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Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Saying “No?”

June 5, 2013

I’ve had to say “no” to a lot of requests lately. That happens when I crawl into my book writing cave. (AKA me sitting on my bed with a gazillion pieces of paper, gum wrappers, my Bible, research stuff all around me, and a really messy ponytail/bun thing on the top of my head.)

I have a book deadline. Which means I have the need for 60,000 words. Words that need to come quickly and actually make sense.

I also have a family that still needs a wife and a mama.

Which leaves very little room for anything extra right now.

So, the word “no” and I have been getting more and more acquainted lately. And that’s a good thing. But I’m finding “no” and I have some dysfunctions we have had to work through.

And since maybe you do too, I thought I’d just open up a little discussion here so we can chat about it. After all, this is the theme of the book I’m writing and I honestly think you are wonderfully smart and I want to glean some of your wisdom. And possibly quote you in my book.

So, here is my addition to our chat: 6 reasons behind why we have such a hard time saying “no:”

We think saying no…

1. Is the same thing as being rude.

2. Will cause us to miss out on something we might regret later.

3. Isn’t the Christian thing to do.

4. Will produce negative lingering effects and awkwardness in this relationship.

5. Means we aren’t as capable or nice as the people who say yes.

6. Can’t ever be a positive thing.
In the process of decision making, there are so many lies we believe about what will happen if we say, "No!" www.lysaterkeurst.com

If even a few of these things bump into our decision making processes, it’s no wonder why we have a hard time saying “no.” But are they true? Hmmm….

Let’s talk about it. Share whatever comes to the top of your mind in the comments below. And if I use your comment, I’ll email you. Thanks!

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  1. Beth Smith

    I think it is tied to being perceived as rude or mean and not being as capable as a nice person. For example, my daughter is going to college in the fall. She and a good friend have been planning to room together in a dorm. When we visited the campus with the friend and her family, questions regarding money emerged about the dorm choice. My daughter wanted the middle of the road dorm that falls in our budget. The friend wanted the super nice apartment style dorm that cost $2000 more per year. I told the mother we couldn’t afford that dorm. She said, “well the girls will decide where they want to live!!!!” My daughter told her friend she couldn’t live in the expensive dorm. This went on for several months until time to sign to for the dorm room. Finally my daughter told her they could not live together due to money restraints.

    My point is, yes, I have a point!!!! My daughter and I both informed the friend. The friend kept pushing and pushing to get her way. We felt like we were being mean, when in reality, the friend should have respected our decision.

    My daughter ended up signing up for her preferred dorm and the friend signed up for the expensive dorm. So, I think the issue lies with the person who has to say no as well as the person who keeps pushing to get their way.
    God bless and good luck with the writing!!

    • Mandy Hensley

      I have a hard time saying “no” because I truly do want to help when a friend calls on me. With that, I get overwhelmed when I have too much going on. I think that the concept of saying ‘no’ can be thought of as rude is true as well. You don’t want to let a friend down but sometimes you have to say ‘no’ because it’s the healthier thing to do for yourself, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.

    • Amy Pickinpaugh

      I think being able to say “no” has a lot to do with our personal boundaries. Each of us, I believe should have personal boundaries. I can become easily overwhelmed with my job as wife, mother, daughter and friend (etc). We all have needs and we need others to help meet our needs at different times in our lives. I remember many times as a young mother with three children under the age of six, a husband serving in the military and living nowhere near extended family. I have had to depend many times on the help of my friends, which I am so thankful that God has provided everywhere we have had the privilege of living. As a military spouse, moving all over the world can be very stressful and I have felt out of my comfort zone many times. I think that women in general have the desire to help one another, to form friendships and do whatever we can to lift each others burdens when we can, but we also have to respect one another’s boundaries. Setting personal boundaries in place is important to balancing work, rest and play. If we say “yes” to others and “no” to ourselves our lives become unbalanced and we’ll have many of those out of control, unglued momma moments that you have talked about. I know I have had my share of those moments because I have let others talk me into committing to something that I did not have peace about in the first place, simply because I did not want them to be angry with me or consider me rude. I didn’t realize that I was not doing them any favor by saying “yes” to their request. Instead of asking them to give me a day or so to pray about their request and then coming to them with an answer later, I gave in to the pressure of making everybody else around me happy…which consequently left me anxious and miserable.

  2. Shar Strode

    I too struggle with saying no because I feel like if I can possibly fit it in and I am capable of doing it….there is no good reason to say no. My picture can be found right next to the word “overcommitted” in the dictionary……LOL. Until I discovered that sometimes you have to say no to really good things so that you can say yes to better things, things that are Gods best things for you to do.
    I am type A all the way so I like to be busy and check things off my list. Makes me feel good……yes, good and tired. 🙂 So I am slowly learning that time is a precious commodity that I must be a good steward of. I must spend my time and energy doing the things that God calls me to that are pleasing and right in accordance with his will not others that want to spend my time and energy to save theirs. God blessings on you and your new book……can’t wait to read it!!! I could use a copy. 🙂

  3. Sara Robinson

    I’ve always struggled with people pleasing, so saying “no” doesn’t come easily. But a wise mentor once shared that “A need doesn’t necessarily represent a calling.” God has placed a specific calling on my life to minister to women in my area. I try to use the hedgehog principle and burrow away in my little corner of the world until God directs me somewhere else. Often, that means saying no to some really good opportunities. Do I still struggle – absolutely! But with each “no” comes the confidence form God that I’m narrowing in His focus and direction for my journey.

  4. Emily

    1 and 2 speak so strongly to me! GAH! WHY do we feel mean or rude when we say no? Where does that come from? It seems inherently so many women feel this way. We place so many unnecessary pressures on ourselves DAILY. Where does this one come from? For me, I feel like when I say no, I have a lack of balance in my life. If I could say yes, that would mean I have time for it, I am committed and I want to do it. When I say no, it often feels like a failure. I didn’t manage my time well enough, I’m spread too thin, I’m not a good friend or I would say yes, etc.

    Clearly, I don’t have much of an answer as to how to fix this (I obviously need to read a book about this 😉 ).

  5. Lisa

    I think I hesitate to say no , because I am a people pleaser. I want people to like me. But, I have also learned that I simply can’t please everyone and that no matter what I do, some people just aren’t going to like me.

  6. Tracy

    We had a preacher that believed in a “Holy No.” It’s okay to say no, even to church stuff. A Holy No is better than a half-hearted effort at something you don’t feel called to do.

  7. Kristy Green

    I believe we can’t say “no” for many reasons, but it really does boil down to pride. Its really our own pride that we are mostly concerned with, in that we are “afraid” of what others might think of us, or the consequences we might suffer because of refusing something. If we stay connected and tuned-in to God and He directs us to say no, that really should take away all our excuses for not wanting to obey due to prideful issues.

  8. Abby Bailey

    I think “no” is so closely tied to rejection for most of us. We are told no during our teen years and it leaves such a mark on us, the fear of making anyone else feel that way automatically causes us to cringe at a “no”. In other times it is tied to our memories of doing something “fun” and being told no means that we miss out in some activity. For me, no matter how busy I may be at the time, the fear of missing all the “fun” or making someone else feel as though I am rejecting them has caused me to knee jerk respond “yes!”. It is something that The Lord is setting me from, but there are times I still wrestle my flesh to the cross!

  9. Sam

    No is acknowledgement (confession, or better yet – admission) we just can’t do it all.

  10. Jena

    Oh wow! I cannot wait for your next venture!

    While I wholeheartedly agree with all 6 of your points, they have all been me at some point in my life more times than I would like to admit, I will have to share the #1 reason why I usually feel like I can’t say “no”. Because I have major control issues and if I say “no” then it won’t get done properly, or at all. There, I said it! 🙂

    I have learned over the years to say no to things that are not my calling or that I just do not care about but when an opportunity comes along that I know I will enjoy, excel at or believe God is calling me towards I will say “yes” if lead to. The problem for me lies with the things that are not bad but are not necessarily divine appointments from God and I still say yes and then my need to control takes over. If it is truly a God thing then I have noticed those desires fade away as long as I stay connected to Him and His desires.

  11. Mandy Hensley

    I have a hard time saying “no” because I truly do want to help when a friend calls on me. With that, I get overwhelmed when I have too much going on. I think that the concept of saying ‘no’ can be thought of as rude is true as well. You don’t want to let a friend down but sometimes you have to say ‘no’ because it’s the healthier thing to do for yourself, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically

  12. Monica Wade

    We’re spread too thin! Working moms & wives have enough on their plates without any other commitments outside of the home. However, saying no (meaning: someone is ultimately rejected) leads to a feeling of incompetency. We must not be enough if we aren’t able to “do it all.” We feel inadequate: “So you mean, I’m NOT a super mom??”

    Saying no (whether voluntary or not) very often leads to lingering feelings of “Did I hurt her when I said no?” while the other person is likely plagued with thoughts of, “She must be mad at me for some reason if she won’t help me with this!” It’s a mind game based on nothing more than assumptions.
    I feel like, when something is our “thing,” our Father is faithful to reveal that to us. As much as we’d like to, we can’t do it all. We can’t have it all. We can’t have a hand in every ministry at our church. Our kids can’t be on every sports team. We can’t drive carpool every day just to make it easier on someone else. We must be faithful to our godly commitments first: God and Family. He’ll allow room for us to minister in other areas, to other people, in other ways, but only when we have those priorities in place.

  13. Cheri Moschler

    I don’t want someone to think they aren’t important enough for me to make time.

  14. Kari

    I think we have a hard time saying no because we want to be super woman. We want to do everything and do it well. I don’t believe that is what we were created for. Over involvement and over commitment are killing our families. I find I want to do everything so I “look” good to others. I am coming to a place where the only person I want to please is my Father in heaven. I want to be bout His business for me and not my own agenda. I daily ask for wisdom to say yes to the right things and no to the things that my be good but are not right I me.

  15. Kim Dennis

    For many years I was never able to say “no”, unfortunately that includes my children.
    However about three years ago I recall my associate pastor telling me about his struggles with never saying “no”. He said Kim if you continue to say “yes” to everything in order to keep peace or make people like you you’ll be spread too thin. I would much rather see you give 100% to one ministry than to give only 25% to four different ministries. I’ve realized that’s so true! Since releasing my strong need to say “yes” I’ve not only become a little less stressed but I’ve become a bigger blessing to everyone around me.

  16. Brittany

    In struggling recently people saying no to me, I was told by my Pastor… paraphrasing…Sometimes a no is as much of a blessing as a yes. The no might have saved you heartache, stress, and unwanted drama. The no may have been God’s protection of this ministry. Amen!

  17. Lisa

    I believe we can’t say no because we struggle with proper boundaries. Somehow growing up, saying no was translated as selfishness. Now I try really hard to balance my own needs before the needs/wants/expectations of others, but it doesn’t come easy for me.

  18. Loretta Johnson

    I believe by saying no to certain things or people gives you a unsaid boundary. The word no, to me anyway, allows me to hold my ground on what I believe in and what is best for me. Here’s an example, one of my ex-boyfriends is trying to get me to come to where he is to have some quality time with him, but there is a catch, I’m married. I’ve told him no so many times, he doesn’t have a clue. So, the word no isn’t so bad or negative. It’s a word that allows a comfort against the wrong things the devil tries to put in our way to steer us away from what God is calling us to do and to be.

  19. Laura Bunton

    My personality is to please people. I didn’t want to say “no” because I thought I would let them down. My dad told me one time, that if someone ask me for something or to do something and I was able to meet that need, then I should do it. He was a people pleaser too! I also felt like I had to say yes to prove to that person I could do it and I would be better than anyone else at it. I said yes to lots of things for the “approval” of me. By saying yes to many things, I have learned to do a lot of things. But, one should say yes, not for the approval of oneself or to prove you can be the best at it, but only because you have a servants heart or God is calling you to it.

    • Christine Dillard

      I was thinking the same way as Laura! I am a people pleaser too and saying “no” is hard for me since I don’t want to make the person mad. I have learned it is okay to say “no” and then someone else can have the opportunity that might not have been theirs if I had not said “no”. I think sometimes we have many roles we play and it can get overwhelming. We need to say “no” sometimes to keep from being stressed and to keep our sanity. No one wants a crazy lady or a crazy momma in their house or workplace. We need to say “no” for our own benefit and for the next person who might get asked. They might be the ones that need to say “yes”.

  20. Mary Ellen

    I think that saying “no” sometimes is just a matter of priority and honesty. I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying no. In fact, to me it is a sign of maturing and growth because you know yourself and the commitments you already have and the ones you could/couldn’t still take on. Saying yes when you need to say no is a disservice to all involved because of split interest and time that often leads to poor execution or attitude for the previous commitments and new commitments.

    Sometimes, though, saying “no” is nothing more than a matter of the heart, than a matter of time. Do I WANT to say no out of selfish or disinterested or unkind reasons because I want to use my time differently, or do I NEED to say no because I really don’t have the time because of very real time constraints or needs from my family, work, etc.

  21. Jessica Rigsby

    If I say “no” it’s like admitting that I’m not running my house, organizing my time, being efficient enough, being Proverbs 31 women enough to handle everything that comes my way. Oh how dearly I want to be the beautiful tight rope walking gymnist spinning all sorts of different plates at once and never losing my smile or breaking a sweat. “Look at me! I can fulfil the needs of my husband, my friends, my church, my job all at once! After all my help comes from The Lord and so of course I can do it!” Accomplishing all of this must mean I have God’s favor. Right?

    If I have to say no to something I failed!

  22. Allison Kemp

    I once read that when we say yes to something, especially a ministry, without first praying about it, then we might be depriving someone else from a ministry that God intended for them. This concept has helped me a lot throughout my life.

  23. Jeannie

    Everyday my 17th month old tells me “no!” And he makes a mean face to punctuate his opinion. My response to him, “you aren’t allowed to tell your momma “no!” That’s what I was taught. It’s what I have taught my children. And then I wonder why I struggle with being able to tell others “no”. We are conditioned to not tell adults no. And then we allow that to carry over into other areas of our lives. We are conditioned to do as we are asked and to be agreeable: compliant.

  24. Hollie

    I almost never say no. It makes me feel like I’m failing someone or something. It leaves me feeling stretched too thin, and usually nothing gets done to the best of my ability because I’m trying to do too much. And yet, I still say yes to things I know I either don’t have time for, don’t know how to do, or just plain would rather not do. I just feel inadequate when I say no.

  25. Sherry

    Quite honestly, I have a hard time saying no because I want people to like me. I have some issues with self-esteem and I think I think that people will like me more if I say yes to whatever they are asking me to do. Of course, logically, I know this isn’t true, but I still do it.

  26. Komassi Awovi

    In my case, “No” means I’m being rude or mean. It means someone needs me and i’m turning that person down.

    I’m learning to say no but it’s hard because I always find myself looking for excuses that explain the reason why I said NO, simply because I don’t want to hurt others.

    I’m learning to accept the fact that saying NO is not being selfish. It’s listening to myself and listening to what I really want (Does this respect my beliefs? my values? etc) and can do (will i have enough time for this? Will i be able to do my best in order to help that person? etc) .

    Sometimes i feel like saying No just to say NO (because of laziness…?) In those situations, i try to let the best person i can be come out of me. I won’t lie. It’s difficult. But knowing i was able to respond to someone’s call, is a great feeling.

  27. LuAnn Fischer

    Well – I think for me it’s lots of different things. I want to be spiritual so I sign up for one more Bible study. I love the fellowship but the home work takes it’s toll. I also always feel like if there is a spiritual element to the commitment, then I should say yes. I’ve gotten my self into some pretty big messes over the years. My husband has been so good to come along side me and say – your schedule is pretty full as it is. If you say yes to this, what are you going to say no to or give up? Something has to give, you can’t do it all. Mostly what I end up giving up is time with him ( our son is grown) or the ability to rest and wind down when what I could really use is just a plain old fashioned NAP….

  28. Georgiana Steese

    I used to feel that saying “no” meant I was inadequate, that I wasn’t living up to the person that others thought I was…but I started realizing that I would much rather be effective and efficient in a few things, rather than be “mediocre” in a lot of things….and actually, I was doing others and myself an injustice by trying to live up to MY expectations. I have a full-time out of home job, lead a bible study on Wednesday nights, tutor four students, and run a small Ebay business, along with being a wife and mother of 2 college students. Yes, I realized I can’t say “yes” to everything and be fair to myself or others! 🙂

  29. Jennifer

    Number 1 holds true for me. I feel like saying no is rude, so I often say yes to things and then immediately regret it. I often feel guilty when I say no too. That guilt tends to linger. And when is this book coming out ;(! I obviously need it!!

  30. Lindsey W

    When you are saying no to further your ministry (let’s be honest our ministry doesn’t begin in church, it begins in our homes) there should be no shame nor guilt in using the two letter word. Sometimes we just have to pass over things that may even be good things by saying no. Not because we are selfish or rude but because in order to be stewards of the other things in our lives that God has entrusted us with we must set boundaries, schedules, priorities and goals to make sure that our umbrella of protection is set up under His authority. God, Spouse, Children and everything else follows.

    God bless you!

  31. Barbara

    Sometimes, I’m afraid to say no, because I’m afraid I will come across as being selfish. “I want my time and I don’t want to give it to you” After years of saying yes to volunteering at my kids school, sports, scout and church events, I had a meltdown. I was giving all my time to those activites. I didn’t have time for home time with my kids. I’ve gotten better at saying no. Now, when I do say yes, I’m able to focus more on the one thing I’m doing, instead of spreading myself over 3 or 4 at a time. And much more time is spent at home with the kids and me together.

  32. Nancy L.

    In my childhood home, we were taught to put the needs of others over our own, to serve, to be polite even if it hurts, etc. That’s so deeply ingrained in me that I almost always say YES, when I frequently NEED to say no. On top of that, at the core of my personality I’m a giver/helper and a people-pleaser. It’s a nasty combination that leaves me in a struggle as I over-commit my time and energy. Sometimes NO desperately needs to be said so that I can wait for a better YES. Ugh. This is a serious challenge for me.

  33. Deanna

    Sometimes, I say “yes” when I shouldn’t because I want to be liked. It’s tough to say no and worry about what that person thinks of you. I’ve come a long way since practicing the word “no.”

  34. Gretchen

    #3 God tells us no all the time, so why would it not be the Christian thing to do. Lots of Biblical examples.

    Don’t forget the positives of why we need no. There is so much worldliness that we should avoid. Perhaps we need to be guided in another direction for another greater purpose. We might not be strong enough to say no for ourselves and need someone wiser to do it for us. And the list could go on.

  35. Angela Shadduck

    I am embarrassed to say- but sometimes I say yes because I am too full of myself. No one else can be a better room mom, swim coach, makes a better whatever….. Now these are things that I know I can do well; but why do I feel that I have to do them? Why does it bother me when the room parents lack organization? Why does it effect me if someone else does something which is not up to my standards? I need to appreciate what people DO contribute. I have come to see that this is simply a way for me to make myself more important than others – which is contrary to the will of god. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Seeking perfection only makes you see the flaws instead of the beauty. I strive to see the beauty and live in the moment. I need to say Yes when I can and let others do it when I cannot.

  36. Melissa

    I have the sweetest friend who just CAN’T say no. When she gets really bogged down with overcommitment and gets world-weary with it, she ends up at my door or on the phone because I have boundaries in the “no” area. So she shares her burden with me, I help where I can to give her a listening ear and gentle reminder that she doesn’t have to say yes to everything. She expects it, knows it’s coming, desperately needs to hear it ~ and then immediately goes and repeats the same pattern. Knowingly. The interesting thing to me is that she really, really wants to say no. She seems to truly not know how to.

