Great Ways (and Reasons) to Say No

Sometimes we don't prayWith a new school and church year before us, requests for your time and talent may be frequent and intense. How do we handle the bombardment? For me, it means a heart-to-heart with my Father.

I make a date with my prayer closet or take a long morning prayer walk. The most pressing question is simple and straightforward, “What is God calling me to do in this season of life?” So I ask Him, then wait for an answer. I’ve learned along the way not to give lip service to prayer. Pray means pray. Then it’s time to listen.

Sometimes we don’t pray because we fear God won’t answer us. Sometimes we don’t pray because we know He will, and we’re not sure we’ll like the answer. Either way, we have knee work to do.

If God is leading you to say “no,” that might be an answer you hate to give. Here’s some helpful suggestions.

  • No, but thanks for thinking of me!
  • This is not going to work for me (us) this season.
  • I’m going to have to pass this time round.
  • I’m so sorry. I would love to do that, but I can’t.
  • My margin is not allowing for anything new at this time.
  • God and I have been talking. Right now He has me saying yes to …

Every God directed no is a thing of surrender. It is a holy yes to God’s plan for you in this season of your life.

When is it hardest for you to say no?

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  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
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6 thoughts on “Great Ways (and Reasons) to Say No”

  1. I do get frustrated. There are things I want to do for the children’s ministry. Teach. Sub. Help. Whatever. My health doesn’t allow it and what my health does allow, I don’t want to do. What is God calling me to do? What I don’t want to do. Why? Because I have to put all my trust in Him and lean on Him to get me through. Relationship with God is the most important goal.

    • Betty,
      Hands down — our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in the whole wide world. To that we say YES! “Lord, some times we shout YES. Sometimes it’s barely a whisper or a murmur. But to You, we say yes, yes, yes!”

    • Anne, I’m so glad this was a blessing. Please, feel free to share! If you’re able to add a one-sentence invitation to visit the website/blog, maybe others would check out the website/blog. Thank you. Run hard. Rest well!

  2. Your post touched me in a way that you had not originally intended, for what I have been struggling with does not affect just me but others as well. So, where could I find a quiet time to pray (or talk to God)? At 5AM in the dark in my bed. Yes, I have prayed and God has spoken to me and the two things that I have heard are – “things are not right” and “stay”. I know this sounds vague and will not mean anything to you but,. sometimes it is not about just “me” but things going on around us and ways to say no to Satan and temptation. Yes, we do not always talk to God fearing he will not answer but also we do not talk to him because we are unsure that what we will hear is really from God. Is what I am “hearing” really God? Or is just my own sinful being telling me what I want to hear? We need to listen and if we make a mistake we have to remember that God can take that mistake and use it for good.
    Forgive the rambling, it is early in the morning and I just wanted to let you know that God has touched me through your post.

    • Barbara,
      Thank you for sharing what God is stirring in your heart. You’ve hit it spot-on. There are many reasons we don’t pray. We fear that our own leaning or mindset will get in the way of our listening. That notion both honors God and can set us up to dishonor Him. It honors Him — in that it expresses our heart’s desire to be lead by Him and not our own inclinations. But, when fear gets in the way (like I heard in what you shared), we may not go boldly to the Throne to seek and ask — and then act. “What if I get it wrong?!” God is BIG. If our heart’s desire is to serve Him and we get it wrong, He will forgive, direct and bring about His good. We can trust Him and this truth at all times. Thank you! Let us today go boldly to the Throne Room for some face-to-face time with our Father. Have a great day, Barbara!

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