I don’t know how it’s taken me three decades to discover that I have a speech problem, but I do. There’s one word that refuses to squeeze out of my mouth . . . but it’s an important one.
Yes slides out so smoothly, with its smooth y and its slippery s. Okay, with its friendly syllables and happy-go-lucky ways, falls out just as easily. Sure is tip-of-the-tongue, ready to tumble out at a moment’s notice.
But no, on the other hand, regularly remains lodged somewhere in my esophagus. The word does manage to eke out on occasion . . . but only when it’s followed by problem, as in “no problem.”
Last week I met with two amazing people who have an amazing vision and invited me to be part of an amazing project.
My lips were immediately shaping into a yes. But in those fleeting seconds before I opened my mouth, a series of images flashed through my mind: all my current yeses. What would I have to sacrifice to make this new yes happen?
Here’s the thing: there are already some nonnegotiable yeses I’ve committed to. I’ve said yes to following Christ; I’ve said yes to being a wife; I’ve said yes to being a daughter, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a part of a community.
Would saying yes to this good thing mean saying no to those other best things?
And so I said no. I thought the sky would fall, the world would end, fuses would blow. But to my surprise, none of those things happened. I said no and nobody died.
We must learn the practice of saying no to that which crowds God out and yes to a way of life that makes space for God.
—M. Shawn Copeland
If God is calling you to do something, by all means, say yes. But if this yes is crowding out the best thing, then it may be time to say that word that can be so hard to get out.
Practice it with me now: NO.
Is there something you need to say no to today so you can say yes to the best thing?
Back in the day, a wise friend suggested I put a post-it note with the word NO written on it by my phone on the wall. (Remember when phones were mounted to the wall?) It was revolutionary. I still struggle at times but often think of that simple post-it note and its small but sage advice.
That’s great advice, especially for a people pleaser like me!
Jennifer Kostick says
This post is a great reminder for so many of us who are people pleasers. I’ve had to say the word no to a few people lately. Every time I do, I am met with a feeling of guilt and then I remember my first goal in life is to please God. I pray about my choices and then allow Him to lead me. It’s always better that way. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂
That’s great perspective–we may be saying no to people, but we’re saying yes to God.
Nicole G. says
Oh sister, you are not alone! I think this is my greatest struggle. I heard this quote from Jenn Johnson of Bethel Church and I absolutely love it. “I could do them all, right now, but it wouldn’t be at the heart of the Lord in this moment. So I’ll will keep these paused until you un-pause them. In our lives, we have to be sensitive to what God is calling to us NOW, and be faithful with that. And knowing that we won’t miss it, we won’t miss anything. And just really be seasonally mindful what God is doing in you and with you in that season.”
Ooh, great quote! I love the idea of keeping things paused until God un-pauses them.
I need this reminder everyday! Thankful for this post so I can read it everytime I struggle with my people-pleasing self! 🙂
I hear you, my friend!
Linda M says
Love it. Nothing but pure wisdom here.
Now, if I can only remember to listen!
While I agree that it is a no to the person or activity is is a decided yes to God and His plans. I have to often remind myself to be a God-pleaser more than a people-pleaser, including myself. Great post!