No. It's the one word we don't like to hear and perhaps the hardest word to utter on any given day. Yet, learning to say no is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, provided we learn to seek God's will and be sensitive to the leading of His Holy Spirit when making decisions whether or not to do a particular thing.
Recently I had the opportunity to purchase a tablet pc I'd had my heart set on for quite some time. With my husband's blessing as well as the means to pay off the charge before the credit card statement could cycle, I ordered the tablet and began anticipating its arrival. Somehow, though, there was no joy in the decision to purchase the tablet. As I considered better uses of that money, I reached the conclusion that there was only one thing to do -- cancel the order and use the funds to pay off other debt. It was a hard decision, particularly since I knew I would get a lot of use out of the tablet, but I had a greater desire to pay off debt than to acquire another tech toy when I already have two computers and a smartphone available to use.
There have been other times that I have found it appropriate to say no, such as when my time is already overscheduled and I am called upon to do a favor someone else could do, serve in some aspect of church life, or attend a meeting that isn't really necessary. During those times I risk disappointing those who hope my answer will be yes, but in the end I know that by saying no, a greater yes awaits me and an opportunity to serve awaits someone else who might not have been asked or stepped up on their own to serve.
As we begin a new year, let us take a good look at our priorities and prayerfully consider how God might have us re-order them. Is there a financial goal, such as debt repayment, that would suffer if you bought a new outfit you don't really need? Perhaps there is a professional or personal goal you desire to achieve that might be compromised if you spread yourself too thin by taking on additional activities. As important as we may think we are, the world will not grind to a halt if we decline a dinner invitation or someone else's request to serve in an area of ministry that is really not in our area of gifting, especially when we are already committed in other areas. Certainly we all need to do good to others, especially within the Church, but it is okay to say no on occasion and let someone else carry the baton for a season.
If we overextend ourselves and leave no time for fellowshipping with the Lord, bonding with our families, and getting the rest we need, then before long we will find ourselves burned out and walking in defeat. Let us resolve this year to consult the Lord before saying yes to anything or anyone. If we will surrender our plans to Him and walk in obedience to His Word, He will accomplish -- with or without us -- His purposes and plans for those of us who seek His will.