As a Christian, this was a hard lesson to learn.
I had always felt that if someone asked me to do something, unless I was already busy, that I should do it. Wow… was I ever wrong.
I was being pulled in a million directions at all times but I never stopped to pray and see if I was “supposed to be there.”
I just said yes because I was afraid to say no. I honestly felt that a good friend would do what someone asked them to. A good friend would go pick up a friend and drive them to an appointment, simply because they didn’t want to go alone. No other reason. Or go over to visit a friend and enjoy a cup of coffee (as planned, not unexpected) and then asked if I could help clean their house since it was a mess. (that one is my favorite).
I did so much for so many people and I was left feeling used. I am all about helping others but it shouldn’t be a take, take, take relationship either.
I had been taught that if I said no I had to say why I was saying no. For example, I can’t go because I have class that night. And for the great majority of my life, I lived under those rules. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that you have to give an excuse. I was living under a very busy, expensive, time consuming manmade tradition.
I finally learned by studying God’s word and in my quiet time with Him that I was killing myself trying to please everyone. And so I asked God to help me learn to say no… without needing an excuse.
Today, if I get asked for something, I will either say yes, no, or let me check and get back to you. Let me check and get back to you, gives me time to ask God about it. Not every good idea is indeed a good idea. Being led is much more productive then blindly trying to do the right thing. The funny part is that at first I thought everyone would be upset at me for not saying yes. From the moment that I decided to change until today, I have NEVER had one person ask me why, when I politely said no and I have yet to have someone get upset at me.
It is so amazing how much freedom this one simple concept brought me! Even more importantly, when I did finally feel led to do something for someone, I actually HAD resources and time available because I hadn’t used it all on other things.
If this is an area that you could use help in, let’s pray this out loud. Dear God I come before you now in Jesus name and I ask you to teach me how to say no, without needing an excuse. Teach me to be led and to hear your voice. Speak to me and show me what to do today and what to say today so that I will do YOUR will and not my will. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, leading me, guiding me, and talking with me. In Jesus name, Amen.