Running around after others and doing lots of ‘important’ things is a trap.
Don’t get me wrong; if it’s a choice, and it’s done out of love—to meet a need of another, or because it’s your job, there’s purpose to it.
But the trouble is many of us say “yes” too easily and too often. That’s because we lack the courage to say “no” when it would be best to.
The Future Obligation Created in the Setting of a Precedent
The key problem with agreeing to do the things we either don’t need to do, or don’t want to do, is we set a precedent that both we and they will hold in account for the future.
Saying “yes” at times that are inappropriate is a weakening of resolve. Once we accede to requests in a given situation, we’ll do it again and again.
Likewise, if we did something for someone—to rescue them or beyond reasonable scope—they’ll naturally see it appropriate to expect us to do it repeatedly.
Future obligation is forged out of the precedent that’s set.
Creating and Speaking More “No” Language
“No” language is not just about saying “no” all the time.
It’s about challenging requests in truth, often via questions for more information, to check whether things need doing, if they need to be done ‘that’ way, or at that time, and by us at all. It’s not reluctance so much as seeking more information. It’s amazing how many stories change when they’re questioned.
Sometimes people will tend to use us, because we’re perceived as ‘weak’ or since they’re lazy. We should be wary of these situations.
The key test is saying “no!” with respectful firmness, and being resilient enough not to be talked down or around. This is about growing in confidence and experience through trial and error.
The Strength in Resisting Too Much “Yes” Language
There’s everything good about volunteering to do things for others in love. That is not the point of this discussion.
This is more about assertiveness against timid submissiveness than anything.
Whilst Christians are naturally bent toward submission to Christ, and the will of God, we’re not doormats for anyone. Indeed, we have the strength of the Spirit to ward against coming across as easy beats.
Indeed, as we’re able to utilise courage in diverting others plans that are set on taking advantage of us, we free up room to do the things we’re actually purposed by God to do.
This done effectively is true power for God. A well-said and well-timed “no” is a powerful affirmation of the times when we do say “yes.”
So, assertive rejections give clearer meaning to our communication when we do answer affirmatively. Assertiveness carries a surety with it that ensures all benefit.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Yes Man (2008).