I get asked to volunteer my time to a worthy cause on an almost weekly basis. Can you be room parent? Can you lead a Bible study? Can you be on the membership committee? Can you bring a weekly snack? Will you teach Sunday School?
Maybe your requests are different: Can you captain our softball team? Can you take on this extra work project? Can you use your vacation for an extended family wedding? Can you be HOA President? Can you host a baby shower?
Many people would agree that these are all wonderful opportunities. It feels good that people think enough of you to be able to handle these duties. But, at some point- you can’t say yes to everything. It breaks my heart to say no to great opportunities.
Over the last few years, God has been revealing to me that new yes commitment is a no to something else. Being aware of your current commitments is important before adding anything new. A yes to serving on a charity committee is a wonderful thing- but it’s a no to dinner with my family each week during the meeting time. A yes to teaching my son’s Sunday School class is great but it means I’m saying no to attending my own class at the same time.
I feel awful letting the asker down. I know they need help and they think I am a good fit for the task. Plus, I want that person to still like me. Like many people, I equate letting someone down as them losing respect for me. But what I’ve learned is if they can’t respect my no, then they aren’t really someone I want to be friends with any way. Friends value one another’s happiness and support decisions to make that happen.
I’ve slowly been learning that saying no is ok. Life goes on. I am realizing that some people may respect you for not taking on more than you can handle. Plus, if you volunteer a lot, this encourages the asker to recruit new volunteers and allow others to be involved. New volunteers and ideas can be a good thing.
It’s still hard to feel like you let someone down or can’t “do it all”. I’ve decided to become a NO Cheerleader. If you say no to something, I will clap for you and stand proudly for you saying yes to other wonderful things like your family, health and/or sanity. You may feel bad or someone may make you feel bad- but know that I have your back! Congrats on taking control of your calendar and resources! You have figured out how to treasure your time, money and family. Job well done!
Now, I encourage you to also become a NO Cheerleader. Support your spouse, friends and neighbors if they have to say no to good things. Cheer them on for protecting what’s most important in their life. In the process, I promise you will build your relationship to allow more vulnerability and support!
Also keep these thoughts in mind when you are the asker. Be sure to respond to a no in the way you would want to be responded to in the same situation. Allow a no to build bridges not cause division.
Together we can all support one another by celebrating the no that allows more time for the yes!
learn & love, brooke