  37. Marjan Schram

    I am a recovering “yes” woman. Finally in my 5th decade I am learning that saying “no” doesn’t mean I am less capable, less loving, less helpful, and probably the biggest one for me, less needed. I have lived with my identity tied up in my service, not in the One I am serving. It is hard but I have been practicing and it feels great. The senior graduation project managed to go on without me, VBS managed to be held without me teaching, my college kid can do his own laundry and no one has died because we had cereal for supper. And my “no’s” have allowed for so many “yes’s”!! Yes, I can sit on the porch and talk to my husband, I can stop and pray for you right now, I can get deeper into my Bible and devotion time. “No” isn’t a bad word, when it is a freeing word. Thanks for asking and prayers for you and your book – because I have time 🙂

  38. Denise

    For me saying no has always been an extremely difficult task. Growing up, I was always told no. No, you can’t go to your friends house. No, you can’t go to camp. Or no, we can’t afford those new shoes. And that was ok, I turned out ok, in my opinion ofcourse 🙂 But I believe it caused me to fear the word “No”. I find myself saying yes to everyone now because I don’t want anyone feeling the disappoint I felt at the time. I try to reason that saying yes is just easier, but at the end of the day I know I’ve said yes too many times. And the difficulty falls on me. Hope this makes sense 🙂

  39. Teri W

    It’s all in the tone. Spoken in love, spoken in frustration, spoken with urgency depending on the situation will be the deciding factor if its rude, not Christian or if you will have regrets. Lord knows I have said it in all the wrong ways but God is showing me that it is ok to say no. If it causes awkwardness or frustration and you know GOD has said no, not this time. My friends or family will have to get over it or pray through. :). Same for me, if there is something I really want to do and GOD says no, not right now, I have to pray through (sometimes) so I can get over it. Still a work in progress!

  40. Molly Koenig

    Wow! Lysa, your list really resonates with me. As I read it, it strikes me that #2 is what got Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden, so it’s little wonder it trips me up, also.

    Saying no isn’t necessarily selfish, either, but I often forget that … I struggle to remember that saying no to good in order to make room for better or best in my life is the godly thing to do.

    I’m working my way through Unglued this summer, and am really finding it helpful. Thank you!

  41. Cheri Gregory

    Two great quotes from Brene Brown from her podcast on Daring Greatly

    http://www.brenebrown.com/my-blog/2012/11/22/daring-greatly-read-along-7.html (scroll to the bottom and click on “Daring Greatly Read-Along PodCast Chapter 6”)

    1) around the 04:30 minute mark: “The most compassionate people in my research also happen to be the most boundaried.”

    2) around the 15:30 minute mark: (re: setting boundaries and saying “no”) “Choose temporary discomfort over long-term resentment.”

    • Nancy L.

      Thanks for sharing, Cheri! I definitely need to go take a listen.

  42. Tracey Eyster

    Our desire to be approved and accepted and deemed “worthy” was placed within us to reveal our need for a Savior. It’s a whole lot easier to say “yes” to tasks and feed that need through the acceptance of people, but it is a counterfeit and actually draws us away from our Savior. We will crave people’s acceptance more, wear ourselves out and continuously see that no matter how much we “do” we still haven’t found what we are actually seeking. We are not worthy, only Jesus is and an abiding relationship with Him fills us and reveals pleasing man as the counterfeit it is. Saying yes can then be about saying yes to what Jesus asks of us…even if no one notices.

  43. Sarah Bredemeyer

    I think for me it’s hard to say “no” because I (or we) feel a form of guilt come on. There have been times when there has been money raise for a giftcard for a coworkers birthday or wedding and although I can’t afford even the $10 to pitch in I have a hard time saying no because I feel guilty, like a bad coworker if I don’t…and I give in. That is just one example. Instead of trusting in my situation, my decisions, and seeking the Lord and standing firm on his answer I will still avoid saying “no” out of guilt.

  44. Gwen Thielges

    #1 and #3 are big in my life. We want to do the ‘right’ thing and be that person that others can depend on. Also, something that came to my mind was…what if I say no to coordinating/organizing something and the next person they ask to do it does a great job and I never get asked again?? Wow, that sounds even worse on ‘paper’ than it does in my head. Insecurity issues perhaps? …
    Anyway, I am working hard on saying ‘no’ and with God’s help, I’m making progress, because I so want to say ‘yes’ to what God is asking from me!

  45. Patty

    About 20 years ago a pastor friend told me “say no without regret”. I struggled with saying no and when he told me that- it was totally freeing. You can’t be all to everyone. The real question is–do we let others off the hook when they say no to us? Or do we respect their no. As I learned to say no without regret I also had to learn how to give others the same respect and graciousness. I found that I spent too much time trying to convince others to change their no to yes. Once I learned to let others say no to me, my own no without regret came much easier.

  46. krystal

    I’ve been dealing with this myself. I hate to say no. But I’m at the point where I’ve said yes to so many things (even good things, like church things) that its hurting my relationship with God. I got burnt out. Like I was just going through the motions. I’ve had to take a step back and let some things go and focus on God and my family. So even though it can feel mean and rude to say no, if we are only doing things because we feel like we have to because how will they feel if we say no then that is the wrong reason to do it anyway. So that’s my thoughts.

  47. Vanessa Stephens

    When God has given us an assignment whether it be for that day or for our entire life, one thing we should consider when being ask to sign up or whatever way it is presented is this: Does this line up with the assignment God has given me? If it does not, then we should consider relying on God to work through us to say no. If we say yes out of God’s will, we could be keeping the person who is supposed to be saying “Yes” from his or her calling. Sometimes we gals just need to get out of God’s way and let Him do the work!! It’s hard to say no but there is no fruit if God is not leading the yes!!

  48. Natalie

    We think that by saying “no,” others will think less of us. Many women don’t want to be perceived as being “less than” anything. Oh, and the guilt! We tell ourselves, “I should be able to do that” even if we don’t want to, are unable, etc.

  49. Stephanie Szalla

    What if what we are being asked to do, is not something the Lord has for us to do?? One of the worst things to happen in ministry opportunities is when we say “yes” to something we are truly not called to do. It becomes burdensome, stressful, and miserable! When we are serving in the area we are called by God to serve in, there is peace and joy! Sometimes saying “NO” is the Christian thing to do! (referring to #3) We must listen to the Lord and obey Him!

  50. Cassie Chandler

    If I’m being honest, it has to do with the “likability” factor. I, like so many women, am very capable of doing the host of things that I’m asked to do. So if I CAN do it, and I say no, then you might not like me, or you might think I’m being selfish. Many times I have overcommitted to a point of exhaustion. This year, my one word is COURAGE. I have been practicing saying no a LOT! I came to a level of comfort with the concept that just because I am capable, it does not mean that I’m CALLED. It has given me great peace to devote my time to people and causes that give me joy, and it has made me more effective in the pursuits I choose.

  51. CathyV

    I agree with both previous posters! Balance is an issue that I find comes up often in my life. Too much of one thing or not enough of another and it all falls apart. Determining where the most balanced point is on the scale of no versus yes is the hard part for me. I needed to be more involved in service at church and now that my son is growing into a preschooler who has the capability to listen and follow directions he is able to come along with me. Somehow or another I got pulled in to helping with vacation bible school, yes felt great at the time! But now, with a mission trip looming on the horizon in the next 3 weeks and vbs 2 weeks after I get back, and my house a super disorganized disaster area, that yes feels overwhelming! Should I have said no? That remains to be seen, though I don’t think in this particular situation that a “no” would make any of those six statements true.

    However, in response to the first comment, I think the issue occasionally does lie with the other person. Number 4 for example: I have friends who I say “no” to and there are absolutely no lingering negative effects. If they were mad,it’s quickly understood and forgotten. One of my ‘friends’ on the other hand seems to get offended every time I tell her “no” and proceeds to offer up reasons she’s better for not saying “no”. This is a pattern in this ‘friendship’ (using that term loosely) so we only get together every so often.

    One more example of saying “no” when feeling pressured came recently at one of those home parties. The consultant was giving away a piece of chocolate and a chance to either win a prize or to “win” the opportunity to host a party. I said “no” because my home is in no shape ready for a party and it’s not the right timing. I slightly regretted it because I really wanted the chocolate ;), but it was the Christian thing to do, saying “no”, as I new I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my obligation of hosting a party had I “won” that option. Interestingly enough, my friend who always wants me to say yes was co-hosting the party (against her will) because of that same chance game.

  52. Melissa

    I don’t like to say “no” because then I am afraid people won’t like me. So, I either avoid situations where I know I’ll be asked to do something and forced to say “yes, I’ll do it!” OR I say yes when my heart screams “no”. I feel SO bad telling people “no” that I’d rather endure the heart/mind struggle then to risk that person not liking me because I said no.

  53. Kimberly Robinson

    If I’m honest, even though the stress is cloaked in well-meaning, there is a bit of pride about it. The primal reaction is “I have to take care of everyone”. Only since I’ve gotten into my forties have I realized that “I” DON’T have to take care of everyone. Certain things are mine to take care of, and certain things are not. And there’s a mean little streak of pride that wants to do everything so people can tell me how awesome I am.

    The other part of it is fear of causing a negative reaction in other people. I think that little fifth grader who cried her eyes out to her teacher because her best friend was mad at her is still alive and well somewhere in my heart. I put so much stock in what other people thought of me, as if that defined my worth entirely. It has taken me a long, long, long time to get over that. I still confront that heartbroken little girl when I have to deal with people I train and supervise. And I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this.

  54. Mellany

    I am a pleaser. And it’s not healthy. It’s often at the expense of time with my family. I think I’ve confused the line between serving and pleasing. So I find myself in a constant state of being over-committed and a having a bad attitude! So… Working on it! Trying to be more intentional about my choices and praying through my attitude.

  55. Marta

    Lysa-my children are now grown and out on their own. How I wish I would have had the insight and wisdom that you share in your books during my years of a teaching career, marriage, and raising a family! Your sincerity in the trials, tribulations, joys, and elations of life are refreshing, inspiring, and reassuring! You are truly one of God’s Girls!

  56. Amy

    I used to have a hard time saying no until I began reading some of the Boundaries books and realized it was for my own good. I also learned that I didn’t have to provide a detailed excuse to say no, I could simply say, “I’m sorry, but I’m not able to attend. I really appreciate you thinking of me and hope you’ll include me next time” or “I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for our family commitments right now.” I learned that if you provide an “excuse”, the “pusher” will try to find a solution to your excuse, so you keep coming up with excuses and until the point of even lying to get out of it OR giving in to doing what you didn’t want to do and resenting the other person or situation!

  57. Nancy

    All your listed reasons we don’t say “no” are Satan’s lies. We need to set boundaries, and free ourselves for doing what God wants us to do most! We need to pray about a new commitment of our time before agreeing to it. Have I mastered saying “no”? I have to admit I have not. I’m still learning and look forward to reading your newest book, Lysa.

  58. Ramona

    It will produce negative results and awkwardness in the relationship…that’s it for me. As people pleasing women, it’s hard to think of someone being disappointed in us – BUT we can’t control other people’s reactions to our decisions. All we can do is what we think is best and let The Holy Spirit handle the other persons heart. Great topic, can’t wait for your book!

  59. TraciG

    Sometimes I think we say no, because we are afraid of what might happen if our schedule slows down, there are no distractions, and we have to just be still and listen to what God is really telling us. When we are busy doing “Godly” things, sometimes we push the serious relationship business aside, because we rationalize that we are doing God’s will, God’s work. But many times the busy-ness allows us to cover up the issues we know God wants us to deal with… and if we are still, we have to really pay attention to that niggling little voice…..

  60. Cheryl Dodson

    I am the worst at saying “NO”. It does not seem to be in my vocabulary. What seems to happen ….I do not have enough time for everything I have said “YES” to. Eventually we have to say NO. In order to do things right and give them the right amount of attention….we have to say NO. I have said yes to almost everything in the church….I have said yes to everything in my job and I have said yes to all my kids projects…..we are running crazy. SO…..in order for our family to function….some things had to give. I had to reevaluate WHAT EXACTLY IS the right things for my family.

    I CANT WAIT FOR THIS BOOK TO COME OUT. I am excited to hear what your perspective is on the word NO…..

  61. Kathy Applegate

    When you say ‘yes’ people just take it and run.,. when you say “no’ they stop and want justification. In many ways this allows others to judge you and your priorities.

  62. Pamela/bluegoose

    I don’t have an answer….still walking through the muck and mire of being spread too thin at times, however, not as often as before! My love language is acts of service, so if someone ask me to do something, I feel compelled to say yes so they will know that I love them!! For me, this falls under #3 and #4 above.
    If I do say no, I spend too much time and energy thinking about how I could have actually added whatever into my routine! Oh, Lord, rescue me!!!

  63. Casandra Wilkins

    Ugh! Can we talk about how hard it is to say no inside of the church? I almost need permission to say no. And permission to do so without feeling guilty. Especially when asked by someone in authority. One of my favorite stories about how I got involved in a ministry begins with “I’m only doing this because the pastors wife asked me to “. Now I’m a pastors wife and when I ask somebody to do something I make it very clear that the are perfectly free to say no.

  64. Amy

    Irrational guilt.

  65. Jennie Koenig

    Saying no. As I thought about it, all the reasons you listed above really are true. But for me there is something deeper. Sometimes I say no because I don’t trust that God can take care of the situation. Now, I don’t do that on purpose. I don’t sit there and say, “Well God you can’t handle this, so I’ll take care of it for you.” It’s a hidden thing. Deep down. I say yes to projects or to ministry opportunities because I’m afraid if I do not, they will fail. Although the Spirit is confirming all along that I should say no, as if God is saying “I got this one, take a break”, I still say yes. Sometimes saying no isn’t just healthy for your schedule, sometimes saying no is letting go and letting God. If the Spirit is whispering “no”, then I have to speak that even if it hurts. I have to trust that God can handle the situation, or that He has another person in mind for the project, or that He is caring for my heart by preventing me from taking on more than I can handle. So when I say yes to things that I should be saying no too, the root of it is most often a lack of trust in my Father, and that never produces good fruit. Ever.

    • Jennie Koenig

      Oops,** sometimes I say YES because I don’t trust God can take care of the situation.

  66. Jodi Hedrick

    As women, we are created to be the completer of man, inherently programmed to serve others. As wives,mothers, sisters and daughters it’s what we were made to do. By saying “No” to others makes us feel like we aren’t fulfilling our duties. God sometimes wants us to say No to others so we can say Yes to Him, exalting Him, Serving our true purpose. The Devil likes nothing more than to twist God’s word and use it against us by making us feel like we aren’t measuring up to our own standards.

  67. Amy Riester

    For me, saying “no” has come hard. I believe God has given me a gift of desiring to help others in need. But there is a catch. Being truly in need does not mean to take advantage of. I’ve been taken advantage of people who I love dearly from siblings to friends and once it is realized, by myself I am hurt. However because I desire to help, I have literally had to talk myself out of doing things that I know are not best for ME and/or my family. This new word, “no”, makes me feel scared and worried of what these folks will do in reaction to it. I feel afraid that I will disappoint and not live up to a standard that has been put on me. This new word I’ve learned in fact has damaged relationships, but were they the relationships I thought they really were? To me, “no” = thinking of me first….and it’s hard.

  68. Robin

    The underlying fear of judgment probably keeps a lot of women saying “yes” when they should say “no”. Not all, but many busy wives and moms, if they aren’t mindful of it…can come across as judgmental of other women who operate differently. We hear the “talk” about so and so who never signs up for anything, who couldn’t make it to lunch for “whatever reason”, etc. Then, when we’re asked to do things, we are afraid to say “no” for fear that we’re being like the people we’ve heard about…..or talked about. And we will either decide we don’t want to be that person and keep saying yes…..or, we will come to understand them and see them in a more common light.

  69. Amber

    My husband has been a great help in this area. A ‘no’ is not a no if it means a yes to something else. I may have to say no to a friend because I say a yes to my family.

  70. Stephenie Wilson

    I have a hard time saying know because I know that God wants to push me out of my comfort zone and If my response is always “no” then I will not be allowing God to lead my life according to His great plan. “No” often comes with thoughts of letting people down, I want to encourage others and help any way I can so as I say “no” often enough the guilt sets in.
    I also know that God wants me to keep an open heart, mind, spirit and schedule so that I can take on whatever challenge our “normal” schedule brings without becoming an unglued momma (;
    Staying in constant prayer is the most helpful thing I can do!

    I can’t wait to read the new book!
    Much Love!

  71. Rebeccah

    I think we should be given grace in the situations that we must say no to because you should only say yes to situations that you feel God has given you the heart, mind, and time for. Some times we say yes even when God is telling our heart that it is okay to say no because you have (fill in the blank) to do. I have been learning this lesson a lot lately. I have always been a Yes to everything person who sometimes regrets the word YES. I have a church, a husband, a two year old, and 5 month old that all need a YES in certain situations so I have to balance those answers in a way that is healthy and wise for everyone.

  72. Suzie Ellison

    I believe the enemy uses busyness to distract us from the Lord…to blur our site….even the busyness of others somehow creeps in our life, if we are not careful. The enemy wants to keep us so busy doing what we perceive as good, that we don’t even take time to seek Gods plan and be a part of Gods will.

  73. Pam

    First thought, all those reasons listed above come from a human thought process and I used to let them run rampant in my thinking. I had a major breakthrough recently and after 44 years of walking with Him I FINALLY KNOW that God loves me and that I am a His beloved daughter. Before I worked hard to believe, to hope it was true…now I KNOW. It is stunning. It has radically changed how I look at everything, how I act, how I react….I mean NOTHING is what it was. It has become so much easier to not care about all those “human” thoughts. I finally know I can quietly ask my Father, “what do You think about what I just saw, heard, was asked? Am I to get involved and if so, how?”. I am a mercy person and it used to KILL me to see a need and REALLY did me in to not jump in and DO. I was also very capable of “doing” a lot of different things so church leadership jumped on me all the time, but going with that flow just about did me in. I was in quiet time with God for 6 years after serious burn out. Oh my how I have learned to stop my humanity and listen to Him. I am entering a new season of life where my yes’s are fewer but I know they will be mightier. Plain and simple for me now. If I’ve done my spiritual house cleaning with God and know that He hears me then I can trust in HIM to answer when I ask, “what is my part in this, if at all”. I don’t have to trust in my ability to hear Him correctly, cause that puts it back on me. I trust HIM to speak and then I know I can go on with peace. It is SO FREEING!!!! When I ask Him part of the deal is that He has to turn off the heart break in me so I can go on. Almost always I say at least a quick prayer for the right people to step up. I know I am doing what the Father says, period. Now if I can just embrace the same level of knowledge in a couple of other areas….OY. Always something to keep our humanity reminded how great our need is for our Father. But the depth of our need just exalts the height of His grace and love even more.

  74. Merle

    I think saying NO can be a huge step of faith – Faith that God will come through when we step out of the way, faith that our family and friends will still love and/or respect us, faith that we will survive possibly being misunderstood…

  75. Kirstin

    I know I am a people pleaser, was taught to do something if I was able, and I want people to like me as well. I know lots of people in my life both family and friends, that are and I take after them. I also think it is a little precautionary almost, I feel that if I am always saying yes when able, then when it comes time I need something people are more likely to say Yes. I have found that in the few cases I have asked for help (people pleasers don’t really like to ask for help a lot I have found) the people pleasers are more likely to say yes, but then others don’t seem to have remembered all the Yes answers from me. I don’t know if that just provokes more questions than answers haha, but the first thing that popped into my head. I think it could have a little nature vs. nurture background as well. I think some of us just have it instilled and passed on to us.

  76. Meggan S

    I find that my fear of the word ‘no’ comes from a place of total insecurity & people pleasing. That by saying no, others will lose respect for me or begin to dislike me. It’s only when I step back from the initial moment of being asked for something that I am able to identify if I really have the time or talents to accomplish the task at hand. Or if I am just searching for love & acceptance from the person asking.

