How Do I Know When to Say No?

How do I determine when to say no (or yes) when someone asks me to do something? 

Deciding how to respond to a request for help can be challenging, as each of us is different and should say yes to different things. On top of that, there might be seasons when we ought to say no to something to which we would normally say yes (or vice versa). 

It is wise to ask those you trust for help in making a decision and to think through why you want to say yes to something. Do you want to do it for a wrong reason, such as making yourself look or feel better? Does the task actually fit your gifts? Would it cause a lot of stress to you and those you’re helping? Does it help you love God and your neighbor? Would it bring joy to you and those you care about?

There can be much good in saying yes to something, but there’s also good in saying no. We can easily become so busy that we no longer have time to be fully present to those we care about and who need us. We can also get caught up in the lie that our worth is dependent on how much we do. Practicing Sabbath rest, when you actively say no to obligations (and the guilt of not doing them) and say yes to family and friends, is one way to practice trusting that God is in control and to remind ourselves that the world won’t fall apart without our help. 

One final reason to say no might be to make space for others. Some of us have gotten so used to saying yes that we don’t see how we might be preventing others, perhaps people who are younger or less well connected than we are, from being able to bring new perspectives and new energy. 

May you have wisdom and courage as you listen to others and the Spirit to determine how to make these difficult decisions.

Previous ArticleNext Article