More on learning how to say "no" | The Practical Disciple

More on learning how to say "no"

Everything that I shared in my previous post about saying no is helpful but needs to be given with a disclaimer. Before sharing the disclaimer let me share a brief story. Once I was talking to a pastor friend who was bemoaning how overworked he was. He was singing the ever popular chorus, “I need to learn to say no.” I replied, “No, you don’t. You are really good at saying no. You have said no to your health, your family, sleeping, eating well, excercising. You are really good at saying no. You need to learn to say yes to the right things.

Here comes the “no” disclaimer–Even when you learn to say no to things that are invading your life you will help remove dissatisfaction and stress from your life, but bringing satisfaction involves learning to say “yes” to the right things. Imagine wanting to grow a beautiful garden. Learning to say no is a weeding process, but if all you ever did was weed you would wind up with a piece of barren ground when all was said and done, if you did not seed. In recovery minsitry I have heard this described as living into the solution rather than living out of the problem. Both are really necessary.

I spoke in a similar fashion about this dynamic in my blog post on prayer, forgiveness, and anger. Learning to say no is a way of living out of the problem. You are purging the bad or at least limiting its access into your life. But to really add joy and satisfication, you need to know your priorities and start saying “yes” to what you want as a priority. Eventually spiritually healthy “yes’s” will so fill you life that saying no because a much simpler task. So what do you need to be saying yes to: family, sleep, exercise, play, service, learning, prayer, rest, margin time, or may be just a little time being still. Definitely spend prayer discovering your yes.

Peace, joy, and the grace space to say yes, from the Practical Disciple

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  • Good point…I think there is great wisdom also in learning how to say yes to the right things. The hardest thing for me to say “yes” to is time for myself. I think our culture drives into our beings that if we have time to sit and “just be,” that is time we are not being productive or useful. I have found that this nagging falsity along with lack of sleep has been the spiritual road block to my prayer life as of late. I know the times that I am able to just sit with God and listen are times I wouldn’t trade for anything, however it is a discipline for me and a struggle to allow myself to get to that point. I walk away from that time feeling rejuvenated and praising God for His grace, but simultaneously feeling a twinge of guilt for not “doing” anything.
    Is that crazy or what?

    Novice P.D. 11 years ago

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