In this episode:
What if saying no more often isn’t the answer? Maybe we just need a better yes. If you’re ready to say no to things that someone needs FROM you and yes to better opportunities FOR you, this is episode is for you. Stop closing the wrong doors and discover a more hopeful future.
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In last week’s episode with Daniel Darling, he said that part of how he got to where he is right now is that he says yes to every opportunity. I know Daniel didn’t mean this to imply he says yes to everything, even if it isn’t part of his calling of gifting. I took it to mean that whenever God opens a door, he walks through it.
Several times in the last few weeks I’ve been reminded that a yes to one thing is a no to something else. I think many of us understand the concept, but in practice, not so much.
I’ve talked about this concept in the framework of time management before, but let’s frame it a little different this time. Let’s look at it in relation to what we do when opportunities come regarding where God might lead us if we stopped getting in his way.
Often, when I talk about learning to say no, it’s in relation to things that someone needs FROM me. Chairing a committee, leading an event, donating time, etc. But what if the real problem is not saying yes to the right things that are great openings FOR me?
If I said yes to all the right things, I’d never have room to take on the wrong things.
- What if we stay small, but God opened the door to go big?
- What if multiple opportunities come along, and we keep brushing them off?
- What if insecurity blocks us from taking the leap and saying yes to the best way to use our talents and gifts?
Discouragement and disappointment live in the place where we say no to the best options FOR us and we settle for everything that sucks the life FROM us.
Let’s change it up.
Wherever you are right now, I want you to pause. We’re going to have some thinking time. First, I want you to think about your big dream. Let’s look at the next 5 years.
What would you be doing in 5 years that you aren’t doing today if you had it your way? This might be related to your work, it might a writing goal, speaking, a hobby, a business, a project, a fitness goal, anything.
Now, think about the last few months. When has a door of opportunity edged open a crack and you were too afraid to widen the gap and look inside?
- An invitation to speak
- A writing mentor or webinar opportunity comes along
- A fitness trainer wants to work with you
- A great idea popped into your mind
What was your response? Refusing to look inside the cracked door sounds like this:
- I can’t afford it.
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m not disciplined enough.
- I don’t have time.
- It’s too good to be true.
Do you see how those are all no’s? It’s self-sabotage. What would happen if you said yes by opening the door and changing the script? That sounds like this:
- I’ll find a way to pay for this.
- I’m as good as anyone else who is willing to learn.
- I’m willing to apply new self-discipline habits.
- I’m going to make the time.
- It’s wonderfully exciting.
Let’s practice saying yes to the right things!
If you’re looking for ways to track your daily progress and work on setting yourself up for the right yesses, I invite you to check out a quarterly goals planner that I created. You can find a sample of it on my website here: 1–2–3 Ideas and Progress Journal
This is created with a daily place to write one big goal and two smaller ones. There is also space to write notes about what brings you joy, create ideas for projects, and celebrate your wins. If you would commit 90 days to saying yes to the right things, I have a feeling you will be amazed at what can happen.
You might also like the time-claiming resources I posted about before.
The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst. She talks about how to say no to in order to overcome the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.
Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanityby Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.
Uncluttered: Free Your Space, Free Your Schedule, Free Your Soul by Courtney Ellis. You'll learn tips for paring down your possessions, simplifying your schedule, and practicing the ancient art of Sabbath.
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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. )
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
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