  77. Davina

    Wow. Great topic! I recently decided to step down as PTA co-president at my daughter’s school after 2 years of hard work and dedication. Not leaving PTA completely, mind you, but just not wanting to be in a leadership position any longer. I struggled terribly with this decision. My struggle was not because I really wanted stay but because I knew that I would receive flack. I knew what I wanted to do but boy did I have a hard time gathering up the gumption to say NO. Why? Because I don’t like confrontations! Whether they are tame confrontations or whether they are all out battles I just don’t like the idea of letting people down. I want to please people. I have to purposefully remind myself that I need to maintain a healthy balance between pleasing people and looking out for myself, because peoples favor is insatiable. We can wear ourselves out trying to please people. I have to keep reminding myself that people who don’t respect my wishes are either selfish or simply trying to maintain a healthy balance of their own. Because, let’s face it, no one else wanted to be the president either. With me stepping down, it meant someone else would have to do it and no one wanted to. The simplest solution for everyone would have been for me to stay. But, I stuck to my conviction and I’m happy to say that we have found a fantastic replacement. Perhaps me saying NO will be the best decision for our PTA that could have been made after all.

  78. Shelli Black

    You know, for me, saying no has a lot less to do with my spirituality or even likeability. It’s an unreal observation of what’s going on around me. Of courseI can help you with that. I’m not too busy! Then I look at my calendar and realize WHAT WAS I THINKING!? But by then it’s too late. I’m stuck baking cookies, picking up the neighbors kids, writing that thing for my husband and attempting to spend quality time with my children. You would think after all these years I would figure it out but no, I guess not.

  79. Candy Gross

    Excited for the new book. I had such a hard time saying no that I would sign my hubby up for things as well. He is a people pleaser too so it worked out alot but sometimes we were the ones that suffered. I believe that there are seasons in our life and we don’t have to do everything in one season. Had to learn the hard way. Learned who I was by saying no. I am not Betty Crocker no matter what I sign myself up for. Just say NO! lol

    Thanks for all you do Lysa. Your the reason why I have my blog.

  80. Martha

    For me, saying “no” a lot of times has that same feeling of tension and anxiety as a conflict. There’s fear involved. I have gotten better over the years at knowing my limitations and saying no, but it’s still hard. I still struggle with different areas of people-pleasing, but saying no to things I don’t have time for or simply don’t want to do, has gotten easier. People can project all sorts of reasons on to you why they think you should say yes, and make you feel guilty, but I have to ignore those if I know I’m doing the right thing. For example, my husband & I do not have children, so people think we must say yes because it is their perception that we have more time, money, etc.

  81. Stacey Philpot

    Like so many of the issues that end up making our faith and relationships more complicated than they need be- my trouble saying no is well- intentioned. Who can stand the thought of possibly saying no to God??!? I don’t want to disappoint God or those I love. What if this was an angel in disguise I failed to care for?? Did I not clothe the naked or feed the hungry? Am I not going to heaven because I said no? I’m being ridiculous, but you get the point. I have this idea in my head that I should always be willing and able to do more, more and more still. When I can’t or don’t I beat myself up and create unwanted, unneeded, unhelpful pressure and shame sometimes working myself into a frenzy that takes up more energy that actually doing whatever I said no to might have. So for me it comes down to discernment. Holy Spirit, help me discern what is good and permissible and what is the kingdom work you have for me? What is practical? What is priority?

  82. Kathy Fisk

    I am a people pleaser, and have been as long as I can remember. I genuinely want to help, and I feel awful when I can’t or when I don’t. If a situation presents itself and I am asked to help someone… say with a need of some kind where buying them something would help them a great deal… as in groceries or gasoline for their car. When I know I can’t afford to help… I will often times say “NO” at first. However, my conscious works on me… and I will give up something that we may need in order to help that person. I will say… that God has taken great care of my daughter and me. Without the love, mercy, and grace of my Heavenly Father, we would not have our own needs met.

  83. Kathy

    I believe I can relate to just about all of these reasons. I always try to prioritize those people who need me the most at any given time since I always seem to have more “requests” for help than I have time. That being said, some people seem to get their feelings hurt when I do have to say no and take it out by acting angry. I try to keep all this in perspective and keep the realization in the front of my mind that I can’t base my answers on what their reaction is going to be. However, I keep a note in my mind that this/these people are easily offended and let that help to move them to a higher priority on that list of requests.

    I think my biggest downfall is MYSELF…….I tend to base my worth on what I can do for others and whether or not I make them happy. This can make anyone or most of us totally crazy trying to keep everyone happy. I know that this is not the “right” reason to say yes to anything at all. It is also wrong to say “yes” to so many things that you are unable to take the time to worry about what you need or the time to spend connecting with God. Most of my “requests” are to help out in different areas or with different people and all, or at least most, are good causes. This makes it even harder to say no.

    I think my reasoning for feeling bad saying “no” to something I would “enjoy” is sometimes the voice of reality telling me that I need to do some of those things that I would enjoy or that would allow me time to relax. I do fear that, when I say no to the fun stuff, that I could miss an opportunity to really become “friends” with someone that could impact my life or that I could impact their life. However, I often am saying no to the “fun” stuff simply because I have said “yes” to the numerous other requests for help.

    I try to make sure my family is always at the top of the priority list and I always try to work my house into the mix and just do it on the side.

    I doubt much of this even makes sense but, it is my “thoughts” on this.

  84. Kelly Willie

    I’ve always been a ‘yes’ person, especially in my former church, until I got completely burnt out. It was then that I realized that if I started saying I was not able to take on anything else, it gave others the opportunity to step up to the plate! Sooner, usually later, someone did!

  85. Samille Jackson

    I began learning to say no to others, when I was learning to say yes to God about the things He was leading me to do for myself, like taking care of my body, while working through Made to Crave. I had to tell my 17 & 18 year old daughters, “no I’m not making dinner tonight or no, you cannot use my car, I’m going to the gym.” I think we sometimes sacrifice being truly loving, to be nice. Sometimes saying no is more loving than saying yes, even though it may seem unkind at the time. I have a hard time with this sometimes because I’m tempted to seek out the affirmation of others more than God’s affirmation.

  86. Diana Nagao

    Because we have become “people pleasers” We have fallen into the devils lies that if we please everybody they will like us and for that reason we feel good with ourselves.

    We need to remember that the only one we need to please is God. By saying yes to everything we are only hurting ourselves because we get so busy that later we don’t even have time for praying or reading our bible and at the end of the day that is what evil wants!

  87. Tara Ghiatis

    I am an approval addict. A people pleaser. Approval = value, when I am not constantly engulfed in the process of seeking God’s approval first. I struggle. I am flattered to be asked to do something. In that broken part if my mind and heart, It means I’m good enough. So I say yes. And I end up on the corner of Overcommitted and Frazzled street. I end up doing 100 things, but not doing any of them well. Defeated. Not good enough. Devalued.

    When I listen to God and prayerfully consider each request, I hear him. He isn’t asking me to be “busy”, he is asking me to be fruitful. Saying “no” means asking God to help me feel HIS approval, not others’. Saying “no” means constantly checking in with my Father, the source of my true value, to confirm that I am in HIS will, not my own. Saying no means that I STOP the desire to chase empty well after empty well like a hamster on a wheel trying to find value outside of his love for me. Consequently, saying “no” also means choosing to live in peace. It means choosing to enjoy the blessings he gives me. It means cultivating the gifts He has given me.

  88. Cindy

    I’ve never actually seen this as a reason – ” We will cause us to miss out on something we might regret later.” Wow! And sometimes I lay the same thing on my kids. Yet when we say yes to too many things, we are going to miss out on the fun anyway due to being overburdened and stressed. When I seek God, He has allowed me to say no and what a gift that is. I wish I asked Him about everything instead of just the big ‘ministry’ things!

  89. Serena

    My problem is that the thought of telling someone no causes me so much anxiety. I feel like they have come to me for help, so therefore I should help, or that I wouldn’t want someone’s feelings hurt if i said no. I actually will start feeling sick to my stomach if I know I have to say no. I think as women we are wired to say yes more then the men do. They seem to not be as emotionally involved in saying no to someone and don’t seem to have their feelings hurt if they are told no.

  90. Bree Crawford

    Interesting thoughts and points! I agree that it may be difficult to say no for multiple reasons.

    1.) Ithink it may be harder for some, if you tend to be a “people pleaser”. If I want someone that I admire to have a good opinion of me, at times it’s hard to say “no”.

    2.) Self worth – when others compliment you on something you do, it feels really good. So you volunteer to do things or always agree when they ask.

    3) Seeing a need and not realizing that it’s not your calling. That’s easy to do too, especially for people with “let’s do this!” personalities.

  91. Jamie Simpson

    No is perceived as negative to some. I, myself, am a compulsive enabler and a people pleaser. Not necessarily traits I’m proud of but nonetheless it’s me. Let me rephrase, I’m not necessarily a people pleaser so much as I do not like confrontation. I also hate to use the term that I’m lazy and no usually takes effort because ‘no’ usually requires an explanation or the dreaded back n forth “why” and “because I said so”.
    I have found that the older I get I’m able to say no with more confidence.

  92. Heidi Dittmar

    I say ‘Yes’ because that’s what good Christian girls do. I say ‘Yes’ because society says I can and, according to them have to, do it all. I say ‘Yes’ because I really do want to serve. But too often I jump in before I’ve listened for the Spirit’s prompting. My flesh wants the recognition, but God has other plans for that time I’ve just committed to without pausing, waiting, listening for His instructions. And when I say ‘No’ even if I know it’s what God wants, I sometimes feel left out of the group, burdened with my own inability to juggle responsibilities, like I’ve let someone down. I’m learning to rely on the promise that I am enough in God and all of my activities don’t determine my value. My worth comes from who I am in Christ.

  93. Susan B.

    Saying “no” also makes me feel guilty. My husband and I were recently asked to go on an international mission trip later this year. And while we want to become more involved in missions, for several reasons, this is not a good year for an international trip for us. So after prayer we said no. But as I see our church trying to fill up the spots…I feel guilty.

    In the past, I was a person who would volunteer before the question was hardly asked! Then I was overwhelmed with everything I had to do. I have learned that saying “no” is a necessity in life. We can’t do it all, they don’t need us to do it all, it’s not healthy to do it all!

  94. Theresa O

    Saying no…..what a hard thing to do! As a self-proclaimed “people pleaser” saying no is not my nature. My mind often screams “NO”, DO NOT say yes to what this person is asking but my mouth most often betrays me with a “OK” or a “Yes” or even sometimes, “I’d love too.” Really? I’d love to? What a betrayal to myself and my family, friends and co-workers. Is it fair to them that instead of saying no, I’m wishing I was somewhere else sometimes?
    As a working wife, mother, and friend I often find a shortageof time. There is too much on the schedule and not enough of me left at the end of the day. This is compounded by multiple groups of friends who do not know each other, each with their own requests, a job that fulfills my need for making a difference but often takes me away on nights and weekends, and a husband who serves our community in law enforcement which creates schedules that slam into each other, leaving little time for us. To make matters worse, the people I love the most in life often can further this thought in my mind when I do get the courage to say no and it is not well received. A simple response from them relaying how much they would have liked for me to be at something allows the feelings of worry and guilt to creep in to my mind. Will they think I just don’t like them? Do they feel I’m always saying no? Do they understand that I just need this moment at my home with my family, just the three of us?
    That last thought, a simple evening at home with my family, has brought me to the breaking point where I finally had to make the decision and come to the realization that saying no is healthy and it is what I need to find peace. Having a daughter came with all the joys of parenting and also a rearranging of my priorities. The former me, the one who wanted to climb the career ladder, be the most involved in my community, and have the fantastic social life that I kept in college has disappeared. I didn’t see it coming but I’m glad it did.
    After several discussions with my heart on my sleeve, I put my needs out to my closest group of Christian friends. Their response was much more than I anticipated, no disdain, only pure love and the permission to stop my inside chatter after I decline an event that they invited me to.
    I still struggle to say no. I still struggle with a balance between work, friends, and family but I’m learning. Each time I say no and allow myself an evening or a weekend at home, a Saturday where I can wake up and make breakfast, do my laundry and clean my house, all while in my pajamas, I breathe a bit easier and enjoy the time I do spend with others much more than ever before. As you once said (and is posted on my desk at work)- “Take the assignment if it is yours. But, don’t kick the anthills!”

  95. Jessi

    We so easily default ourselves into a kind of “guilt” as we say “No” to something. We take it as weakness in ourselves….at least that’s how I feel when I don’t have time, energy, means or know how to be able to squeeze something into my [family] schedule. God so graciously created us as over-thinkers & too often we get stuck in our own thoughts of “well, if I move this & save this til next wk & maybe get this person to help, then Yeah I think I can still do “this”…no need to say “No” lol
    We….(aaHem) I, so desire the ability to do EVERYTHING! Weather I have done it before or never heard of it! I tend to take everything as a challenge.God has kindly called me out on this as I see it played out in my daughters’ lives. He calls us to be balanced & confident, two things we rob not only ourselves of but also our family, when we are “unable” to step back & say “No”.
    Saying “No” is not always a bad thing like we make it out to be. If we say “No” then it gives other’s the opportunity to grow (spiritually,physically, emotionally, socially, etc.)
    & say “Yes”. I love that we can pray to an understanding God [in times of confusion] & then see later (& sometimes immediately:) how His perfect provisions guide our lives.

  96. Margaret Stalcup

    I have noticed in the 26 years that my husband and I have been together that it is almost impossible for him to say “no” to others and his biggest reason is that he is afraid they will think him to be rude. I’ve tried over and over to explain to him that if you explain your situation in a nice way so that they understand why the answer is “no” then you are not being rude at all. I for one prefer honesty.
    I think I was blessed to come from a background where the word “no” was not considered to be a bad thing. On the contrary many times it is a very positive thing. For instance, in 1987 when my husband and I first married I was a young 22 year old woman excited about being a new bride and hoping to start a family within the first year or so of our marriage. Well, God said “NO.” To be honest I struggled for a very long time with this decision and spent much time in bitter weeping and Prayer. I even tried to Pray as Hannah did but in the end I gave up on ever becoming a mother and resigned myself to just stay as busy as I could with work and Church. My husband and I went on Mission trips, taught Sunday School together; I played the piano and organ in Church and was the Church secretary for many years.
    Then one day in the Fall of 2002 my husband came home all excited holding a paper in his hand and saying, “honey, look at this!” It was an article for a Christian Adoption Agency that specialized in Chinese adoptions. Hence, the beginning of the most wonderful adventure of our lives.
    In the Spring of 2004 after Praying and trying to save money for over a year God suddenly opened the door for us to begin our adoption process. He supplied us with the money we needed and also the “mommy car” that I desperately needed. Over the course of the next several months we completed mountains of paperwork and finally sent it on its way to China in December of 2004. The next 6 months was a waiting game while we Prayed and waited for our referral. I remember one night sitting in my office doing some paperwork and listening to a Christian children’s CD. There was a song that started playing that said, “For such a time as this God brought us here to sing…” It was at that moment that God turned my “No” to a “Yes” and spoke to my heart and said, “This is what I safed you for. This is your time.” So, here I was, no longer 22 but now 40 about to become a mother for the first time. Our timing doesn’t always match up with God’s timing but He knows best. So a few months after that in September of 2005 on our 18th wedding anniversary my husband and I held our daughter in our arms for the first time.
    Now, almost 8 years later I’m still teaching Sunday School, still playing the piano in Church, but I’m also the mother of a beautiful 8 year old daughter who is my special gift from God and guess what, I even lead a Girl Scout troop now (lol).

  97. Melody Kruger

    In regards to #3 “Isn’t the Christian thing to DO.” Do is the word that jumped out at me. A lot of us who were brought up in Christian homes were taught that Christianity was all DO. I DO my quiet time every day. I DO pray every day. I DO go to church every time the doors are open. I DO serve on six committees, run the charity bake sale, serve in the nursery every Sunday, visit the sick and elderly in the hospital, all while reading my Bible, praying and cooking dinner =) Such a huge pressure we sometimes place on ourselves when we slip back into the mindset that God calls us to complete our Christianity to DO list daily. Yes we should be actively DOing things in our Christian lives but not to the detriment of ourselves, our family, or an actual living, thriving relationship with Jesus.

  98. Winona Ledgett

    “NO” comes in many different ways and agree it is very hard to say regardless if self feels uncomfortable or knows better than to say “yes.” Struggling with saying “no” to anything has been a tough one for me since very young. Often times “no” can bring an overwhelming feeling of rejection from the person(s) you may have to say “no” too. One important thing I am currently learning is that one just may have to say “no” if the offer is something that hinders spiritual growth or could cause disruption in one’s relationship with God. No tends to be harder for me with a brother or sister Christian in matters that we both “know better.” My personal experiences tend to receive a much harder reaction from Christians when you take a God stance on matters and say “no” against participating in known sin. Why is that? I can easily say “no” to an unsaved person, complete with following up with a tender, witnessing, form of response to support that no but fellow believers can tend to be very harsh when you say “no” and shut you down even when they know it is not something scripturally “right” and something God would not be happy with you for doing. In reality, “no” in a Christians life can be saying “no” to Satan and he tends to put another believer in your face to have you say that “no” too. If he has a bit of allowance in that fellow believers life, he can cause your reward for saying “no” to be rejection. It’s hard to do and get into the “habit” of doing but I’m learning that one must stop for a moment, prior saying “yes” or “no” and pray/think….what would Jesus do then answer accordingly. After all, it’s our relationship with Him that matters the most and if it makes Him pleased and happy then He will care for you, make you stronger ,and handle the other person in His own way and His own timing. Jesus had to say “no” a time or two right? He could’ve very well stopped His journey to the cross but said “NO” and he kept on until saying, “It is finished!” <3 God Bless this new book and am anxious to get my hands on it!! Winona

  99. Brooke Janney

    As a pastor’s wife, it can be a scary thing to say no! It’s hard enough to have friends in the ministry. My wonderful husband is a worship/youth pastor, and he also facilitates our Life Group. I love working in the ministry, but it’s hard to have friends, too. Nobody wants to invite me places, it seems. I feel that I get excluded from what the other “young moms” are doing. Who wants to invite a pastor’s wife along when the girls are going out for a fun night? Although, believe me, I am a super fun person to hang out with! 🙂
    So when I do happen to be invited somewhere, I of course want to always say “yes!” to ensure that I will be invited again.
    If I’m asked to prepare a meal, attend a baby or bridal shower, graduation party, ministry event, etc…and I say no…it doesn’t always sit well with fellow church members. Even if I had a really, really good reason for saying “no.”
    Now I’ve disappointed someone, or made them mad, or even worse, made them just not really care to invite me anywhere else again, and I’m left feeling excluded, alone and worried that I have messed up once again.
    I wrote a blog entry a couple of months ago – A Pinterest Sized Failure. It kinda has to do with saying no and basically feeling like a failure. It calls to mind a life changing verse: Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
    Check out the blog entry here:

  100. Lois Culler

    Saying no doesn’t come easy for me either. But I think when it’s good is when people you love will be better off for it. Slightly can relate it to the airline rule of taking care of yourself first so you’ll be better able /equipped to care for others. We talk about this at Weight Watchers also. If you are doing what you need to do to be your best and healthiest, you’ll be much more able to meet others needs.

  101. Pam

    From your list, the one that most resonated with my saying “no” is #2 – “Will cause us to miss out on something we might regret later.” Although I can and do say “no”, I often go back and forth in my head about whether I should have said “yes.” Is this the right thing or is this not the right thing? Is now the right time or is now not the right time? This chatter in my head can drive me crazy! And, yes, I watched your webcast on that and it was very encouraging and gave me hope : ) I have referred many times to the scripture that says, “Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” ~ Matt. 5:37 (NIV) A mentor of my husband’s once told him, “When you make a decision, whether it’s right or wrong, stick by it.” It’s taken him far on his journey in business and in life. I’m still working on it! Happy writing, Lysa!

