Saying No

>> Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The church needed a kindergarten teacher for Sunday school … the finger was pointed at you … and you had no choice. Suddenly you were the kindergarten teacher. Or maybe you were selected for the choir … be there on Tuesday for practice. No questions. You would be there. Friday is church cleaning day and you are selected for that honor. Of course you show up.

Saying no is a sin.

That’s the training I grew up with … which ended with me being told whom I would marry and when.

I didn’t want to sin.

Then my husband left, my church kicked me out and my family (except for two long distance brothers) bombarded me with accusations. I had no friends … so was alone in my distress.

For two years I searched and researched, read and prayed. Some changes needed to be made.

I learned to say no.

Was I going to eat a second plate full of all that food? Or would I buy a bag of M & M’s and eat them all? Just say no became my motto. I lost 100 pounds.

No longer would I teach kindergarten class just because I was told to. What if I was cantankerous and really didn’t like little kids? Lots of harm would be done to their moldable spirits. If I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, then why would I be in the choir? And if I needed to work four jobs to keep the bills paid and food on the table, then someone else could clean the church.

Saying no is hard for some people. I got it down pretty well. Just ask my children.

When it was mentioned to one of my daughters that I never told her no, she replied, “That’s because I already know the questions that have a no answer and I don’t ask them.”

There is a story in the Bible about a man named Moses who needed to learn to say no. His father-in-law, Jethro, came to visit him, saw what was happening and counseled Moses about how he was handling all the people.

Exodus 18:13-18 (NIV)
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”

Jethro didn’t add, “You need to learn to say no.”

Moses listened to the wise counsel and spread the duties around.

What do you need to say no to? It’s OK. Go ahead and say it.


Joanne Sher March 8, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

This can be SUCH a struggle for me - but I'm definitely getting better about it :) Great post, Joy!

Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps March 9, 2011 at 5:10 AM  

I used to think if my pastor asked me to do something it was like God had asked. Somewhere in there I realized I should pray it through and sometimes I told that pastor no - amazing what the Lord did then with people who you'd never dreamed would say yes! But it worked and we were all blessed because of that. Thank you Lord!

Joy Bach March 9, 2011 at 7:05 AM  

Thanks, Joanne. I believe a lot of people struggle with it. And good morning to you, Marijo. You are so good to stop by and leave comments. Love it.

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