31 Days of Giving Permission . . . TO SAY NO

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There are lots of roads to be traveled in this life.
Many of them are beautiful, enticing,
But you know what?

We cannot follow them all.
Choosing to go on a particular road usually
means NOT choosing to go on another one.
Like it or not,
we live in a one-road-at-a-time life.

And it’s a good thing, too.
Trying to drive on several different roads at once
is impossible and more than a little bit crazy.

Yet, we tend to do that in other areas of our lives
all the time. 

We fall into the trap of yes.

Don’t get me wrong – saying yes is central to a full, rich, challenging life.
We need to say yes to lots of different things over the course
of our journey.

But we don’t need to say yes to everything.
In fact, we simply cannot.

But sometimes, we believe we can;
sometimes we really think we should.

And sometimes, we simply forget how to say no.

I call this trio the Terrible Threesome,
because any one of them can threaten to undo us;
all three of them, working together,
can send us into burnout in a great big hurry.

We are not superheroes;
we are not saviors;
we are not drudges.

We are human creatures,
designed to live at peace with
God, others and ourselves.

Try as we might, we cannot do everything.
(Because God already has.)
We cannot save the world.
(There is only one Savior.)
And we must not work ourselves to death.
(We are meant to enjoy God, and glorify God,
not to assume responsibilities we were never designed to bear.) 

Do you believe this?
Do you really believe this?

Then begin today to try and live as if you do.
Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ when you need to,
when your plate is already too full,
when what you’re being asked to do is not
in your area of gifting, does not fit in your calendar,
does not add anything but burden to your day.

To do that, you will need to know what your yeses are.
And figuring that out sometimes takes a while.

But it is oh-so-worth-it.

When we know what our yeses are,
what the non-negotiables are,
then we can take a deep breath,
refresh our memories,
and say ‘no’ when we need to do so.

So, what do you need to say no to right now?
Where are your yeses being squeezed out?

And what are you going to do about it? 

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  1. Good, good words, Diana! One of the most encouraging verses to me recently has been this one from Isaiah: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”

    • I love that verse, too, Christie. And doing precisely that can help us learn to say ‘no” when needed. Thanks for coming by – always happy to see you.

  2. I”m so glad I’ve been getting this series in the inbox, because I so needed to hear this one today, dear friend. Sitting with this permission. Believing it.

    • Ah, Laura. I’m glad this helps with whatever you’re dealing with right now. You have such a big heart and such a full plate – and yet you make it look easy somehow. Blessings as you learn to believe that sometimes, it’s okay to say ‘no.’

  3. My mom taught us early … “if you say yes to something, you say no to something else” and visa versa. It has worked for me for a long time to remember this. 🙂


  4. Just an FYI note: Over at my blog, I’ve written about the blogs I follow, including yours–ALL GOOD! Just wanted you to know.

    Blessings to you on this beautiful Monday!