  102. Jenna Stoner

    I feel, at least for me, it comes from my past. My mother had a major struggle with conceiving (2 miscarriages, 1 still born, and one who was born at 5 months and lived to be 8 months old). So when I was born healthy and my parents only child I immediately stepped into the role of “golden child”. SUCEED SUCEED SUCEED! Academically I did that fairly well (as long as everyone else’s homework very well). But when it came to relationships I was sinking. When I was 6 years old a close relative sexually assaulted me. and as a child I felt that I was tearing my parents away from a person that they loved. At age 9 a very older man cornered me and luckily I was able to get to my parents before anything too terrible happened. But as I got older that ability to say no just drifted away with the wind. I felt after a life of saying “no” and getting the same results of “your opinion doesn’t matter” that there was no point. In my mind “why ruin a friendship by saying no?” So whether It was doing their homework, babysitting so they could go out, or taking on extra projects they didn’t have time fore to the point where I had no time left. I did it. —- EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK!

  103. Michelle

    Oh goodness can I relate to this right now!! I have a Bible study due for review in mid- July,. I also have five wonderful beautiful blessings (four of whom I homeschool) that simply do not understand “no”. Ok, perhaps that was not exactly correct. They understand the word “no”, but “no” in conjunction with mommy doing something outside of being available to their every whim is not readily accepted by their little minds and hearts. I am not good at saying no to sweet little faces, to family, to friends, to total strangers for the love of Heaven. I never have been…lol I love to say yes, I love to help, to hold, to love, to give. As God has been moving me into this new chapter of who I am in Him, “no” is becoming more frequent. I am having to learn to balance and carry it through to the end. Balance is good, balance is necessary. These are new waters in the Spiritual river that God has poured into me. Blessedly, as I could only expect, He is still at the helm. Sometimes I wrestle Him for the wheel, but He knows my heart and that it belongs to Him no matter how ornery I may get for that control . He knows what I need, and that sometimes I need to say “no”. Not unkindly, not with guilt, not out of fear of missing out, not with anything but complete confidence in knowing that my “no” to something or someone is actually my saying “yes” to Him. In being a gal who says “yes” to my God on a daily basis, I am learning that blessings come from those times of saying “no”.

  104. Crystal

    Saying no is difficult because my value is so often wrapped up in what I do, not who I am. As a result, if I am not “doing”, I am not valuable. And we all want to be valued.

    I spent my childhood balancing all the many things I needed to do in order to keep people happy (or at least to keep up the appearance of happiness). I continued that balancing act into adulthood. If I wasn’t “doing” then would people (or God) really love me?

    I have come a long way in recent years, but the battle continues and I still hear that little voice telling me I must “do”, rather than just “be” in order to be loved and valued.

    • Neva

      I’m with Crystal on this one, though I agree with all of the points you listed, Lysa. From the first word to the her last word, I can say AMEN! I’ve been dealing with this over the past year also, learning not just to say no, but to not jump in to help because there is a need that it appears only “I” can fill ~ my gift of helps, you know? It’s all wrapped up in an insecure package labeled “Me” that is slowly being replaced with a new package labeled “To Neva, from Jesus”, where I’m letting go of other people’s perceptions of me, as well as my own, and learning who I am from the One who made me. I am loved and still have value, even if I say no. Wow! What a concept, huh? Another lesson for us to be teaching our daughter’s at a young age while wondering what took us so long to see it.

  105. Jen Armstrong

    Although it doesn’t come easily, I have definitely grown leaps and bounds when it comes to saying no. I use to weigh myself down with everyone’s requests. I’m not sure exactly when all that changed but at some point, I realized I had my own needs, desires and commitments and if I couldn’t fill those, trying to fill others just wasn’t working out. I kept myself in a horrible mess feeling inadequate for not being able to follow through with anything. I think my biggest reason for always being so willing to say yes was trying to keep the peace, trying to never disappoint others or give them a reason to think negatively about me, but in all actuality, all I did was stir up a whirlwind of emotions inside me – that negative chatter you’ve talked about. Even saying yes didn’t quiet the chatter so learning to say no was exactly what I had to do.

    As I said, it doesn’t come easy now and I do tend to over commit myself with only the best intentions but finally being able to prioritize where I feel God can use me best or is leading me and putting those areas before the needs of other demands that aren’t absolutely necessary have certainly lifted a ton of weight from my shoulders and left me the freedom to fill the areas I need or want to fill.

  106. Kristina Horn

    NO……pretty simple answer is I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Somewhere inside I feel that by saying no I will let others down. Funny thing is NO is easier to say to my boys and husband. So I guess the real question is why am I so willing to say no to those who should matter the most and yes to those whose lives don’t impact me the way my family does. I really don’t have an answer for that though.

    I have found that over the years my first response is not always my best response and so some situations requires thought before an answer…….1. How does this affect me (very selfish thought) 2. How much time will this take 3. Will this benefit me …….as you can see all very ‘Me First’ questions. If I am truly seeking God on a daily basis the questions though tend to be….1. Is this something God is asking of me…..2. How can I be a part of the solution..3. Is this a distraction from God’s purpose for this day…4. Pray. All in all, saying NO does require thought and prayer. Where my focus is, determines my answer. It still doesn’t take away the feeling of not wanting to disappoint anyone, but if I am truly seeking God first it helps me give the right answer. This allows me to feel less guilty or worry about disappointing. Still NO is never easy……Is it just a girl thing? NO is still often a tough thing for this girl!

    • Nichole Stabasefski

      I agree!!! Very thought provoking question and answer. I was having the same problem, I would make a ton of commitments and not have much time for wifey or momma. But then I heard a very distinctive whisper that put much into perspective. “Nichole, right now your family is your ministry”. Which in a way was very relieving, but I still don’t want to hurt anyines feelings nor do I want people to not invite me because I said no.

      However, there are different seasons in every ones life. I believe that he has lessons for us in each season, and with each season you should produce a new growth. Or in some cases do some trimming on the branches that don’t yield any fruit. In order for us to reach our new season, a new growth, we have to learn all the lessons that he wants us to learn.

      We have been in this “be still and be patient” season for o I dunno 2 yrs. And in this season it has been easy to “crave” other things besides God. But, I believe in my heart that His will is always best for me. Even when it doesn’t make sense or makes me feel uneasy, I know that He grows us out of our comfort zone. He doesn’t want us to just sit back he wants us to lead, grow, and speak the gospel . If we didn’t seek results then we would have no reason to grow.

      I love your 4 questions that you ask. I will be using that.

      side note, Lysa, friend, thank you for listening to His calling for you. I did made to crave last year, and I found every reason under the sun to think of why it didn’t apply to me. I was 7 months pregnant. Well, again, obey that little voice. For the second time around it has broken me! And, girl, unglued, broke me. Altered my life. Changed me, the worst of them.

      blessings and joy for you sweet friend.

  107. Jennifer

    I have trouble saying NO because I feel like if I do I will disappoint people. If someone is disappointed by my saying know then I feel like I may have made them feel rejection and then In turn reject me. I have to remind myself that if I am stretched to thin I can’t do my best on anything I am doing. I feel it’s important to do my best because everything we do should be as s worship to God! I remind myself unordered to put my best foot forward I have to say No sometimes. It’s important to make decisions only after seeking God!! If I feel like God is telling to hold off or say no who could argue with that!!

  108. Marisol

    I used to have a problem saying no. I wanted to be involved in everything. I had spent years in depression and felt I had to make up for lost time. Until I found myself knocking door to door as I was campaigning for our local Board of Education for a spot at the table WITH A BROKEN ANKLE! I said to myself, “I must be crazy!” I finished my campaign run (I didn’t want to be a quitter) and didn’t win. I have never been so happy not to win something! LOL! It certainly put everything into perspective. I had to decide what my true passions were and where I wanted to invest my time in without risking my responsibilities at home. With Gods help and attending the “Find your passion” workshop at She Speaks last year I was able to identify my passions – then everything else became a no; very easily. If it didn’t align with my passions, then I didn’t want to invest my time. I know finding your passions isn’t easy for everyone, but it’s so important to doing what God wants and not what we want or someone else may want from us. God did not intend for us to be so busy we didn’t have time for our families — which should be our very first ministry with the highest priority!

  109. Jodi Meiter

    First of all, it’s hard for me to say “no.” When I reflect on why it is hard, I think it is because I have forgotten the better ‘yes.’ It all comes back to me having the right priorities. If I have my priorities in order and know them and live by them, then when a decision comes, I can filter it through the grid of my priorities. Is this good for my husband and family? Does it honor God and bless others? Does it interfere with me living out what I believe God has called to do? After asking tough questions, it’s easier to come up with a wholehearted ‘yes,’ or a guiltless ‘no.’

  110. Amy B

    Oh can I ever relate! I’m struggling now with setting boundaries, saying “no”, and trying to figure out how I say no to requests from my husband (when it’s valid) and still be “in submission” to his authority in my home. Isn’t saying no going against that? There are many things I’m asked to do in a day that (quite frankly) he needs to handle, and I feel so guilty telling him no. I wrestle w/ the thoughts “is that being disrespectful?” Thanks for an awesome post, Lysa.

  111. Mary Mauk

    Saying “no” means I may disappoint someone, they may not like me as much anymore, or that I will have failed to step in and save the day. On the other hand, saying “yes” when I should have said “no” means I will end up being disappointed, frustrated with myself (and likely short with others), and the one whose day was ruined. Saying “no” means I have to give myself a reality check: other people’s disappointment doesn’t last forever, real friends understand and like me just the same, and the last time I checked, this chick definitely shouldn’t be seen in public wearing tights and a cape anyway!

  112. Jennifer

    I think often times we avoid saying no because all those extra things help us escape what we should really be doing. It’s hard to get around to the mundane tasks of cleaning and laundry if we’re constantly out doing good things. Most of us overcommit to really GOOD things…but we’re trading what’s best for what’s good in order to either avoid the hard work of the “best” or save face in front of those whose opinion of us matters.

  113. Donna L. McDowell

    It is hard for me to say no because everyone depends on me. I care for my disabled husband, our three children, I home school, and care for my 94 year old Grandmother. Everyone in my family says that I was born 40 years old. I am the “responsible one”, I know “what to say to the doctors”, I am smart because “I am the only one who went to college in the family”, and the list goes on and on. I am dependable, I will follow through, keep to my word, and I won’t say no for fear of letting any of them down. This not only happens in my family life but with my friends and church as well. I take on so much that I am left in a sea of guilt and regret. And then when I break down from being so overwhelmed, I tell myself that I am a failure. I am “not good enough”, I “can’t handle it all”, and then I wonder what is wrong with me that I can’t do it all. This is a cycle that has occurred over and over in my life. I know that the enemy uses these moments of doubt to seep in and eat away at my self confidence. But I also know that the only true way to break free from this cycle is by strengthening my faith in God and letting him lead my life. By praying for his will in every situation before taking on any more commitments. It has been a long hard road. Some days I take two steps forward and then one huge step back. But in my moments of falling back into the “old” me, I have to remind myself that my first priority is to God and then to my family. And if I don’t take care of myself then who will take care of my family? People say to me all the time, “I don’t know how you do it?”. I know that without God’s love and grace, I would not be able to do it. But the blessings that come from caring for a loved one far outweigh the sacrifices that I have made. We have seen God’s blessings over and over in our lives when times were very dark for us. God will lead my life and show me his ways and not my own. I just need to remember to trust in him and let go of the rest.

  114. Maritza Price

    Lysa, I wish I had the time to read all the other posts that I’m sure are wonderful (I’ve skimmed through a few). Before having children, saying no was hard and I usually ended up in a frazzled state. I’m also a perfectionist, so it didn’t help when I over committed then wasn’t able to get things done just right. I think my reasons were more about me than the other people though. I wanted the praise and admiration of others, not to please them, but to please me. It was pride. I wanted to be able to say how awesome I was at getting so much done. This happened especially in college. Back to the having kids thing. I had a year left in college when I got married. We didn’t plan on kids right away because I needed to finish school and we were pretty broke trying to get started out. God had another plan. Not only did I get pregnant three months into our marriage, but I was extremely ill all 9 months! I was forced to end my habit of doing everything for everyone and had to start letting everyone do everything for me! I was humbled to the max and learned the virtue of allowing others to serve you. I had read the passage about Jesus washing his disciples feet and Peter’s responses to him. But I was taught to be like Jesus. To serve and not be served. Then I realized that Jesus DID allow others to serve him in so many ways, just not the way a King would expect to be served. He came to this world like a defenseless, naked little baby…dependent on Mary and Joseph for his care. He needed to be clothed and fed and bathed. He let Mary wash his feet with precious perfume. He was prepared for burial by his women followers and John. He used Joseph of Arimethea’s tomb for the time he spent dead. That’s when I realized that we have to be humble as we serve and humble enough to be served. We also have to be wise and truly let God direct our paths. There are so many things I would love to do, especially for others, but I know God hasn’t called me to do it, so I don’t. That would be disobedience, so I say no. Other times, there are things that need to be done, that I REALLY don’t want to do, but know God has called me to it. I have to say yes.

  115. Bonnie Ellison

    I think it has a lot to do with pride in our own ability to do the job better than anyone else. We can be deceived and blinded by Satan in to ignoring the needs of our families and selves by this faulty thinking. We can believe that if we don’t do it, no one else will do it as well as we will, therefore it is our “duty.” I used to live there, and it nearly killed me both physically and emotionally, not to mention spiritually!!!

  116. Megan Romeo


    tough word to hear and equally hard word to say. i think as women we all want to be able to say no and say it without feeling the gray cloud of guilt over our head- it’s as if we not only let just one person down but everyone in our circle of friends or family in that moment down. it brings doubt, it brings questioning and God didn’t intend for it to be that way.

    but why does saying this infamous two letter word makes us feel all those listed items mentioned above? it is because the attacker tells us otherwise and fills our mind with lies saying that we aren’t being Christian enough or how could we be selfish to say no, how rude! we then doubt the intentions and the purity/honesty that the word should bring.

    we get so caught up in over-analyzing the meaning behind it that it pulls us away from the pure intentions of our heart whether we are the ones saying it or even if we are on the other end hearing it. if we just gave one another enough grace to understand where it is coming from there would be less pointing fingers and feeling insecure about the decision you made in setting a boundary.

    no should be an honest but pure boundary. it is a balance to the busyness of life and something God allows us to say with confidence and wisely if we are doing it in that way – but how closely the enemy follows to push his way into our thoughts only to make us feel differently and question it all.

    the beauty of this all is, with saying no comes the word yes and that is where the balance is then created. no doesn’t always have to be a negative word and if we focus on His Truth and try hard to not let the attacker twist our intentions otherwise- we will feel more at peace.

    all this is way easier said than done and a daily battle in a world where the fast lane is the way to go where yes seems to always be the way to go. Big BUT, no can bring joy too – it can bring quietness, it can bring confidence, it can bring being at peace in knowing your limits as a person and most importantly, it brings God into creating you to have a balanced life.

  117. Susan Greenwood

    I have struggled with “no” my entire life. Maybe if we think of “no’ as a pathway to “know” then we won’t disregard the validity and importance of utilizing “no” when something is contrary to God’s best for us.

    I know for me, no matter how many times I tell myself that it’s ok to say “no,” I will inevitably recite a rap sheet of circumstances as though pleading my case to a jury of my peers. It is such an inner struggle. Even though the person has already released me, I cannot shut my mind off. I continue to negotiate in my mind trying rationalize or come to terms with having said, “no.”

    I realize too that I give too much importance to reason. If I don’t feel I have a good enough reason, worthy of “no,” then I cave and say “yes.” I am trying to learn that “no” is enough, especially if something will deter my time and attention away from what God is trying to accomplish in and through me. Just because I can or am capable doesn’t mean I should.

    Actually, “yes” does not release the inner struggle. By saying “yes” to something I know I should have said ‘no” to makes me not only feel regret but now I have added to my obligations. No is regret without obligation…hmm. Such a struggle!

  118. Rhiannon

    For myself, so many times, and quite unnecessary, I feel let down when I hear the word no. I don’t want to be the cause of someone else feeling the same way also, so “Yes, let’s make this happen”, just pops out of my mouth. I have, sadly, passed this on to my 13 year old daughter who now struggles greatly with feeling like she is always letting someone down. My inability to say no has caused my child to feel like she always needs to measure up to peoples expectations, and it grew in to the same for me. My poor husband, who does not struggle in the same way, has to deal with not just one, but two ladies in the house who fear letting others down. I need to grasp what he already understands…the reality that, sometimes we have to let people down. Sometimes our expectations and theirs do not line up, and sometimes that’s okay! It’s okay! We’re okay! Saying no, will turn out okay! It might not be easy. It might bring up a whirlwind of emotions, but it it will be okay!

  119. Emily

    My pride and insecurity seem to go hand in hand. It’s a fine line I walk. If I place too much value in myself, then I walk in pride. If I underestimate my value too much, then I walk in insecurity. If I’m being honest, I say “yes” because it temporarily satisfies both. It strokes my ego knowing that I can add something of value that they wouldn’t have unless I was apart of it. It also negates my insecurity because I feel like I’m needed and apart of something. My inner monologue starts quoting Sally Field and saying, “You like me. You really like me,” which perpetuates my pride.

  120. Kim

    I don’t want to disappoint people when they have come to me for help. Being on the side of having to find people to fill spots at church and school, I see the other side of it too. Someone needs to say yes or things don’t get done. However, after over committing to many things, my pastor’s wife did tell me, “you know Kim, we will still love you even if you say no”. It really hit me that I was doing too much, searching for people to love/approve of me. I have also realized that I need to search for God’s approval, not people’s and that helps to say no. As women, most of us are nurturers and saying Yes goes along with being nurturing to others. We say yes to our husbands, kids, friends and other family so often that I think it is hard to say no to others. It’s about valuing yourself and your time more than what the other person is asking of you and that feels uncomfortable when we are so used to putting ourselves last on the priority list.

  121. Emily

    I think people tend to think say NO is the wrong thing to do… we think it isn’t Christian actions or that we are just being mean?? I recently started going to a Bible Study on Boundaries… one thing our leader said is saying NO is not always a bad thing. If you are saying YES and it causes you to feel stressed and cause you to have hard feelings against another person you should not be saying yes… sometimes saying NO can be good for you… pray about what you should say! yes or no…. Sometimes its a matter of setting boundaries…. Boundaries should increase your love for people not cause more stress and misery and to feel taken advantage of by others… say NO when you mean no and YES when you mean yes… saying YES and WISHING you had said NO and be mad for not saying NO is not a good thing!!!

    • Emily

      PS…. if saying NO to someone cause them to be upset with you maybe you need to re-evaluate that relationship… it should not be offensive if some says NO to you or if you say NO to someone else.

  122. Rachel Pratt

    Saying “no” for me means I am not being helpful to those who need more help than I do. I then will feel guilty for not helping and saying “no”. Sometimes it made worse by those who try to make me feel guilty but quite often itis of my own doing. I am starting to ghetto the point now where I have to say “no” to others to take care of myself and to let God in and do His work in my life. If I let others run my life, I am not letting God run it. I have finally realized that it is okay and even healthy to say “no” to others and even yourself once in awhile.

  123. Carla

    If we say “yes” to everything, then we will not be available to say “yes” to what God wants us to do. I think we should always leave a little extra time of availability into our schedule for God’s activities. Those are the ones I don’t want to miss out on. Jesus ONLY did what the Father told Him to. We’re no better than Jesus, right?

