Saturday, March 17, 2018

Just Say No

May 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

You have been running errands all day, the dinner dishes are done, the laundry folded. The kids are in bed and you sit down in your easy chair to relax. Then it hits you. You were supposed to make cupcakes for the 6th grade home economics class. As you jump to your feet, wondering if you even have the right ingredients, you kick yourself for volunteering. Or how about the time you signed up to take dinner to a family in need from your church and then forgot? Or as the dad, you have volunteered to coach soccer, and go on the Scout campout on the same weekend.

Sound familiar? Sure it does. It’s difficult to escape the “yes syndrome” in this age of busy lives and abundance of opportunities for everyone in the family. Most of us find it hard to say no, especially when it’s presented as a need that only you can fill. But it’s a discipline that must be learned in order to preserve the best of you for the things God would have you do.

Our children are often involved in a multitude of activities in and out of school. Jobs, church, friends and clubs all take a bite out of our schedule, and it’s difficult to find time to spend as a family unit.

If you are feeling stressed, fatigued, unorganized or always behind; you are probably overloaded with commitments. Your peace of mind and your spiritual and physical health are likely taking a hit, and it’s time to evaluate why you can’t say no.

There are times when we feel called to minister in various areas, and it’s great to be a blessing to others. However, God wants our best, not our left over’s, and spreading ourselves too thin in ministry can be as ineffective as not doing it at all. The same discipline it takes to succeed in your work or at home can be used to set the boundaries for all the head nodding and volunteering.

The inability to say “no” happens for a variety of reasons.

• You want to avoid guilt. Feeling guilty because you said no is a self-imposed condition, and usually stems from an overwhelming need to please. For whatever reason, many of us experience this tug of war of emotion-based decision making. Feeling guilty does not have to be a given if you say no.

• You want to keep up appearances. This is part of the keeping score game even Christians play. The need to score points can be a big driving factor in many things in our lives. We feel as though others are keeping score on us as well, and sometimes the pressure of meeting expectations in the church body becomes an issue in our lives. Nobody can win at this game of over-obligation, and in fact, we lose things like freedom, time for family, and time for God.

• You don’t set reasonable boundaries. Most of us never take the time to evaluate or communicate our boundaries. It may even be a good idea to sit down as a family to decide what extra favors and obligations you can or cannot handle.

It’s perfectly acceptable to say “yes” to your family and “no” to something else, and you don’t have to come up with excuses or explain yourself. It’s o.k. to just say no and leave it at that. Taking care of the needs of your family should be priority. Looking at the big picture will help you put it all in perspective.

Jan Cline is from Spokane, Washington. She is a singer, songwriter, author and freelance writer. You can contact her at her website:
Jan’s Blogs:,

Click Here


One Response to “Just Say No”
  1. Julie says:

    Excellent article. Relevant and well-written.