Have you ever been offered an amazing opportunity, only to get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, knowing you need to say no? Of course, sometimes the timing is just off or you’ve already committed to other things and the only reasonable answer to an invitation or opportunity is no.
But we’ve all found ourselves jumping through hoops of justification, haven’t we? Convincing ourselves that saying yes is really the prudent thing, what with the worthiness of the cause or the flattery of the offer.
This happened twenty years ago when my husband Andy and I were starting our church. I was raising three young kids, homeschooling our oldest for kindergarten, and juggling all the details of young family life, so I didn’t have much margin for adding to-dos to the to-do list. As conversations began about what the church’s women’s ministry would look like, I was approached about joining the team.
Now I could come up with dozens of justifications for saying yes—I’m not making a long-term commitment, it’s just important for me to help get the ministry started. I could have a significant impact on so many women! But I had already committed to homeschooling our son, and I could not do both jobs well. I had to say no for now.
HELPING YOURSELF SAY NO
What dulled the ache of saying no to such a great opportunity was realizing that my no for now did not have to mean no forever. As my kids got older and more independent, I eventually did have the margin to launch a ministry around a passion I hadn’t yet discovered all those years ago—caring for foster children. So where do you need the reminder that a no for now does not have to mean no forever? These three steps may help.