“A small no pushes through the resistance of awkwardness and disappointment because it’s better to nip something early on. Early on, expectations and disappointments can be managed better with a small no. But the more we let things develop and progress, the harder the no becomes.” The Best Yes, pages 126 – 127 1.
1.What small no answers do you need to exercise in your life right now? Using the following questions, briefly identify two or three. Areas of life to consider might include invitations or requests from friends and family, people at church, neighbors, school teachers, colleagues, etc. For each no you identify, write down one or two ways it might get harder the longer you wait.
A small no I need to say? (there may be several)
How this no might get harder the longer I wait? (wonder for EACH small no)
2. Even if you feel a little awkward about disappointing someone, you can still say a simple and graciously honest no. Here are a few examples:
• While my heart wants to say yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.
• I’m sorry, but I’m not able to give this the attention it deserves.
• I would love to, but my previous commitments with _______ make this one of those seasons when I must decline lovely invitations. But thank you for thinking of me.
• It’s difficult for me to say no, but I need to pass this time.
• Even though I would love to, this isn’t something I have capacity for right now.
Another option is to make a counter offer that does work for you: I can’t do [Your Response] but I can do [Your Response].
For example: I’m not able to come on Mondays, but I would love to help you out. In order to keep better balance in my life, I’ve started scheduling Fridays as my service opportunity days. Let me know what part of your request can be done on a Friday and I’ll be happy to help.
For each no you identified in question 1, choose one of the example statements and adapt it to your situation. As you write out your responses, resist any temptation to overexplain or to sugarcoat the truth. Follow the Lord’s guidance in keeping it simple and honest:
“Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you do wrong.” (Matthew 5: 37 MSG)
Every yes answer comes with a list of expectations. If I don’t know what those expectations are, I can’t possibly meet them. So, it’s crucial to identify the expectations before giving a yes answer. . . . I make a plan for what’s realistic so I don’t overextend myself. The Best Yes, pages 116 – 117
3. Sometimes deciding whether or not to say no is fairly straightforward. But there are other times when it’s much more challenging – especially when a great opportunity comes your way. Consider (and possibly even re-read) the story Lysa shares about how her friend Genia faced this type of decision on pages 122-123 in The Best Yes.
Pick an opportunity decision you are in the midst of making right now and briefly describe it.
Use the following questions to help you assess whether or not the expectations you’d be agreeing to with this yes are really realistic.
- It may be thrilling to say yes to this now, but how will this yes feel in two weeks, two months and six months from now?
- Do any of the expectations with this yes feel forced or frantic?
- Could any part of this yes be tied to people pleasing and allowing that desire to skew your judgement of what’s realistic and unrealistic?
- Which wise (older, grounded in God’s Word, more experienced and more mature) people in your life think this is a good idea?
- Are there any facts that you might try to avoid or hide when discussing this opportunity with your wise advisers? If so, list them.
4. When making a decision about an opportunity, we have to consider it from all angles. Identifying potential unrealistic expectations helps you to know what to discuss before saying yes – before there is a gap about what you can deliver and the expectations of others. Use the following questions to consider your opportunities from five angles – time, ability, money, passion, and season.
- My Time: Is the schedule or time commitment required in line with the time I have to invest?
- My Ability: Do I have the necessary skills and abilities to carry out the functions of this opportunity?
- My Money: Can I afford the financial responsibilities that come along with this opportunity? Or, is the potential income generated from this opportunity worth the time I must invest?
- My Passion: Do the responsibilities of this opportunity evoke a sense of fulfillment and eager expectation or a sense of dread and avoidance?
- My Season: Is the timing right? Is there something that must take a higher priority during this season of my life?
Based on these answers and the answers from question 3, what are your observations about this opportunity? Overall, would you say it was unrealistic or realistic?
Read Psalm 119:29-32, in which the Psalmist asks God to, “Keep me from lying to myself” (NLT) and affirms his determination to be faithful. Use this Psalm as a reference for writing your own prayer. Acknowledge any concerns you have about the no answers you need to give. Ask God to broaden your understanding of the situations you face and to give you courage to say no simply, graciously, and honestly.
TerKeurst, Lysa (2014-08-19). The Best Yes Study Guide: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands (pp. 120-121). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.