  124. Alyssa

    Number 2 definitely resonates with me. They say hindsight is 20/20, but for me it’s more like 50/50: “Should I have said yes? It would have overcrowded my schedule, so it’s probably good I said no…but I might have missed out on something good, so perhaps I should have said yes!” I think my problem is that I usually base this thinking on what’s going to be the most fun or pleasurable for me, and that’s not always what God wants for me.

  125. Shaunna Troop

    A very good friend of mineonce told me that “No” is a complete sentence! Wow, how freeing that was and still is for me! I used to say no and then follow it up with all the reasons why I was saying no. I even made up elaborate “stories” just to make sure I was justifying my reasons for saying no! Just saying no and leaving it at that is much easier.

  126. Brenda Greig

    Sometimes I feel afraid to say “no” because it’s hard to discern what God wants us to act on and what we have the freedom to decline. Even after praying about what has been asked of me I don’t always have a “sure” sense what He wants me to do. I want desperately to serve Him so if in doubt, I say yes.

  127. Amber

    I think one of the reasons Christian women have so much trouble saying, “no” is that we LOVE our Lord and want to serve Him in every possible capacity. After all…the message from the pool pit is that we need to “do more” to spread the gospel (which can include everything from bake sales to car washes to taking food/clothing to a needy family and everything in between). We are guided through scripture to be reverent wives…role models for young women…keepers of our home…and on and on it goes…I think we have trouble saying, “no” because we perceive that doing so means we somehow sub-standard.

  128. Melinda

    Saying no may mean someone does not approve of me – if my selfworth is all about making sure others are okay with me even if I am not totally honest then I have an idol and that idol is me. God alone is the one to meet my most basic need for worth – He will if I let Him – I have to let Him and sometimes that means not getting the approval of others – even if one of those others is someone I love –

  129. Karin Allison

    Mary Graham of the Women Of Faith Conference always said that ” ‘No’ is a complete sentence.” I think mane pf us (Christian) women do feel we ought to be involved in everything, help fix everything (or if not everything then at least a lot, or at least try). We do feel we let others down who thought enough of us to turn to us for help. But Jesus actually often displayed his priorities in… walking away from a crowd of people. Who had followed him around just to be with him or get something from him, a healing or a word – all very needed. But was Jesus rude? He made his quiet time such a priority he didn’t let the pressing needs of others (which are never-ending, by the way) cause him exhaustion. No matter what it may have looked like at the moment. So I think we can take freedom in following that example. My husband is a pastor and I have found most people do understand when you say no. You have to say it in a way that helps them understand. And if they don’t, then let Christ cover them and you because he knows your heart and why you said no, even if it was a worthy cause. We need to please God more than men, and our family comes first lest they resent our ministry and deem us hypocrites, and want nothing to do with a God who causes his followers to neglect their own kids or household. We are not superhuman on account of being Christians. I’ve found great freedom in pursuing balance in my life and in setting healthy boundaries and priorities.

  130. Pamela

    I have a hard time saying no because I’m a people pleaser. I like to make people happy and definitely don’t want anyone to be mad or upset with me for any reason. Just one bad part about this is that it seems that it’s rubbing off on my eight-year-old daughter, who told me, “I like to make people happy!” It was her statement that made me realize I do too! And is that a good thing? I think not. Always saying yes cuts into boundaries, if there are any even set?! Can’t wait for your book. I’m a big, no … fanatic fan!

  131. Cindy Watson

    As moms, we think we can do it all. I’m trying to learn this in a different perspective. If I do it all, the tasks that I take on will not get my full attention and my energy. I’m spread too thin and exhausted. I am finally learning that I need to pick and choose what to say yes and no to and give yourself permission to do so!!!

  132. Cindy

    I find this becomes easier as I have grown older. A grandmother of 3, and involved in teaching children in my church, prioritizing has become essential. With less energy and increasing care of my parents, I must choose what God deems important, what gives me and others around me pleasure/joy.
    Having energy in reserve to enjoy leisure time with my husband is worth any real or imagined misunderstanding/judgement from others.

  133. Mandy Hill

    Hi Lysa! I love your perspective! I love your writing 🙂 My husband is a minister and we have learned that saying no is sometimes a necessary means to prioritizing. Our priorities in order are: a) our relationship with The Lord b) our relationship with each other c) our relationship with our children and d) our ministry…..everything else falls after that. If something comes up that will take away from time we have specifically set apart for any of these four things we feel we must say no. A no doesn’t always have to be a no forever….it could just mean a no for now with an intent to reschedule. There is most certainly value though in learning to say no. It truly is a learned skill. 🙂 Thanks for blessing us readers with such great wisdom!!!

  134. Karin Deaver

    I spent my life performing to earn the emotional connections I craved. I learned to control every aspect of my life for that sole purpose. To say “no” meant I would miss out on an opportunity for the pats on the back that were replacements for the comfort I lacked. I often said yes based on what I thought I should do, should look like, should be in order to please people I looked to for that connection. If I was asked by someone I didn’t need anything from, I could say no. If I was asked by a person who I hungered for attention from, I’d say yes. And I’d say yes if it was something I thought a “godly person” would say yes to because I was always trying to please God as well so that I might earn his favor. In the past 6 months I’ve walked through some intense healing for past wounds and I’ve begun to deal with my sinful ways of compensating for those wounds. I found myself Monday saying no to a person I very much value and I surprised myself. It was the best decision for me and my family and I stood in wonder at my ability to say no so naturally. Now that I’ve exposed my hidden motivations for my performance based actions I am finding I am free to finally say no.

  135. Randi

    I think saying no is hard because “no” is rejecting someone or something. No one likes the feeling of being rejected. I think it’s important to draw boundaries around what we can or can’t do and when we do say “no” it should only be on the basis of the boundaries have been crossed. We also need to learn to deliver the message of “no” in a way that is not rejecting or threatening to the person receiving the message. None of this is an easy task that’s why it’s so important to say focused on where God is in our lives and learn to depend on His strength because we can’t do things on our own.

  136. Sandy L.

    I agree with “I might miss out on something.” I’ll add “pride” and “selfishness.”
    So, I’ve come to realize that this is my God given gift. But I think I tend to abuse the gift when the reality is that I desire the possibility of earthly rewards of compliments or respect for helping others. Truth is we have God’s work to do.

  137. Edith

    As a student nurse, I’ve had to say no to so many things. At times I’ve even said no to God. But I learned the hard way that when you say no to God, you’re on your own. Being on your own turns your world upside down. I failed a nursing course and I’m currently enrolled in a remediation course. I’ve learned a valuable lesson: When you manage your time well, you prioritize those things that are most valuable to you. Saying “no” to a social gathering won’t be as bothersome if you keep your values and goals in mind. Now, no matter what, my time with God is entered in my planner and it takes precedence over everything.

  138. Sara Williams

    Relationships are so important to me as I grew up not having very many close friends. When I have to say no to someone I do feel that I will miss out on something special – that connection that would trigger a lasting friendship. That is something my heart desires and that I pray for regularly. I want people to like me and want me around and saying no seems to have the opposite effect.

  139. Rhonda Carroll

    Being a pastor’s wife and someone who likes to please others, it is very hard to say no and when I do, then I feel guilty. But I am trying to follow Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” This verse is a constant reminder to myself that many times I must say “no” to myself as well as others in order to say “yes” to Jesus.The word deny means to “refuse to give something requested or desired to someone else.” So, if I want my life to align with the good that Jesus has for me, I must at times say no or “deny” myself or others. If I want good health as Jesus calls me to have, I must say “no” to things that are not good for me. If I want to find time to spend reading His Word, then I must say “no” to the distractions that keep me from doing that. So when I begin to feel guilty for saying “no,” I quickly remind myself of this verse. That makes it easier to say “no” to myself and “yes” to Jesus. Blessings!

  140. Tiffany D

    I accepted Christ at 21. It took about five years before anyone started asking me to volunteer. I helped here and there. Then God called my family to a 3-year, 3-state, pack-up-and-move again (and again) adventure. I grew so much in my faith and God really showed me who I was during that time – perhaps “moving” into my 30’s helped me to see more clearly my giftings and abilities, too. The adventure ended abruptly and we happily returned “home.”

    I returned with passions that I hadn’t had before, a deeper relationship with Jesus and a more confident sense of me. All helped me to say NO because I KNEW who I was. But, I’m a natural leader. And I LOVE the Church! I despise the mentality of those who choose to “sit on the sideline” and complain but never want to help “be the change”. I too quickly say yes to areas of ministry for which I am passionate about and know I could help improve or lead with some fresh ideas. But it has been much easier to say no to areas of ministry where I just know that they aren’t a good fit for me – at least not until God ignites a new passion or heart in me for them.

  141. Jodi Spilde

    I’ve been working very hard lately to say “no”. I practice it all the time and do the fish-face squeezy cheeks thing to make my mouth form the word. lol

    I have felt very over-extended the past couple of years. I want to be involved in areas such as my church, PTO, community projects, and etc. I’ve learned so much and have met so many good people. I want my children to see that it is good and important to give of your time. But I’ve been feeling that my family is suffering (me included). I’m missing out on the fun stuff as I say “Sorry, Mommy can’t go for a bike ride, I need too…..” Oh how it crushes me to see their sad faces as they turn and go on their way. I then resent the fact that I volunteered, but can’t back out now because that’s not how I roll. I’ve committed to the project. I say to myself that I will not take on anymore, but yeah, that doesn’t last. I need to commit to my family.

    I am currently reading your book Unglued. It’s like you’ve had a “nanny cam” and are writing directly about me. Can’t wait to finish the book and dive into the 60 day devotional.

    Looking forward to your new book.
    Have a Beautiful Day!

  142. Ellen Sedberry

    I have done crafts for VBS for years and years at our church and loved every minute of it. But this year I just didn’t feel like I could do it because I work, teach children’s Sunday School, and my husband has some health issues we’re dealing with. I struggled with saying no for a while because I’ve done it for so long and I thought everybody just expected me to do it. I agree with Bonnie, I think it has a lot to do with pride. We think no one else can do it like we can. I prayed about it and finally told my pastor’s wife that I couldn’t do it this year. I felt such relief, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And you know, someone else agreed to do it, and I know they will do a great job.

  143. Tami

    Saying “No” is so hard at home because it means letting down my boys or my husband and brings on terrible feelings of shame and guilt. I know that these are not gifts from God. And sometimes as a mom and wife you have to say no for your own sanity!!! It doesn’t make the “No” word any easier.

  144. Melinda

    I used to think that if I said no, then it wouldn’t get done. Which, in turn left me feeling guilty.

  145. Amber Cook

    I love the idea for your new book! Your previous book “Made To Crave” helped inspire me to lose eighty pounds and look at my diet/exercise choices from the right perspective! :). I’ve wanted to read your second book, because I struggle with coming “unglued”; however, I have been soooo busy! LOL I have come to realize that I struggle with saying, no. I am stepping into a new chapter of my life where I have set goals to slow down and allow time into my life for God to work. You see, I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to respond to God’s direction and wisdom. Oh what a trap it has been! Now, I have changed that and I am depending upon a close friend to hold me accountable. In order to be used by God I have to give up some control of my time. I have always been the type of person who had to be busy or I felt like I was not being productive. I still plan to be busy, but I’m going to leave the plans up to God. When my schedule was full of my plans, I didn’t have room for God’s plans. I learned that by not saying no to others, I was saying no to God! A wise pastor of mine once told me, “If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy!” This was it for me. I was going to church, working in ministries, and doing good things. The problem was these good things I was doing were my things, not God’s things! 🙂

    Thank you so much for being a spiritual mentor to me. I feel like the path God has for my life is connected to you and the lessons you have learned and share with the world through your research and writings! God bless you for being brave enough to be a writer! 🙂

  146. Daphne Hill

    I am so thankful you wrote about this. I feel SO GUILTY when I say no.

  147. Serena Williams

    My biggest reason lately that I have such a hard time saying no is if I don’t do this then who will which then leads to a whole battle with guilt.

  148. heather

    I’ve had to say no to some good things lately. Coming from one who usually says yes to just about everything church related, this has been hard, both on me, and on people who are used to me always saying yes. However, I’ve had to remind myself of a few things: I haven’t said to everything, I am still serving in the church, just not in as many areas as I used to, and just because I am reasonably good at several things doesn’t mean I have to be doing all of those things all at once all the time, and saying no now isn’t no forever-I am just in a season where my husband and two boys need more of my time than I would be able to give if I said yes to everything. (Stressed out overextended Momma is Never good!)

  149. Angela

    God never intended us or designed us to do everything or even go beyond what he alone wants us to do that day. Its pride sneaking in through the back door disguised with “good”, aka selfish intentions. We try to do everything to please people and we care more about what people think about us than what God thinks. It all comes down to humility. We like to control everything and become busy bodies, never really accomplishing anything. We refuse to be still and listen to God. He created us for a specific purpose and yet we think we should attend to everything as if God “needs” us. We’ve again let the philosophy of “I can do it all” seep into our minds and hearts. God said to guard your hears above all else because He knows exactly what we fall into. We as women fall into the ever abnoxious martyr syndrome when we dont say no. We make everyone else feel sorry for us when we have no one to blame but ourselves. If we would just swallow our pride and leave the accomplishing to Him than we could really see God glorified in all we do, in only what he intends us to do. Why do we try so hard? He already gave us enough grace today, yet we slap him in the face when we say yes to everyone but Him. Are we saying God’s infinite grace isn’t enough? It’s always enough for our salvation for eternity, yet we act like its not enough for us in our daily life. Pride, it seeps in, soaks everything, and pretty soon the “black mold” starts to grow. We burn out because we think our plans are better than Gods. He said “Be still and know that
    I am God”. When we don’t say no, it (whatever it is) becomes a god, an idol we worship, something we hold onto and try to control. Instead of saying we are busy doing things “for Him”, imagine if we let go of our selfish pride and allowed God to do greater things through us.

  150. Cathy Morrone

    I am so excited you are addressing this issue in a book! I have trouble saying no even when I know I ma overextended. I need help with limits and boundaries and basically always putting everyone first and me last without feeling guilty. As a Mom we are the fixers and doers. Yes it is that Mary and Martha struggle for me.But I am realizing that if I don’t say no once and a while and start taking care of me then no one will get taking care of. I do feel guilty every time I do say no an I don’t know why. Other friends say no and it does not bother them. I need to remember the Jesus loves me for just being and not doing. “Be still and know that I am God” Now there is a thought:)

  151. Becky C.

    Saying “no” means I’ve failed. Although, saying “yes” doesn’t necessarily bring satisfaction.

  152. Karen

    When I say no, I feel awful for doing so. I feel like I am letting someone down because they asked me. Sometimes, I feel like I will miss out on a blessing or fun if I don’t say yes. But in the end, saying yes to every request leaves me stressed to the max and leaves me very little time for my family and most importantly, time with God. I have had to start saying no because God has really been dealing with my heart about decluttering my plate of responsibilities. I have let some really big responsiblities go at church and at my child’s school (which is actually my place of work as well) that have really eaten up my time in the past 7 years and let someone else who is better equipped to have that blessing. 🙂 It has been a difficult process but when I started saying it, I felt so FREE and so at peace! It felt so incredibly good! I pray about it first and allow God to guide me in that decision. And I’ve decided that even if I disappoint someone, it’s only momentarily. I’ve been putting my focus on God first and my time with him, my family second, and then “me” time and all other responsibilities last. God is truly blessing me for doing so! I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you for your ministry!

  153. Lina

    Hi Lysa,

    Great topic! I have gone through years of therapy to learn to say “no”. What I have learned is that it is the best thing for a relationship and I make sure I let all my friends know that too. I mean truthfully do any of us want to be around someone who doesn’t want to be there but she showed up just because she couldn’t say “no”? I don’t. It is also a matter of trust. You have to trust the other people in your life to take care of themselves so that you can take care of you too. Naturally I mean the adults and not the kids, but a great time to teach the kids.
    One of the things I had to learn was to hear “no” when they didn’t actually say it. God has given me the gift of sensitivity so I was often aware of this but sometimes still pushed my way unless they said an actual “no’…. Now I try to help in the process and point it out to them. This keeps it fair on both sides.
    Upon reading your blog today I realized it all started for me back in young childhood as my Dad would say “would you do me a favor?” but that wasn’t really a request and there wasn’t really the ability to say “no”. It was just posed in that fashion. So I learned very quickly to always do what someone asked me to do, never entertaining the idea that I could say “no”.
    Thanks for bringing this question to light. And God luck on those 60,000 pages!!

  154. Sara

    can it come down to a self centeredness, “me” thing when we..i say “yes”. I have to say yes to feel a sense of accomplishment for myself. Even if i know im helping someone and saying “yes” out of the kindness of my heart, i secretly feel good knowing “i” made that difference. like im soooooooo proud of myself and secretly giving myself a pat on the back. *Pat pat, youre so giving and kind and so nice* …knowing that i was able to help another person makes me feel good about myself. isn’t that horrible????? i do love helping others and i do it out of the kindness of my heart, but it makes me feel like im an awesome person for doing it.. (Definitely need to be slapped with some humbleness.) a wonder woman who can do it all syndrome kicks in too. in the midst of everything else i need to do in my life, i was able to say yes and do MORE for someone else! And then some how if a third party finds out..how awesome will i look, for saying yes, being there and helping others! its like a self confidence booster, I think. What a disease..and so going back to the “no”…it pretty much negates all the things that comes with saying yes.I don’t want to say no because I feel like such a less of a person…”I couldn’t even do that?” “What will they think of me now?..they’re going to think I’m a horrible person”-rude. Fear of judgements from the asker and others…(do I think this way because I may judge others that say “no”? Perhaps? Saying no feels like a non Christian thing to do. Christianity=love. Can’t help? Cant even do this for me? Don’t even have a minute to spare? Five minutes? A mere day??? That sounds selfish and not giving! not a loving person! Negative lingering effects, most definitely, yes! “Uh oh…is so and so mad at me because I said no?” Guilt kicks in. All of a sudden i have the urge to constantly apologize for saying no and I end up asking if there’s anything else I can say yes, to. Just to make myself feel better about myself. This goes back to judgement. Am I being judged as a horrible selfish non loving person now? I wasn’t able to put my needs aside and put others before me. How horrible and ungodly am I? Jesus died on the cross for me but I couldn’t even do that ONE THING? Pitiful! Hahaha I may be over exaggerating here to a certain extent.. but..that’s how I see it. I also think many of us women have this syndrome… like we can handle it ALL. JUGGLE our jobs, take care of the house, the kids, maintain our beauty to hold up to the worlds standards. You gotta be able to do so much and be awesome at it. Strive to be perfect. SEEM perfect. make yourself think, convince yourself and others that you are perfect, doing it all! And when you say no to someone…you don’t feel so perfect anymore. We were created in the image of God. So doesn’t that mean we have capabilities to be perfect like Him? That just came to my mind. By no means do I think I’m perfect. We are sooo far from it sooo flawed all around which is why we need God. But these are still all things that linger!

  155. Beth Morphis

    I don’t like saying “NO” because I fear rejection. I want to be needed and if I say No I’m afraid they won’t ask again – and then what would I do and where would I go? It doesn’t matter how inconvenient it might be if I can make it happen at almost any cost I will. Low self-esteem on my part has caused me not to be able to say NO because I fear rejection. Rejection from being asked again to participate or help in the future.

  156. Diane Samson

    When we say “no” we may be afraid we are rejecting that person. When someone has told me no and then I have been told repeatedly no (all for good, valid reasons), I can’t help but feel they are rejecting me. I know they are not. I know they are a friend of mine, for they have proven that in the past. But why does that no bother me so much? Because the no’s wear me down and I start to doubt myself. I start to doubt our friendship. And then I start to withdraw from that friendship. In this whole process, God is whispering in my ear, “Do not withdraw Diane. Don’t run away like you want to. Come near to me, depend on me for relationship and don’t try to draw water from your friendships.” But I still do. I withdraw because I feel once again rejected. And then God in his great mercy and patience, draws me back to himself and back to a place where I can be in a friendship again.

