Six Ways to Say No
“You owe no one an explanation about why you will not do something that is not your responsibility.” Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, page 198.
Years ago, in the middle school parking lot, I concluded that I needed to set some boundaries, and I took the steps I needed to do that. My boys were active in school sports and activities, and I needed to focus on my family and not be involved in so many things. I kept those boundaries for years, but somewhere and somehow, those boundaries crumbled down, and the white space in my life got smaller and smaller.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t realize that I had lost those boundaries until I wrote about the parking lot experience for my book. As I stared at the computer screen, a heaviness pressed down on my chest. I had fallen into my old habit of saying “yes” without thinking through the implications of what that answer would have on my life and my family.
Can you relate to this? Is your schedule so packed because you are afraid to say no for fear of disappointing someone? As Christians, we are called to help one another. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
So, what do we do? How do we set boundaries and not feel guilty about it? One thing that we need to remember is that we are called to love one another. We are not called to be someone’s doormat.
Setting boundaries is also part of soul care. We need to set boundaries for our emotional and physical health and let others know when they step over those boundary lines.
We can do this with one simple reminder; Jesus, Himself, set boundaries. And if the Savior of the world can say no, we can too!
Jesus, Himself, Set Boundaries
Our lives are busy, and so was Jesus during His ministry.
Preaching and teaching.
Healing and saving.
Raising the dead and visiting with friends and family.
Traveling on foot from city to city.
Jesus did all this by setting boundaries and saying no at times.
He participated in silence and solitude (Mark 1:38) and withdrew from the huge crowds to sit in silence with the Lord (Luke 5:15-16). Jesus knew He needed some alone time. One of the hardest parts of the quarantine last spring was that we are all together in this same house for two months. I love my family dearly, but I need some alone time to refocus and recharge for my sake and theirs.
Jesus also said no to those who were prideful because they didn’t believe and trust in Him (Matthew 13:57-60).
The list could go on and on with the boundaries that He set for Himself, but the main point is that we need boundaries, and we should not be ashamed to say that we do.
Saying Yes, When I Need to Say No
My biggest boundary buster is saying yes when I need to say no. My priority has always been my family, and if my saying yes to something interferes with their lives, then it’s not worth it. Because my saying yes to something will change my schedule around, which then stresses me out, which in turn, I take my stress and frustrations out on my family. That’s not good.
That first time I said no to something, I felt like I would be view as an unreliable and lazy person. The enemy took full advantage of and reminded me daily of what I thought of myself. Thanks to books like “Boundaries,” I know that I need to say no. I know that by saying that, I’m not viewed as unreliable or lazy. I am actually viewed as someone who knows her limits and cares for her mental health and well-being.
That’s what you need to do to my friend; you need to take care of your health and well-being. You can and should say “no” when something doesn’t fit into your already jammed-packed schedule.
You need to set boundaries.
Here are Six Ways to Say No
- I’m unavailable to help.
- I’d love to help you, but it can’t.
- I can’t help you at this time.
- That’s not something that I can do at this time.
- Thanks for asking, but I can’t.
You will notice that none of these six has an explanation for it because we don’t need to explain why we can’t. We owe no one an explanation on why we are saying no.
I Took My Own Advice
You may notice that there is a three-month gap between this post and the last post. To meet my deadline to submit my manuscript to my publisher, I realized that I couldn’t continue with the weekly blog posts and work on the manuscript.
Something needed to be set aside, and that something was this blog.
So, I took my own advice, said no to this blog, and completed my manuscript.
It was submitted to my publisher on March 12, 2021, at 10:15 CST, and I cried tears of joy!
You Got This!
It can be a little scary when you first tell someone “no,” but trust me when I say this. It will become natural to you, and you will not have a problem saying it.
Be sure and check out these blog posts on Spiritual Habits and Soul Care:
- A Gift for You – A Free Prayer Planner
- Feed Your Soul with Silence and Solitude
- It’s Time for Some Silence and Solitude, Mom!
Want to read more about settings boundaries?
Be sure and check out Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend their website at www.boundariesbooks.com. This website is full of useful information that you need to set the boundaries in your life.
My name is Missy, and I love Jesus!
I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, author, and speaker. I am dedicated to empowering women to live audaciously for Jesus. Now is the time, friends, to step out of the shadows and tell everyone about Him!
I am currently writing my second book and, in January 2024, will be launching my podcast.