Just Say No
By Barbara Rainey
Which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost? LUKE 14:28
One of the main causes of the pressure that invades our lives is our unwillingness to discard optional responsibilities—not because they're a waste of time, but simply because they distract us from the main goals for our family and marriage.
I remember being at my children's school one day, talking with other moms about plans for the coming year. The woman leading the discussion said, "We need some of you to sign up for substitute teaching, to help out on days when faculty members need to be out."
Normally I would have been quick to volunteer. Nothing comes much easier for me than taking on more than I can handle! But on that day, I did not raise my hand.
Every good reason for volunteering popped into my head: (1) I'd be helping the teacher; (2) I'd get to know some of the other students in the class; (3) I'd be supporting my school and could keep better tabs on what's going on.
But at that time, I knew my plate was already more than full. Just then, the woman next to me, whose hand had been one of the first to shoot up, looked over at me, laughed and said, "I just haven't learned to say no yet."
We feel such a pull to be involved in anything that sounds reasonably worthwhile or wins us outside approval. But when people have asked Dennis and me how we do it all—especially back when our home was full of six active children—we have responded, "We don't do it all."
"No" has been one of the most liberating words we've ever used.
How often do you exercise the word "no"? Talk about how you can protect one another by discussing an opportunity before you respond. Being accountable to each other for decisions you make is not easy, but it builds oneness.
Ask God for clarity in decisions—and the courage to know what to say yes to and what to say no to.