    To take this one step further, when I say no to others, and especially if I have to say it numerous time, I remember the rejection I felt, carry that on my own shoulders, and feel responsible when I say no. Crazy isn’t it? For me it’s trying to break the cycle that Satan wants to hold me bondage and Jesus wants to set me free.

  157. Courtney

    OMG…. I am working through trying to be a people pleaser! I can have a full plate, but will take on another request because of all the reasons you listed. I was raised by my grandparents and they instilled in me the value of community and helping your neighbor. My grandmother would always say, “Help your neighbor because you never know if you will need them in the future.” Grrrrrr…. That has stuck with me for my short 30 years! So whenever I asked to add one more thing to my plate, I hear my grandmother! And say yes! I just finished your Unglued book, and it seriously help greatly! Now,I’m hoping your new book will help to say no!

  158. linda

    sometimes for me, it is a self-esteem issue.if someone asks me to do something with or for them their need MUST be more important than my own needs.
    i say yes to things i would rather not do and then harbor resentment toward that person and toward myself for being too weak to say ‘no’

  159. Joelle Taft

    Part of the reason I believe so many Christian women, including myself, have a difficult time saying “no” is because we’ve bought into the American culture that says “unless you are running around with your head cut off and volunteering for everything, you aren’t being successful.” I don’t know when the quantity of things you accomplished in a day took on so much value, but when I think about it this is what my friends and I talk about.

    Here’s a sample of what I’m referring to: “Today I got up an ungodly hour to take “Jimmy” to his swim meet, then had to leave to take “Mary” to her soccer game. Of course I had to run to the store in between to buy groceries for the food pantry that we give to at church. Then I ran a bunch of errands for the P.T.A. Board. I ran home and started dinner, then went and picked up kids from their various sports. We sat down exhausted from our day, but after dinner I had to run “Mary” to dance and then I had praise team practice. When I got home, I had to clean up from dinner and get the kids ready for bed. Once they were down I cut out seventy stars from construction paper for my son’s class at school, because I’m the parent helper. Finally I talked for a few minutes to my husband and turned out the light. I needed to get some rest because tomorrow is going to be even busier….”

    Now this is a bit of an exaggerated version, but I know I have heard several of these things from my friends in the last year. And I believe we use this as our badge of honor, it’s the way we receive validation for what we do. Other Moms in turn feign awe and tell you they just don’t get HOW you do it all?! And I truly believe that we get some value and worth from that two seconds of awe. Until they whip out their last 24 hours in the never ending competition of “who’s doing more?”

    Really we need to encourage one another that the busiest Mom doesn’t win! The Mom that has figured out how to say “no” to good things because she has the discernment to only say “yes” to the BEST things should be praised. She may not be involved in fifty things and that’s ok, as long as she is seeking out and being apart of the things God is asking of her. At the end of the day, it comes down to our care of what others think of us and we are all too prideful.

    For myself and for other Moms that struggle with this, I pray for a singleness of purpose. I pray that we would be able to discern God’s best for us and for our families and see that busyness is not a measure of holiness. I’m reminded of Martha and Mary…which one did Jesus say “got it?” Was it Martha who was hustling to and fro for appearances or was Mary who discerned that this was a time to be still and and listen? And while our culture would put Martha on a pedestal and totally be on her side of that argument, God asks us to be Marys and to forget our culture’s protocol and just be present with Him. May I; may we be found faithful to that!

    Blessings Lysa,
    Joelle Taft (Hoping to get to lead worship for you again Girl! But so very glad our paths crossed five years ago!)

  160. Rachel Wojnarowski

    In our current instant gratification mindset, the good feelings produced by saying “yes” temporarily outweigh the negative vibes of saying “no.” It’s the “brain freeze” effect. We’re moving along fine with all those yes answers, just like my little one shoving ice cream in her mouth as quickly as possible. Then all the sudden, she gets the “look”- brain freeze! And all the good she was enjoying suddenly causes pain like no other. And an ice cream break is required. 🙂

  161. Lisa

    I think we were separated at birth…and may I be the first one to sign up to buy this new book you are writing…sigh. I so struggle with this. I honestly used to get mad at the people that would ask me to do something…at church, or in our neighborhood, or my friends….because in my mind I would think….”Don’t they have ANY idea HOW MUCH I HAVE ON MY PLATE….who do they think I am to add one more thing…? Can’t they see I am struggling with what I have now! Isn’t it written all over my face that I am barely keeping my head above water!” Is this something I REALLY WANT TO DO….or is this what I think a “GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMEN” should be doing…to show others how spiritual I am …ouch! Yes, I am a “people pleaser”…and I know the Lord has given me this challenge so I really have to stop and get HIS direction before saying yes. Is this something that the LORD is wanting me to do or is this a Distraction (yes one of those D words)…that the evil one is trying to use to keep me from the Lords Will for my daily walk. Can’t wait to read your book! I need some GOOD “NO…but I am honored that you asked me” phrases…because it seems …”SURE…” always comes out first!

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Your comment made me smile. My extended family tree is such that it is quite possible we could be related.

  162. Suzanne Miller

    Women are often the worst to be able to say no for so many reasons. Excited about your book. Know you will do an awesome job! I mean that sincerely. Often I think we say no because we do not want someone (husband, parent, friend, co-worker) to think “badly” of us,
    to be disappointed in us, and we want others to know that we will always be there for them…that they can always count on us. In a sense, it’s like we’re putting ourselves in the Lord’s place. HE is the one that can always be counted on…He never lets us down, etc. We can be completely dependable, reliable, and help others without saying yes to every request on our time and attention. The need is not the call. It may be someone else is way more suited to fill the need.

  163. Adriene

    What about the ‘need’ to do everything. Sometimes my yes comes from a need to do everthing and my unwillingness to let anyone else do it…. or at least my assumption that no one else will do it and it will be left undone. That’s why I don’t say no to some stuff I should say no to. I gotta reign that in sometimes. 🙂

  164. Kristine

    Have you ever given thought to this: saying “yes” to something might also be saying “no” to something else? The opposite is true too. Saying “no” is saying “yes” to something and honering perhaps the Lord, my husband, my family, my commitment, etc. It’s a much more positive way to look at “no”.


  165. Page Geske

    Saying NO sometimes means having your “boundary lines in order”. God’s word states that the boundary lines have fallen for us in “pleasant places”! I have found that as a single Mom of three, with two very active and athletic boys at home that I often have to sift what I say yes and no too- through what I call the “Jesus Collander”. Is saying NO going to allow me to focus on some other things that the Lord might have me doing right now? Sometimes the NO is actually the FREEDOM to walk away from one thing and FULLY focus on another thing. Recently, I was asked to be on a local Soccer Board for our Soccer Club. And I was very flatttered that folks wanted me to serve, however I had to think about the next year. My oldest son will be a Senior, so I want to be FULLY engaged in what he has going on- I want to be PRESENT and really THERE for him. Not a too busy, frenzied Mom that is on too many boards, etc. So I stop and I pray and I ask the Lord- “What is it that YOU want me to do?”- it is not about titles, and commitments, and being that Mom that has won every “Mom of the year for the last 5 years!” It is about allowing the Lord to guide and direct- listening to HIM- above the shouts of commitees and prestige. I want to be a Mom that can say at the end of the day- “Yes, Lord it is true YOUR boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places. Thank you for giving me the strength to say NO- saying NO can often be a STRENGTH and not a weakness that the world would have us think it is.”

  166. Cherish Edwards

    I manage a Christian Summer Camp and year round daycare and preschool ministry. I am also married and have 2 daughters, ages 7 and 5. My life is insanely busy, and I have had to carefully choose what to say “no” to and what to say “yes” to. There is one main principle that helps me determine where my priorities need to be: Someone else can be the General Manager of the camp as effectively as I can; someone else can supervise my staff, assure our daycare has a quality program, recruit volunteers and order supplies. However, NO ONE ELSE can be Lamark’s wife and Starr and Sommer’s mommy! Only me. That is a job God specifically appointed to be mine. Therefore, that has to come first.

    I still struggle, just like everyone else, with mommy guilt when I am not home or refuse to be a part of the PTA. I have wife guilt when all summer my hubby spends his 2 evenings off alone with the kids so I can invest time and energy in our summer internship program for 25 high school and college age kids. And sometimes I feel guilty in the “off season” when I take a day off of work to stay home with my kids and play, but all in all, I have made peace with the word “no” because I recognize which roles in my life can be filled exclusively by me!

  167. Allison C Bayer

    Oh Lysa, this is an oh so tough subject. Started my own “no” journey three years ago and I’m here to tell you it has been liberating!! But (you knew that was coming) it wasn’t easy and I thought of each of the “bumps” on your list. Biggest advice I received and actually used . . . “No is enough.” What? No cannot be argued with, it is enough. What? Give me an example, please. ” Can you chair and head up the nominating committee?” No. When they ask why not. I say . . . “As much as I’d like to tell you, no is enough of answer to your question.” If they further press, I smile as I look directly in their eyes and say politely “No” and that I’ll see them later. By sticking to my guns my life is less hectic with other precious people’s perceived emergencies. I realize I can’t be everything to everybody any more. More time is now available to read my bible and attend a woman’s group to go through your book Unglued!! Love learning to be more like Him! Hope you are closing in on you 60,000 words.

  168. Ellen

    “No” is HARD for us people pleasers! We might disappoint someone. We might anger someone. We might risk something not being done which should be done. We might risk something not being done as well as we would do it (OUCH! That one was hard to admit!). Isn’t it just easier to say “yes” and let the chips fall where they may? Easier for whom? We all have that tipping point where we start sacrificing quality of our own work. As much as I may secretly think that I’m the only one who can do something well enough…if it’s that tipping point item, I might be sacrificing it’s quality by taking it on! I have a friend (really…She’s an actual friend, not a made up “friend” who’s really me!) who takes great pride in her ability to take on everything. She works outside the home, often must travel, is the primary transportation for her three teenagers, has a husband and a home, is the team mom for all the different teams…etc., etc. She tells us how she MUST do all these things because she only gets one shot to be a great mom. The thing is…she doesn’t realize that she’s not doing most of these things well. She’s late everywhere she goes, she forgets appointments, she buys gifts which in no way resemble what was requested…and on and on. She would be a much better mom if she said no more often.

    • Andrea

      I can so relate to this post! I share many of the same reasons why I can’t say no. I am getting better. Church is probably the handset place for me to say no because if I don’t do it, no one will. Then there is an unhappy kids Sunday school teacher who would be praying the kids didn’t show up because I really didn’t want to teach the class. Now what kind of an attitude is that?! But if I say no people might question my “faith” or “willingness to serve” when the crazy thing is no one else will either do why let it bother me? I also mistake the guilt I feel when I say no for thinking that is God telling me I messed up and should have said yes. In the end, I usually convince myself the best thing is to say yes. God is happy, others are happy but I am miserable so it must be right. I am doing jobs but not well or with the right attitude. How right is any of that?

  169. Debie

    Saying No as a women has changed through the years. Today’s women subscribe to be superwomen and do it all. So No is not in their vocabulary. In years past, it was impolite to say no to friends or relatives for fear of losing your social circle. And before that, women were taught to be subservient to parents or husbands. In essence, saying the word, “NO” means negative consequences.


    Saying “No” makes me feel guilty for not being competent enough to meet a need or not hurt someone. Saying “No” messes with my pride of not being good enough. What will other people think of me? Also, if I say “No”, I might be making a mistake or missing out on a blessing.

  171. Nancy Riggs

    Now that I’m older (54), I have discovered that saying NO To man often times means saying YES to God. I used to let people fill my schedule with things that I thought were so important. Then when I would start my day asking God to use me and show me what He wanted me to do for His Glory, I discovered there was no time to go sit with someone in the nursing home, listen to a broken hearted woman who just lost her husband, or sit calmly at the bedside of someone whose family member was about to meet Jesus face to face. I think when we know where our true gifts of ministry are, then we don’t have to spread ourselves so thin with YES YES YES in every area. Know where you SHINE and say NO to the rest. It’s the only way to give Jesus our best!!

  172. Lynn

    Having difficulty saying “no” comes from a need deep within. Agreeing to do anything that comes along feeds my self-worth. Struggling with rejection in my past has fueled me to accept requests that in many cases ironically should have been rejected by me! What I do is not a reflection of who I am. This has been very difficult for me to understand and one that I still struggle with. I belong to Jesus and He says I am awesome! Saying “no” does not change the fact that I am still the apple of God’s eye!

  173. Jennifer

    I frequently think that I am the only one who will do the job right, so I have to say yes to it. I also think no one else will say “Yes” so if I don’t do it, it won’t get done at all.

    Clearly I have some issues 🙂

  174. Elena

    I have only recently started learning to use my “no” correctly. I said yes to often to everything which eventually made me ineffective, scattered, empty and angry. It all came down to healthy boundaries in my case. Were my motives for saying yes pure, or did I have a hidden agenda? So often my yes was simply a need to feel loved and accepted. God finally helped me get this straight. Now my yes means yes and my no means no. It is very freeing to be able to respond to opportunities with Christ at the center of my day.

  175. Suzie Middleton

    We think saying no…

    1. Is the same thing as being rude. – That would depend on the tone and attitude it is given in.

    2. Will cause us to miss out on something we might regret later. – I will not say no on occasion for fear of missing out on something and regret later. How ever I have learned to go with my gut or still small voice in this. God is usually trying to protect me or provide me with another oppurtunity

    3. Isn’t the Christian thing to do. – Boundaries are healthy in walking the Christian walk. NO is needed to be healthy.

    4. Will produce negative lingering effects and awkwardness in this relationship. – again it is in the tone and manner in which the no is given.

    5. Means we aren’t as capable or nice as the people who say yes. – would depend on the person involved and who we are telling no or the situation. We can be very capable of doing what is needed, but again boundaries may need to be drawn from been taking advantage of or just going through the motions of a christian walk.

    6. Can’t ever be a positive thing.
    – It can be be a positive thing for both parties if we were enabling the other person by saying Yes or NO

  176. Lisa P

    I have never found it easy to say no. Being a pleaser, I’ve spent so much of my life trying to do and be everything for everyone and in the process I’ve lost much of myself. I have worked hard to get over this issue the last few years as I’ve come to realize that by saying yes to everyone else and by stretching myself to make everyone else happy, I’ve hurt myself and the ones I care about the most, my family. I’ve robbed them of the time and attention to just be us and have let the stress of too many needs to meet outside of our own be taken out on them in ways that I regret. Funny thing is that as much as I feel I have grown in this area, and as many no’s as I have labored over and then felt relief and release from, this week I am reminded of how much furthur I still have to go. I just had major spinal surgery a week ago and incredibly enough have had more people asking for things from me than reaching out to help. Crazy, but I am clearly seeing how much others have come to expect me to take care of things and be what they need. Now when I am in need it’s not there from those “closest to me” that I would expect it from. Reinforces that my priorities need to be more in line with what God wants me to be and do and not always what others expect me to do. Realigning my priorities and my yes’ and no’s with what God desires in me is a good thing and the right thing even though my pleasing self likes to induce guilt for it and make me feel like I’m a horrible person. It’s time to kick my pleasing self to the curb!

  177. Liz

    Hi Lysa,

    The Holy Spirit is really convicting me on this topic. I could honesly minister boldly in front of women on this topic. It is my journey.

    I can only speak for the revelation in my personal journey. I “think” my response addresses “regrets” and “awkwardness in relationships.” I am the gal who, until recently, operated against God’s design my entire life. Only in my mid 40’s as I have sought to align my heart with the will of God, has He been showing me the things that are indicative living a functional life rather than a life in relationship with others. The inability to “Say No” has played a significant role in my journey. I am sharing my own personal, non clinical spin on things….

    A “Functional Performer,” as I call myself, seek approval so strongly as the basis for acceptance and the prevention of regret therefore guilt, therefore shame and finally condemnation, that I live out my life, “yes” to everything that keeps me logistically in control of my perceptions, emotional reactions and feelings. The think about this is that it is a completely performance based mentality that always disappoints; even if you say “yes.” Because, as a “functional performer” I am a giver and encourager who is also driven and full of unrealistic expectations as a means to seek God’s approval, I am literally driving the wrong boat as to the expectations God has by design to what Yes to Him really means.

    God giving is endless. His burden is light and His yoke is easy. He has ALREADY freely given to us the fulfillment of our entire lives from the beginning to the end; the hopes and dreams that we have yet accomplish. The deal is, though, that for me, a “functional performer,” has no clue HOW to receive. Emotional abandoment my etire life, along with some very profound tramatic events, have left me unable to receive God’s love and giving. I am relationally empty. This equates to my inability to also receive the goodness and comfort of others. When relational skills are absent, saying “no” is not an option. And being ok with acceptance of self and others because of the relational design God has called us to follow is not yet learned.

    Just being aware of:
    1. How often you refuse to say no.
    2. The triggers that leave you even pondering yes/no
    3. The emotions you “complete the performance task” when you said yes and should have said no
    4. How you are or are not relating to others

    …determines how you see God, how you see yourself and how you see others.
    The filter through which you see the groups above then determines your ability to trust and grow in Christ. It impacts the fruits of the spirit you give off. It impacts your career, your family dynamics, your worship. It ultimately impacts how you work out your salvation in that you may not be bringing Heaven to earth, rather you are simply residing on earth, buying your time, until you meet The Lord.

    Relationship with the Lord and the ability to be realtionaly healthy with others is the shift from “constant pursuit of Him in your own failed efforts and never ‘getting to inside of God’s grace and mercy” TO “receiving from Him BECAUSE of His work on the cross”. I’m not there yet, but I get it mentally. I just need to fix my receiver and take Him for His Word, His Promises and all that He already did when He took ME…all of me to the cross.

    ~random thougths from a middle aged woman Upside Down in His Grace.

    • Liz

      Sorry for all the grammar errors, run on sentences and left out words…I was speeding through my thoughts and should have taken the time to work out the grammar, as some things seemed kind of “out there” and disjointed!

  178. Corri

    I think all of your statements are/can be correct at different times. Like many of the women who have responded, I am also a recovering people pleaser. I have also observed that at the heart of not being able to say no it is really a pride issue. I don’t think we are always aware of the pride at work, but sometimes we are. If I feel I cannot say no it is usually due to one of the items you mentioned, but if I am honest there have been times when it was because I thought, “If I don’t do this, who will?” Or even worse, “Who could do this the “right way” except me? Again, I haven’t always consciously thought those things, but when I examined why I said “yes” when I should have said “no” I have found these to be the real reasons more than once. Just being totally honest here. God is definitely at work in my life, though, and I can honestly say that I don’t often struggle with this particular thought very often any more. Due to my stage in life, where my kids are in their lives, etc. I have much less problem saying “no.” And maybe because I use to struggle with saying “yes” sometimes out of pride, I see so many people around me who are doing the same thing. It is rampant in PTA’s and churches. 🙂

  179. Denise Dickenson

    Yes, this is a great topic. For me, a lot of reasons why I am afraid to say “no” is because I worry too much about what people will think of me if I DON”T do something. I feel that my reputation is on the line, and that I will be “talked about” or appear lazy. Of course this is frustrating for me, and I am striving to care less about what people think and more about what pleases God.

  180. Dianna

    All my life I have not been able to say “no”. I so easily get overwhelmed, but then feel empty when I am not being asked to do something. All my grown children rely on me for advice, and as my grandchildren are getting to adulthood, they follow suit. It’s not that I don’t love it, I do, but I don’t seem to be able to set limits or boundaries. I will go to any length to help someone out, whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, it doesn’t matter. I expend all my energy doing for others and then neglect my husband and my family, often feeling rushed to complete even simple tasks, making me an unpleasant person to be around.

