Some people are easier to say “No” to than others. It’s easy for me to say it to those not in my inner circle. When I am closer to someone, I have a hard time disappointing them. I have found myself overwhelmed, resentful, frustrated and exhausted. This is because I’m trying to be there for so many and please those closest to me. I have had epiphany’s over the years. These have really opened my eyes and helped me say “No” in a graceful way, freeing me to have a simpler life.
Honesty is the best policy.
I have found that avoiding sugar-coating, or giving a bunch of excuses, helps people be more understanding. This has actually strengthened the relationships from me being vulnerable and honest. I recently told a friend…”I have been overwhelmed and just need a day home with my kids.” In reality, I would still love to get together over the next few weeks, but I really needed to say “No” that day. She received it with such grace and even asked if I needed any help.
Being a “Yes” man is rooted in fear.
When I realized the reason I was saying “Yes” so much was rooted in a fear of people and disappointing them, I knew something had to change. I knew my motive was about pleasing people and not pleasing God.
I want to keep God and His will for my life at the forefront of every decision. I can’t do that if my days are being run by other’s needs and desires. I wasn’t seeking Him on whether I should say “Yes” but would run to Him when I was burnt out.
“I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 )
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25 )
These verses are such great reminders! I’m focusing my time and gifts on the Lord rather than pleasing people or getting them to see me in a certain light.
Nothing is wrong with saying “Yes” when you believe it is something God has called you to do. The motive is something only you can tell when you look into your heart. In pleasing people, my motives had not been right.
You let go of resentment.
I found the resentment I had toward family members and friends wasn’t really focused on what they were or were not doing. It came from me giving 200%, when I was barely getting back 50% but guess what?!
It was something I created, not them.
I showed them how they could treat me and what they could expect from the relationship. They could expect me to always be there, to always say “Yes,” to help them out, to contact them more, to always invite them to do things, or whatever the case may be.
I showed them they could put in very little and get A LOT in return. I realized this wasn’t about them but about me. I needed to make the changes necessary to get rid of resentment and simplify these relationships to be healthier all around.
So, I took inventory of each close relationship and started making changes. I didn’t feel it was a necessary conversation with anyone, but something I needed to do internally. As I made the playing field a little more even, I let go of a lot of resentment.
I still have a big heart for people and I find joy in being a blessing, and going above & beyond. That’s how God has made me and I still want to use that gift. I’m still an extrovert and reach out to others when they come on my mind. I have realized the ways I needed to scale back to be at a healthier place mentally and again, simplify my life.
Life has become so much simpler.
When there isn’t so much on your calendar and so much “to do,” life becomes so much more enjoyable. I think the older I get, I cherish having relaxing days at home with my kids just as much as our fun days out on a field trip. Letting go of the overly busy schedule has brought me peace of mind. I enjoy life, my kids, my family, and my friendships so much more.
God wants us to live an abundant life in Him, not a life that is powered by our fears and the expectations of others. We can make the choice today to glorify Him with our time here on earth. I encourage you to not let your life run you ragged. Rather, pray and ask Him for wisdom on what to say “Yes” to and for help to say “No” as well.
This is something I have made a conscious effort to do and it has brought me a fuller life in exchange. I hope you can find ways to say ” No” when it’s needed. Break free of the expectations and fear of disappointing others. It will strengthen your relationships and help you lead a more enjoyable life.
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