I realized – the hard way – this year that I need to learn to say “No” to things that don’t fit me, meaning things that are not my strengths or I don’t feel comfortable or confident doing.
I know there are many times that many of us, as Christians, feel like we should say yes when asked to do something. It’s the right thing to do, right? Not always.
I said yes to some things this year out of obligation and/or guilt. I was not comfortable saying yes to these things, but I told myself it was the right thing to do. I was wrong. Saying yes when I should have said no only caused me more stress and frustration.
If I am stressed and frustrated then I’m not giving or helping with a cheerful heart. If I’m not able to give or help cheerfully, then is what I’m doing really good for either party? I think not.
I read two books recently that addressed this subject and helped me realize I am allowed to say no to things.
In Oola for Women, I read “But never do good, or give, or volunteer out of guilt.”
In Business Boutique, Christy Wright talks about giving things away in your business and says, “But your gift should be just that – a gift that you plan on purpose – not something you give away out of guilt, obligation, or manipulation.”
In one case, I said yes to something because I felt obligated to help. What I was being asked to help with was something I had the ability to do, but it was not something I felt comfortable doing, nor had any interest in doing. It caused me a great deal of stress wondering how well I would be able to do it because it was not one of my strengths either. Just because you “can” do something doesn’t mean you “should” do something.
I can crochet. I’m not all that great at it though. So it wouldn’t be a good idea to say yes if someone offered to pay me to crochet a detailed blanket for them. That would not be a good “fit” for me. If someone asks you to do something that is not in your wheelhouse, then say no to them.
Now, please also note that I’m not saying you should turn down every request for help just because you don’t feel like doing something. There are still times when things need to be done, even if you don’t feel like it. Listen to God, and assess each situation for what it is.
What I am saying is that if saying yes to something is going to cause you so much stress, frustration, or anger that you don’t see yourself being able to cheerfully help or give in that situation, then say no to it. Don’t let someone guilt you into it or make you feel obligated.
Focus on your strengths. Volunteer to help in the areas where you are able to be cheerful.
I am learning to say no to the requests and opportunities that don’t fit me and yes to those that do instead. I want to help and give cheerfully, not out of guilt.