    The funny thing is, all my life I have wanted to be a servant, isn’t that what Christians are supposed to be? I struggle with being able to determine when enough is enough or even too much. How to come to grips with setting boundaries is OK and know I am not displeasing the Father? Such a difficult thing for me!

  181. Cassandra

    I have a hard time saying “No” for many of the same reasons we all do. What would I miss, what will people think of me, why can’t I do it all. But it was recently explained to me that when I say “No” to something, I am saying “Yes” to something else. Consequently, when I say “Yes” to something, I am saying “No” to something I may not have intended to say “No” to. Like time with my husband in favor of coffee with a girlfriend. Or time in the Word in favor of a couple more Zzzs or Words with Friends.

  182. Lea Ann Williams

    “No” is a complete sentence! It’s taken me the 14 years I’ve been a nurse to learn and implement that. Setting healthy boundaries is a must both in your personal & professional life.
    As a child growing up, I was a door map for everyone to walk on. It wasn’t until I flourished into a successful, educated, highly skilled nurse that I became comfortable saying no. Saying no, often times, is exhibiting self-respect. As a child, I had no idea what that was! Sad but true.

    Everything you do is amazing! Thanks for touching my life. Best of luck w the book. I can’t wait!

  183. Dawn Jones

    I have a hard time saying no at work on extra projects because, here it is a sign of not willing to “join and help the team”. With my kids it’s a little easier because they don’t usually just hear a no but sometimes a reason why it just isn’t possible at this time. I struggle with depression on a daily basis and the response you sometimes get back from a “no” can make the depression seem like a neverending tunnel.

  184. Sheila Fooks

    If I say “yes” then I must be needed and important. Right? I can do it! Whatever IT is!Telling someone “no” made me feel like I didn’t matter. For me, being recognized, being important to someone, being chosen, or just plain mattering is what use to fuel my life. (Maybe birth order and being the middle of 5 siblings had something to do with it ?) Being noticed by others, for whatever reason, use to be my “fix” for mattering. I made so many poor choices based on getting the attention and affection I so desperately craved. Now, I know I matter to the One who can truly fill my hearts desires. I still struggle from time to time, as those old feelings of societies’ acceptance creep in. But, saying “yes” for the right reasons means so much more to me now:)

  185. Shannon

    “Just say No”. Isn’t that how we were raised to deal with peer pressure? Isn’t that how we raise our children to deal with the same? I am not certain we can teach that to the next generation when we ourselves haven’t learned the value of those three little words.

    How is our aversion to “saying no” any different today, in our adult years than those days of our youth? There really isn’t a difference, though many albeit would beg to differ. In our younger years our difficulty in saying “no” sprouted from a fear of rejection and fear of what others would think of us:”they won’t like me”/”they won’t think I’m cool”. Yet, as a married momma of three, I find myself hesitant to say “no” for the very same reasons.

    The only way I have found favor in breaking from this habitual pattern, is to soak myself in His promise and word. God challenges us to see ourselves as He sees us and not from the world view. He refocuses our responses away from pleasing all in this world to the truly gratifying pleasing of Him alone. It is only then, when my focus is in pleasing only the Lord, that I can “just say no” without reservation.

  186. Rennae

    No is a difficult thing for me personal in the battle to be a people pleaser. We as humans bound to this earth only have the 24 hours in a day and to often we overuse the allotment and stress ourselves beyond our limits. Jesus wants the best of us and knows we are not perfect he always know how hard we try. As difficult as it seems sometimes the No is best. Hold his hand ask quickly most of the time to place the item in perspective as to importance in his eyes. Ask Jesus for the help in the answer in the Christian format that loving perhaps a “not at this moment” or a boundary that is necessary to be left open for a discussion on action. Breathe in focus on the Lord not all answers have to be yes and often are to be a no..

  187. Lacey

    I think my problem is a pride problem. I want to be super woman. I don’t want anyone to think I don’t have life under control. I also like to feel needed. About 10 years ago I was getting ready to graduate with a Masters degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I was working 24-36 hours a week as an RN in NICU, I volunteered 2 days a week at a crisis pregnancy center doing ultrasounds and I volunteered at church. I was about 8 weeks from graduation when I had a sore throat on a Wed night and began to pray for fever. If I had a fever I would be forced to stay home and rest. The next day I had a fever and was diagnosed with strep throat which kept me home for several days. It occurred to me that if I was thankful for strep throat then I was over committed and needed to begin to say “no”. Sometimes when I am asked to do something I evaluate myself with a comparison to that time. If I am gettting to the point that being to confined to the bed with illness would be a blessing then I need to say no.

  188. Renee

    I agree with your 6 points. I know in my head that they’re not entirely true, but that doesn’t always resonate with what’s going on in my heart. My struggle in the last year relates to this. I have have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. My husband works for a food company that provides to grocery/convenience stores and has a nutty schedule. I was heavily involved in the activities of my church before he started this job and LOVED it. However, the reality of being a “single mom” with his new hours meant I had to back out of things I really want to do for the sanity of my family. It was really hard to do, and now I struggle with not reading too deeply into the people that I left’s actions and comments towards me. I know peace with God and my family about these decisions is all I need, but that doesn’t stop my mind from running all kinds of crazy scenarios when something is said about what I “used” to do.

  189. Char Vinton

    I have learned to say no, and I don’t feel bad about it. If I commit myself to too many obligations I get stressed out and I am not fully functioning the way God created me to. If I go beyond my limits I am really no help to others in that state anyways. I see so many people, my husband included, over commit themselves just because they do not know how to say the word “no”. Unfortunately, most of these people are run down, and even resentful of their fast past, go, go schedule. My husband has shared with me some of the reasons he has a hard time saying no. Some of the reasons include: doesn’t want to let people down. Because of his need to feel worthy and value, if he says no, and the person or people are disappointed in him he feels unworthy. However, he does realize that his self worth and value needs to be in God not people, nonetheless, that is easier said than done. Another reason he has shared is he doesn’t want people mad at him. The reality is people, even other Christians do get mad at you if you say,” no, I can not help with this, or I am not able to do this.” I have also seen friends that have a hard time saying no because they feel it is their Christian duty to always say yes. In addition, they also seem to find their value in what they do and seem to feel more Christ like with the more they do. I have seen my husband get very stressed out time and time again because of being afraid to say no. Unfortunately, he struggles to successfully complete everything he says yes to because his plate is simply too full. I would encourage anyone who struggles in this area to ask yourself, ” why am I saying yes?” Is it out of fear of disappointing, making someone angry, trying to find myself worth and value in man, or is this something the Lord is asking me to do? If your motives are wrong I would encourage you to bring that to God and confess it and let him change your heart in this area. Also, keep in mind that if we are out of balance and over committed because we don’t know how to say no we are leaving an opening for the enemy.

  190. Anne Peterson

    I used to believe if someone loved me they would want to please me. In my thinking that translated into always saying “yes,” to my requests. After reading “Boundaries,” by Townsend and Cloud, I came to realize if we love someone we can receive a “no.” What freedom we give another person when they can tell us “no,” and and we are okay with it. Jesus told people “no.” And yet, we think we don’t have the right. Paul said do we seek to please God OR man. I used to think by saying “yes.” all the time I was pleasing both. That was not true.

  191. Suzanne C. T.

    Lysa, what about adressing saying no our kids? It’s not easy to do. But in my situation, saying to my grown son, who only calls me when he wants me to do something for him. Other than that he rarely calls and when I do see him he is rude and disrespecful. I want to have a relationship with him and I know if I say no, it will drive us even further apart. But to say yes, is to say it’s okay to treat me the way you have and to take advantage of me. I know the right thing is to say no, but is there a way to do it without building up walls? And when he really needs me for something, how do I say yes, but establish boundaries? These are things I am struggling with.

  192. Laura Olson

    Saying “no” is often hard for me because I have an “others” centered decision making process rather than a “Holy Spirit” centered decision making process. I want to please others, do nice things for others, be with others (your point #2) or feel like it is the Christian thing to do for others (#3) and that I should be serving in (AKA putting my time in) a certain capacity. These reasons are not necessarily bad and serving others is biblical, however, if my motivation is for approval from “others” then even if I don’t say “no” my “yes” falls short. Lately, I have been TRYING to step back before saying “yes” or “no” to see if the activity, service, commitment, etc. fits within the responsibilities and gifting God has given me and is fueled by the Holy Spirit’s prompting rather than my external need to please “others”. Sometimes there are big requests, sometimes they are small but also significant in being either “others” or “Spirit” centered…. E.g. On day one of potty training boot camp for my 3 year old, my mom called to see if we wanted to meet her for coffee. She seldom initiates these activities and was leaving on a trip, I really felt like I needed to say yes to her to encourage her to keep initiating, to let her see the kids before she left, and because I really wanted to get out of the house! 🙂 But felt the Spirit prompting me to say “no”, my priority (and what I had told the 3 year old was the priority) was potty training. It was my responsibility that day to do all I could to ensure the success of a little girl trying to master the potty. It was hard to tell my mom “no”, but in the end I didn’t feel burdened by trying to make my “yes” work and assured her that we were grateful for the invitation and asked if she wanted to stop by and visit instead. My heart had peace rather that conflict from being pulled by an external, “others” decision making process. (A side note: When I make an “others” decision with the wrong motivations rather than a “Spirit” centered decision, often I come “unglued” trying to fulfill that “yes” commitment but that’s your other book… which I love by the way!)

  193. Lucy Sanguinetti

    Several things I have learned about saying NO: (1) If I say yes to too many things, then I don’t give 100% or the best of me to any of them. I am stressed, stretched, and not effective. Say NO to the things that are not priority and yes to the really important things. (2) Listen to your gut instinct. If you say yes to something that you KNOW you will regret later, or that has the potential to backfire on you, then say NO. Protect yourself and your heart. Resenting something or someone can be toxic. (3) Remember that God has three answers to our requests: Yes, No and Wait. Sometimes, God says NO to us because it is really the best for us in the longrun, so maybe NO is best for some of our own decisions, too.

  194. Ginger Hayes

    I have been on the “asking” side and the “responding” side. I have learned to say “let me think and pray about it” instead of a quick yes or no. Then I have to take the time to do that–think and pray. How will it fit into what I already have going on? Is it going to take too much from my time with my family? Is this where my talents are? If so, then most likely a “yes” is on it’s way but if not or if my time won’t allow it, a “no” may the answer I need to give. Often, the person asking wants an answer right then and there and when pushed, I usually say “no” but if something changes in how I feel about what I was asked to do, I go back to the person and ask if they got the help they needed. If they haven’t, I tell them that I’m willing to help if they still like me to.
    When I am on the asking side, I try to allow myself time to give people a chance to think about what I’m asking and get back to me. I don’t like to be put on the spot and try hard not to do that to others. I let them know why I think they would be great for what I am needing their help with but also tell them that if it is something they can’t do, I would rather they tell me so and if they know of someone else who might be fitting for the task and willing to help, to give me the recommendation.
    I have had to learn this the hard way from saying “yes” to everything I was asked to do. My family suffered, I was tired and irritable with them and honestly; it may have even been something my heart just wasn’t in and I didn’t give it my best. Saying “no” when you need to is far better than saying “yes” and regretting it.

  195. Deb

    I have spent the better part of my 50-years on this earth never saying “no” and it has led me to exhaustion, chaos, and despair inside a life that is totally unmanageable, unfulfilling and lacking in joy. I have now discovered why…because I am deathly afraid of rejection!!! That people will be mad at me or not like me anymore if I say “no” and they will withdrawl their love and attention from me, or that my “no” will be met with anger. This is how my dad kept me “in check” as a kid so I was then faced with the choices of 1) saying “no,” is not safe, or 2) have them withdrawl their love from me that has been playing in my brain for a really long time.

  196. Kim

    I have a hard time saying No because I feel like I am letting them down. It’s the whole comparison game, I know there are others who do more and I feel somewhat lazy since I said no.
    I just need to listen to what God is saying and do only what He tells me. But sometimes its hard separating the two.
    Have a great Wednesday

  197. Debra

    I’ve gotten better about saying no or just not volunteering every time someone needs an Altar Guild or Lay Reader substitute. Work, however, is another issue altogether. My boss has made it clear that I should be all things to all people and go out of my way to make their lives as easy as possible while at the same time not over promising and under delivering … ugh … I stopped volunteering so much at church when I discovered that even a life of constant service can leave you worn out and that I needed to take a breather now and again. Since I’m single and don’t have a family, I do find myself picking up the slack for those people with families who need someone to fill in for them so they can attend things with their children, etc. I just don’t have an answer as to why it’s harder at work except that it does create a situation where someone who doesn’t feel their needs have been met can complain about my performance.

  198. Jennifer Sikora

    Wow. Lisa. This hit home for me. I just finished writing a post the other day about being a people pleaser and how it can drain the life out of you. Thank you for posting this. I have such a hard time saying no.

  199. Kim Gerdo

    I have a hard time saying no because I feel like I am letting people down and disappointing them. What God has really be showing me lately is that it is not my responsibility to be all things for all people or do all things for all people. I am also realizing that the disappointment and let down that people feel towards me is not who I am or what defines me.

  200. lori

    I am having the”no” issue with my 25 year old daughter. She has been through a lot i’m the past few years, has a good job but continues to ask for money, if I say no,I feel horrible if I say ok I feel horrible because I know I am not doing what is best for her. It is tough, I want her to learn to be independent but I don’t know how to say”no”. We had a rocky relationship when she was a teen and now here from her daily and see her on weekend, when we do anything monetary for her, we are the best parents ever when I try to day no I feel guilty. We have no savings left from helping or children. I have thought about moving to where there are no phones or roads then no one can ask
    and I don’t have to say that 2 letter word lol. Help

    • Lisa

      Lori, I have to share with you I had (had, not have anymore) the same experience with my son. He as well went through some difficult years and I wanted to just help him, be there and it seemed I was always giving him money, for food, for gas, pay back a friend he borrowed money from. Then I realized. He is going to keep asking if I keep giving. So I had to say “no” I don’t have any more money. It was so hard and broke my heart. I felt so guilty but I was not helping him I was hindering him from being an adult and making the right decisions. When the phone rang, I would cringe, thinking here we go he needs money. Perhaps you can sit down with her and see where her money is going, her bills versus her income. If you don’t stop, you will be in a deep financial hole. I’ve been there and wish I would have said no sooner. Now he has a job, and pays his own bills and actually bought me a Mother’s Day gift.

  201. Ibi

    I wonder why we get caught up in such a thick emotional web when it comes to saying “no”!!!
    Its probably about trying to be the “perfect” woman and not dissapoint people. When I am overextended, I know in my head and even my heart that I should simply say “no” to any additional thing, but sometimes I still find myself saying yes!!! Then I spend a long time wondering what I just got myself into. Interestingly, sometimes even when I do say “No”, I explain why I am saying no and that is simply akward!
    Every time I struggle with saying “no”, I pass the situation through two filters – my trust in God and my sense of identity- before making my decision.
    1.Trust in God – am I pressured to say yes because I do not want to pass up what I consider an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity? or do I trust that God would guide me to all that He has for me?
    2. Strong sense of my identity – am I planning to say yes simply to prove myself or please the requester? I should say yes only when it is something that I consider important and I am able to devote the required time and resources.

  202. Leslye

    I appreciate you discussing this topic of saying “no”. I spent years, actually decades struggling with saying “no” because of all the same concerns (really fears) you mentioned. Overall, I am free from that burden now. My only relief came from finally getting an understanding of my worth with God. When I got so tired of saying “yes” and still feeling all the bad results (guilt, missing out, being rude, overlooked, forgotten by others, etc.), I reached for the solution that kept rising in my mind. If God is pleased with me, created me to be who I am and built me for relationships, then I should be able to say “no” when needed and still get all the benefits of good relationships and a content walk with God. I applied “no” a few times and life kept working out fine. I applied “no” a little more when needed and life kept working out just fine, even better. Now I like that I can say “yes” when I want to and “no” when I want to and still be blessed.

  203. Audrey

    One of Ann Voskamp’s 25 for Sanity Manifesto is “13.Watch Your Nos & Your Yeses will take Care of Themselves..Everything you say yes to, you say no to something else. Are your yeses forcing you to say no to what really want to say yes to? Don’t have guilt over a no – because every no is saying a better yes.” … I am working on applying this to my Type A personality life…with His help.

  204. Wendy Brooks

    I think saying “no” is one of those responses which for one reason or another I allow to place a “false burdens” of sorts upon me. Depending on how you grew up or how you were raised, contributes to how negatively or positively you view the word. Growing up my mom was a giver (and still is I may add) which rubbed off on me. I never heard her tell anyone “no” I can’t help you right now. Her response was always, “let me see what I can do.” In the process of her giving of herself so much, many times she was exhausted and overextended. However, it was if she had a special measure of grace to be the person to call on in any situation or circumstance. Sometimes I would remember how she would feel guilty if she couldn’t help someone and was forced to say no. I know that now to be a “false burden” or weight of guilt that the enemy used to wear her down at times. It has taken me years to understand that “No” doesn’t carry a negative association with it all of the time. It simply means I am making a solid choice. It doesn’t mean that I cannot or will not change my mind. It simply means Ive made a decision for what I will or will not allow to occupy space and time within my day. As an aspiring author myself I know all too well how time, if not managed properly with the use of “no” several times a day, will slip, slide, and run away from you. Then you are left with greater regrets for not completing that which you set out to do. It’s imperative to understand your priorities and determine what balance means for you and your family. Life when properly balanced, always includes some “no’s” thrown in for good measure. For instance my favorite is, ” No we’re not cleaning up today, let’s head to the lake and soak up some nature and sunshine.” Saying “no” means we get to have fun, which makes life so good.

  205. Stephanie Romero

    What I learned about myself many years ago is that I couldn’t say no because I liked to feel needed. It made me feel better about myself when I was asked to do something. It had nothing to do with actually wanting to meet THAT need…but about meeting my own needs within (so in other words, it was rooted in selfishness). Thankfully with time I have come to realize that the only true fulfillment is doing what God has called me to do. I no longer desire to feel needed by others. Instead, I seek to meet the need of pleasing Him.

  206. Heidi

    For me saying no is so difficult because someone might find out my secret. The secret that I really can’t handle it all even though I appear as though I can! I find this very commonly among Christian women – we need to break down the barriers and thank you for writing a book with this in mind!

  207. Kendra

    The threat of saying “no” brings my weaknesses to the front of my heart. It is one more thing I can’t do because I am not nice enough, I am not loving enough, I am not endowed with as much energy as I would like, I do not balance my time as well as I would like, I do not trust in God as much as I should (otherwise, wouldn’t I be able to do it all?). When confronted with a potential “no,” I am assaulted by all of these things and more, and my self-worth and value is wrapped up in that one little word.

  208. Cindy

    Guilt. If I say no I feel like someone will be upset with me, mad at me, disappointed in me, or think I’m selfish. I try to make everyone happy by always saying yes even at my own expense. Saying yes isn’t always the right thing to do but it is easier and I feel less guilty than when I say no! I think women have this problem more than men! Why as women do we always feel like we are responsible for everyone’s happiness in our lives?

  209. Andrea

    Every single one of those reasons describes me. Most often, it is a sense of guilt that I experience in saying no. Tho there are many times that saying yes stretches me well beyond my limits. Other times, I find myself saying yes simply out of guilt, when I really have no interest in whatever I am agreeing to. Can’t wait to learn/read more about this book of yours!

