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How to say “no” well

September 19, 2013

Today’s post follows on from my article Simply your Life.

I was reading an article on the internet here which gave some tips on how to say “no” well. Along with the tips I’ve added some of my own thoughts:

1. Do not answer immediately
Any time we are asked to do something we need to think about whether it fits with the abilities and the gifts that God has given us. Is something that fits in with the area of interest that God has given me? Am I tempted to say “yes” just to please others? Am I tempted to say “yes” because it will make me feel worthwhile as a person?

2. Count the cost
If I say, “yes” exactly how much time am I committing? Will I need to arrive early and stay late? Is it cutting across other things that I should be doing at that time? Is it a one-off commitment or will I be expected to do something on an on-going basis?

I may find that it is something God wants me to do but I might be worried that I don’t have the time or the energy to do it. I may need to trust God to provide the resources I need. I may need God to show me what I need to give up doing so I do have time to do it. I may need to trust him to provide the energy and the strength to sustain me.

Counting the cost doesn’t mean saying “no” it means being aware of exactly what it is we are committing to.

3. Pray
There are some things that God wants us to do and we don’t want to be saying “no” to them. We need God’s wisdom as to know where God wants us to invest our time and energy.

I find God gives me a sense of peace about those things he wants me to do. If I have a sense of compulsion, a sense I have to do this or I have to be somewhere, I become very cautious because I don’t believe God leads that way.

Colossians 3:5 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

In the Amplified Bible it says: And let the peace from Christ act as umpire.

4. If you do accept, communicate your limitations
So you might say, yes I can do it this week as a one-off but I won’t always be free. Or yes, I can do it if I can leave early. Make it clear exactly what you can do.

5. If you don’t accept, can you suggest someone else?
Perhaps you know of someone who could help that the person asking may not be aware of. Perhaps you can offer to help in some other way that fits in better with your gifting and your schedule.

Sometimes we may need to say, I’ve just involved in too many other things at the moment. Or, I really don’t think it is an area God would have me involved with at the moment.

We don’t need to have another event on at the same time in order to say that we won’t come to something. We need gaps in our schedule so that if something unexpected happens we can cope with it.

6. Don’t feel guilty about your well-considered decision
If you have thought it through, counted the costed, prayed and considered other options for the person asking, then you have no need to feel guilty.

by Susan Barnes
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Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith