As homeschoolers, we often have numerous opportunities offered to us; field trips, co-ops, park days, and more. It can be tempting to join every activity available, but much discretion is advised. When you say yes to everything, you are bound to get overwhelmed. There are times it is more beneficial to just say “no”.
As a good friend, we help those around us; lending a hand when someone is in need. We take dinners to a sick friend, we give rides when cars aren’t working, and we babysit. What happens, though, when our family starts to suffer because we are spending so much time helping everyone else, we aren’t serving our family? We need to learn that it is okay to say no.
How do we decide which events are to our advantage and worth the effort? How do we know when it is okay to help out a friend and when it’s not? I doubt there is a fool proof way to finding the answer, but I have found that there are some guidelines that seem to help.
When to say “no” to an event.
- It doesn’t fit into my calendar. If my week is already overbooked or if I have to rearrange too many things to make it work; it doesn’t.
- I am getting stressed out. If just planning out the event is too much for me, perhaps I need to rethink whether or not to be involved.
- My husband thinks it is a bad idea. When he says no, that is the end of it.
- The Lord says no. Just because I can make it work and my husband says it is okay, doesn’t mean it is the Lord’s will for our family. I should always pray before making a commitment.
When to say “no” to people.
- When they could be doing it themselves. Sometimes people just need the encouragement to do things for themselves. Don’t enable someone else; teach them to work hard and “make do”.
- When you are putting them before your family’s needs. Being helpful is a good virtue and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but we must also remember that our families are our first ministry. If we are so busy helping other people that we can’t take care of our own responsibilities, than we need to step back and allow someone else to help.
- When the Lord says no. Again, just because the opportunity arises, doesn’t mean that you are the answer. Perhaps He is simply using you to alert other people to the problem or to pray for that person.
How to say “no”.
- With gentleness. Just because we cannot participate, doesn’t mean the event or opportunity is bad. We need to make sure we say “no” in a loving manner.
- With humility. It should not be out of pride and arrogance that we are turning down an opportunity.
- With an explanation, when possible. Even something as simple as, “The Lord is leading me in another direction right now.”, helps others to know that I am aware of the event/need, even if I cannot participate.
Saying “no” can be a very hard task. It can seem harsh, criticizing, or even “Un-Christian” to those who don’t wish to hear it. Knowing that I have given it great thought and that I am making the best decisions I can, helps me to put to rest any anxiety I may have over telling someone “no”.
While I love to say “yes” to a great many things, I feel the Lord compelling me to learn the word “no”. I cannot possibly be everywhere, do everything, and help everyone. It is hard and makes me very uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I know it was the right choice to make.
Do you find it hard to say “no”?