award-winning writer, entertaining speaker, and unconventional soul. She inspires recovering people-pleasers to live a more authentic, purposeful life, one small step at a time. She also writes humorous novels set in first-century Rome featuring a spunky female sleuth who struggles to live with purpose in a world where women are supposed to fit the mold.

You can find weekly encouragement and practical advice on her blog, Live Intentionally.

Learn more about her award-winning Livia Aemilia Mysteries

Visit her on Facebook at Lisa E Betz Writer.

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