  210. LC

    I think sometimes when you say ‘no’, it comes across that you are selfish, lazy, or even un-cooperative. I dealt with this in church some years back when I lost a family member and our family lost our home within 2 years and I asked to be taken off a committee until I could get through that time. I was never asked to be on another committte again and this was after I vocalized that I was ready to participate again. Years later I injured myself and it it further prevented me from volunteering, and in turn, isolated me because of my condition. I ended up leaving to find another church. I believe it is harder for women to say ‘no’ and not deal with negative repercussions than it is for men. I believe we are expected to have less ‘down time’. An important part of this issue is about relationships and acceptance that is so important to us as women.

  211. Cindy Wood

    Saying no to me is very difficult if not almost impossible. When I say “no” I feel mean or coldhearted, I feel like I must always have to have a reason to justify and pacify the person making the request. I want them to be “okay” so then I do not have to feel guilt for saying no. I know the Bible teacher boundaries and to live for my audience of one but putting footwork to this head knowledge is hard stuff.

  212. Teresa

    It has taken me years to come to terms with saying “No” especially when it is something for the fellowship. I guess I am of the generation that was brought up to say No to “bad things” but good Christian girls would always dutifully go the extra mile; take on a Sunday school class/crèche or lead worship when someone dropped out or didn’t turn up for whatever reason. If I ever declined it was usually prefaced by “I’m so sorry that I can’t….” and then I would have a guilt trip over it! I actually came to grips with the “No” word through my professional life when as a senior staff member I had to prioritise and delegate and I had to learn how to work more effectively with the time I had as well as manage family and church commitments. Now if I am asked to do something I first check in with the Spirit to see if my “No” would be prompted by my just not feeling like it or if it is something the Lord is asking of me. If I decline, I do not go into long complicated reasons. I do try to think if there is someone I can suggest who would love to do what I have been asked but isn’t on the “radar” of the person asking but that has to be prayed through first. If someone “catches me unawares” I try not to give an impulsive reply but take time with – “just let me check the diary”! It really has to hang on what the Lord wants of me – the coffee rota at church is not my thing at all – I make terrible tea and coffee – but if that is what the Lord wants as obedience to Him then I need to say “point me to the kitchen!”

  213. Theresa C

    I am afraid to hurt people’s feelings by saying “No.” And I think they won’t like me as much if I turn them down. And if we are to be others focused, have a real servant’s heart, we should put others first, right? But until I realized that I was putting others before God, I was putting I felt before God, I couldn’t feel good about the answer, “No.” Especially if what I was asked to do sounded fun, exciting, right in my wheelhouse of abilities….but then I would say no to things that weren’t as fun, exciting or what I thought I was gifted to do. So, now I am I look at it in a different way….or at least I’m trying to. Instead of immediately jumping to “Yes” or “No” I try to put it to pray and to hear what God has to say about it. And then wait on His answer. Sometimes, I really do know right away that the answer should be “Yes” or “No” but other times it takes to waiting for that still and small voice and for Him to reveal what He is truly trying to work out in my life. A walk of obedience that reflects Him….whether I get to answer “Yes” or “No.” And if it happens to be the latter, then I offer it up with no guilt, no regrets because ultimately I am saying “Yes” to God and what He has for me and the other person. The very best. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I jump and say “Yes” without going to God first and then have to turn around and renege (which can be so humiliating). And sometimes when I should have said, “Yes” but offer a “No” first I often have to walk the path and see if the offer is still open. Either way, I try to learn from the experience and remember the next time….even on spur of the moment asks…to go to God first. It is and I am DEFINITELY works in progress!

  214. Debbie Beauchene

    I find that too often my yesses are a response to someone else’s agenda and needs. I totally skip checking with Lord’s leading for myself. Why? Being needed can be a powerful drug. It’s the external defining my worth and place in community. And, LOL, I really don’t want to miss out on something! So, how often have I found myself on the fringes (or neck deep) of everything but experiencing a lack of … (Fill in the blank).

  215. Jenny

    This is a big issue for women. I basically had no boundaries until I read “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. Not knowing my identity in Christ (thank you so much for those personalized scriptures!), wanting to be liked and please everyone, family members who ignored my “no,” and avoiding feeling guilty are some of the problems that came from this issue. Knowing through scripture that God wants me to set boundaries and that saying yes meant I was saying no to something else helped me tremendously.

    I also want to say that I have given away Unglued and am using it for a Bible study right now, and it is a huge answer to prayer! We plan to study Made to Crave next. Praying for you as you write and study for your next book. 🙂

  216. Tonja G

    I had to say “no” to a dear friend recently…and even though she knows how much I love her, I felt like my “no” communicated that I don’t care enough about her; that her situation wasn’t important enough to me. Ugh! That’s one of the biggest struggles I have with “no”.

  217. Jessica Nelson

    I feel this way so often- and quite honestly even if I am good at keeping my priorities straight and I do say no often enough to keep things in balance- I ALWAYS feel bad for saying no. I can NEVER just say no and go on with my day. I feel I need to justify the no, explain it and inevidably I end up rehashing it over and over in my mind. At which point I then wish I had said yes to save me from driving myself into a psychotic “I said no” fog. Hope that makes sense. And I look forward- as always- to more words from you!! Love from Maine <3

  218. Amy Booth

    Thinking about things like this make me think back in my life and it’s then I realize how much the Lord has taught and is teaching me. The more I spend time with the Lord the more I love people. People are the heart of God! Therefore I truly want to help and I truly want to serve. But . . .I also want the things I do for the Lord to be done well. I spread myself so thin sometimes that it actually affects me and my relationship with the Lord. That isn’t what he wants at all. Therefore I have learned to say, “No” but my comfort in doing that is that He is so much greater than I! He can take care of other peoples needs. He showed me in a vision once that if I will dive into the word of God and seek him with all his heart He will take care of ALL things. So I do just that.

    God bless you and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide you. Ps. 33:8

  219. Mary Lou

    I feel like such a slacker when I say no. The internal comparisons immediately start. How come she can do this thing plus a lot of other things, and I can’t seem to fit it in my schedule? What’s wrong with me? And heaven forbid someone tell me they don’t know how I do it all. Those words are music to my ears. They sound so good. They touch all my insecure little places and temporarily make them feel better. So I can’t say no; I have to say yes again and again to prove I’m superwoman and to hear those words again. Never mind that I’m stressed out, overextended, and less than a joy to be around.

  220. maggie miller

    So happy you are writing about this topic. I have such a difficult time saying “No” even to those who have been unkind to me. I say yes even when I know in that very moment of saying yes that I have just over extended myself. The resourceful person in mean says I can figure it out for them. I don’t like feeling that if I say no I’m leaving someone in the lurch evening though in my heart of hearts I know I maybe doing damage to myself my taking on someone else’s problems. I know that it is a healthy thing to say “no” and I play it over and over again in my head on how I would say it, but before nooooooooooo comes out the word Yessssssssss always wins. I really would love to learn how to better manage the no situation and not feeling terrible about it.

  221. Lorie Enlie

    My problem is one that I deal with daily: I equate ” excelling by overworking” with success. Add to that problem selfish, egocentric, and thoughtless attitudes and you see my struggle. I take on do much responsibility because I have to be “the best.” Oh how I need to embrace Christ’s unconditional love. He doesn’t care about my job. He wants my attention and my focus on loving others unconditionally.

  222. Niki

    I have a hard time saying no because I don’t want to miss an opportunity to serve Him in some capacity or our family. I know it is silly but only when I am feeling like a wrung out shirt , being twisted and turned in every direction from running here or there does the Scripture, Be Still come to mind and I know The Holy Spirit is prompting me to slow my roll.

  223. Tiffany

    I’m afraid that people will stop asking if I continue to say “no”. This is probably covered in your points generally but, this is how I feel specifically. It’s also an issue of pride for me. If I say “yes” people will see how wonderfully awesome I am. So, saying “no”, in effect, means others will not have the chance to bask in my awesomeness. Sigh. I. Just. Said. It.

  224. Beth

    When I say no, I immediately feel guilty. It depends on the situation and who I am dealing with but I can identify with all six of your thoughts about the word no. I will feel guilty for not living up to another person’s expectations and it isn’t a pleasant feeling. Often, I do things for others because I feel I have to out of obligation not because I want to. I don’t like to disappoint people but in saying yes, I am sacrificing other things. Either way, yes or no, I feel dissatisfied.

  225. Kitty Ball

    I want to comment on #3, 4, and 6. Sometimes saying “no” IS the Christian thing to do because it keeps us from enabling bad behavior, or being drawn into toxic relationships; and in that respect it is a positive thing to say “no”. If we don’t learn to say “no” how can we avoid Satan’s temptations?

    I have been learning to say “no” to a person in my life with whom the relationship has begun to be toxic. I can hardly stand to be around them. In counseling with a friend recently about this relationship, she said, “Maybe it’s a good thing to distant yourself”. The person is my mother, and I want to do more for her, but it seems to have an adverse effect.

    Growing up I remember that nothing my dad did was ever right, no gift ever good enough, and I became the peacemaker in the family. (If mom was happy everything was OK.) By the time I was 6, I had become terribly afraid of her; but didn’t know why. I fell down in mud at school and became hysterical about them calling her to come get me. When I graduated from high school I remained at home for a while and then went to college (it was the only way I thought I could get away from her). A year later, I married and started a family. I thought I would be free, but my fear of her, and the control she had over my life continued. Growing up in this environment, effected my marriage and the way I raised my children. A few years after I married my family and I finally moved away, I sought counseling, and thought finally I was free…

    Two years ago I moved back near home to help my brother take care of my mother, who is now in the 4th nursing home. I am finding myself being drawn back under that control and feelings I thought I had dealt with are surfacing again. (My brother, somehow had always been able to disconnect from this control, and do his own thing.) Saying yes to my mother becomes toxic for me and I am having to learn to say “no” to her demanding, manipulative behavior. I am praying for Jesus to show me how to love her without being drawn in to her control.

  226. Michele Shonka

    Saying ‘no’ takes the Super out of my Superwoman ideal. I should be able to do it all. Saying ‘no’ proves that I can’t.
    And if I can force myself to utter the word ‘no’, which things do I say ‘no’ to? What if I choose the wrong thing to give up? Will I miss out on a great learning opportunity? A chance to be with family? Fun with friends? Maybe the chance to tell someone about my Jesus? Or a chance to meet a potentially influential person in my life? What if I’m not at the right place at the right time? Oh, how to choose….
    Seeking God’s will is the answer. I’m just not all that good at deciphering His will from mine yet. It’s a work in progress.

  227. Britany

    Sadly, I’m a people-pleaser to the core. Doesn’t matter if they are a complete stranger, I struggle with feeling like I’m responsible in some way for their happiness. I think the roots are back in my childhood somewhere, back where my mom leaned on me emotionally and made me responsible for her happiness, but at 43 years old, I can’t really blame her!!! It’s just hard. The only way I can deal is to “logic” myself past the emotion.

  228. Jenny

    Saying no is very hard for me. Okay at times it is impossible. I practice in my head but when it comes time to say it, I cave. I want people to like me. The side of me that wants to do all things, be all things, etc really struggles with saying no. This inability has really hurt myself and my family. I put others first most of the time. It is something I am working on and am so thankful for this.

    I have a friend who does say no. She is not rude about it. However, the first time or two I heard her, I was taken back. Why? Because I immediately went to that place in my head that stirs up trouble. My self doubt. Had I done something wrong? Had I offended her? Did she not like me? You get the idea. I took it personal. It was hard for me to accept. People just did not say no, or did they. I have learned that it did not mean anything about me personally but that she had boundaries set for herself and her family. She set limits and when the limit was reached no matter what it was, she said no. Often there was little excuse because that is another place where we get into trouble. Does our excuse/reason sound good enough to say no? We rehearse the why? I have been in a couple of home based businesses and we were often trained on how to turn a “no” into a “yes”. Our culture as a whole does not like the word no. We do equate it with negativity and lack of ability or lack of permission.

    Recently someone told me that when I say no to something it is because I am usually saying yes to something/someone else. I have to focus on what I am saying yes to.

  229. Dawn

    I’ve long been a “yes” girl. I love to help and I love the pump up I get from helping. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve realized that I sometimes say yes out of obligation and expectation, but inside I have a terrible attitude. I think it’s because so many of my home and family responsibilities go undone as I help others. Now I’m trying to be prayerful and selective, as well as examining motives and attitudes.

  230. Dee A

    I have found that saying no to myself or anyone else takes discipline and I don’t like discipline. It forces me to be held accountable and have boundaries instead of being free to be “me”. I have been learning through a journey with food issues that saying no is important for the greater good of my health. It is the same with saying no to someone, especially as women, we want to be seen as helpful and we want to help. One of my love languages is being a servant, so I always want to say “yes”. But I realize that when I say yes and it really isn’t what I was supposed to do, or it isn’t in my wheelhouse of giftings; then I may rob someone else of the opportunity to use their gift or talent because I saw a need or a gap and filled it because I was asked or because I felt I should “help”. Saying no is important for personal growth and maturity and as people we have to learn that saying no isn’t a form of rejection, it is an opportunity to grow in Christ or to let Christ grow someone else.

  231. Kimberly

    Saying no for me means, “I’m not perfect.” “I can’t handle it all.” and deeper down it reveals the fears that I am not enough in my marriage, parenting, job as a therapist, etc. People will leave if I’m not enough. This is deep and not at the surface, but it drives me into saying “yes” to everything. The fear of disappointing my husband, children, clients, boss and God. It’s been a journey for me to identify and talk about it. And the freedom that comes for me in saying, “no” and discernment of when and what to say no to. 🙂 So thank you for opening up the conversation. Look forward to your book and your own journey!

  232. Melissa

    I have a hard time saying no because I feel like this is another opportunity to show the love of Christ and serve someone else and who am I to waste an opportunity from God. Also the feeling of always being the responsible one to do the right thing no matter what. I learned after a very long period of hard times in life that God loves me because I am His, not because of what I can do for him. Just need to remind myself of this.

  233. Tricia Rose Eggers

    I’m learning to reframe my thinking and say “no” to the good things so that I can say “yes” to the better things.

  234. Miranda Wolf


    Girls I love this!! I think we all need to remember that setting boundaries for ourselves is what we have to do to have “controlled chaos”! We are all pulled in so many directions to try to possibly be something that God DID NOT create us to be! We all have gifts! We are all called to be obedient wives and gentle care givers of our greatest blessings of all! OUR CHILDREN! If all the things that pull us away from that duty interfere with that, than it should not be a priority to us! Am I still able to nurture my family and do the task asked of me? Can I do this duty with a cheerful heart? Can I purposefully commit to this? Just a few questions I ask myself BEFORE I commit to anything!! IT’S OK TO SAY NO!!!

  235. Kelly Brown

    I’ve been told that “no” is a complete sentence. Technically it is the shortest sentence ever. No. N-O period. But it’s the hardest sentence for me to verbalize with everyone except my kids. Why is it so easy to say okay to a friend, work request, civic commitment, volunteer or church related opportunity despite the fact that I’m stretched so thin with all of the above to begin with? Seriously? What am I thinking…or why am I not thinking when I so readily say yes? And who is suffering as a result? My family and, at some point, me.

    It all began when I had children who are now 23, 17 and 16 (prayers are welcome!). I found myself as the primary disciplinarion since my husband is the Sugar Plum Parent. So, when I would hear, “Mom, I want to…..” then my response was typically and quickly “no” before my kids could complete their request. I’ve even used the complete sentence explanation while their request is in progress! Shame shame on me!

    Thankfully, God has quietly spoken to my task driven heart that I need to at least let the request get completely out of their mouths and then pause before I respond. I became accutely aware that I was a Most Disliked Mom EVER while my husband was the dream parent. I secretly coveted the Perfect Parent position. I wanted to be the funny, light hearted one. So I drove to Mardel’s and purchased Unglued, the book AND the devotional. I’ve tried really hard to implement nearly every page of the book with unselfish motives. I want to be a better Mom, wife, employee and friend with a more spirtiually focused heart. I don’t have to be the Sugar Plum Parent but want to be the thoughtful, peacekeeping and “keeping it between the ditches with grace” parent. I’ve actively worked to listen and sincerely say YES to my husband and teenagers and a respectful NO (but thank you for the consideration!) to all the other distractions that are truly not so important to me anymore.

    I still feel the twing when the words “no – but thank you for thinking of me” barely leave my lips. I still struggle with the disease to please on a daily basis. But I’m just plain ole’ worn out and want to make the more of life’s little moments meaningful. Yes, God’s gentle nudging and hitting the big 5-0 will make any woman say no. Okay, “no” but with grace!

  236. Linda

    I want to say Thank You Lysa for discussing this topic and also you honesty in your devotionals and blogs, so refreshing and I learn a lot. I feel that when I say no I will be letting someone down and I am not good with that. Also when I say yes and then I realize I am overextended it causes me anxiety and lack of sleep, so I know I should say no, but just can’t seem to get that small word out(it is only 2 letters). When I go back on telling someone I can do it and then can’t, I usually get the “are you ok?” question because it is a rarity that I would do that, my Friends and family know that (ugh more stress).

  237. Michele

    In my case, saying no a few times because I was TRULY too sick meant I stopped being asked, invited, called. It’s hurtful and hard, so I think that’s a fear, if we say no, that won’t ask again.

  238. Stacie

    The struggle with being a people pleaser has burdened me my whole life. I want to be free from it and help my children to never start it. It’s a burden not meant for them or me but the enemy definitely uses it.

  239. Angela

    It is hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about saying “no” that is so difficult. I think for me, if I am not doing what all of the other stay-at-home moms are doing (even though I work part-time outside the home), then I really am not good enough. If I can’t say yes and do this that and everything, then I must not be a “good” or “together” as they are. How is it that their house is perfectly clean, orderly, and the decor is updated and beautiful…but my house is, well…it looks like a bomb went off some days! I also think that it is hard to let someone down who might be counting on you to help with important things, like nursery at church, or a kid’s school activity… I can’t wait to read what you write, I need to learn how first to decide how much is enough to put on my plate? Just because I can put it on the schedule, doesn’t mean that I SHOULD put it on the schedule….Can’t wait to read the book!

  240. Susan

    Often my reason for not saying no is because I feel that “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done”. It is especially hard to pull yourself out of something that you have done for some time, knowing that someone else will have to be trained to replace you. I think sometimes we think that since we have a gift or talent in a certain area, we are expected to use it to our own exhaustion (ie: a school teacher is expected to work in children’s ministry, but she might be burned out or wish she could work in women’s ministry) We fail to recognize that God equips those whom he calls, and perhaps that person with no children or who isn’t a teacher just needs the obvious choice to say no so they can answer the nudge they have received and really get blessed by serving.

  241. Genny

    What comes to my mind is GUILT. Especially when it comes to a family member asking. The guilt just sinks in when you say no and then you go back and forth in your mind the guilt when saying no.

  242. Denise

    To put a twist on one of your comments, a lot of times I feel that saying “no” means other people are not as capable as getting the job done or may not want to do it at all. The old “if you want something done….” philosphy. It seems your’s truly has taken on more than 1 (million or so) projects/tasks over fear that the job either won’t get done or won’t get done as well if I don’t step up and do it. Unfortunately, this way of thinking often leads to higher expectations from others on how much multi tasking you can handle and eventually you burnout.

  243. Lynne Morgan

    Saying no means we are being selfish.

    Saying no means we are willing to pull our weight.

    Saying no means we think it isn’t important which will hurt or offend the person asking.

    Saying no means we don’t trust God that He will help us get everything done.

    Saying no means that God put it before us and we should therefore say yes.

    Saying no means the people we said yes to we like more.

  244. Brenda

    Growing up, I had such an issue with that two letter word “no.” I didn’t like it, probably because I was such a positive person and that word seemed so negative. I became a people-pleaser, always saying “yes.” I was happy to be involved in so many things, but looking back, I realize now I stretched myself so thin during my high school and college years that I missed out on some great relationships and other opportunities. Why was it that I felt the need to please people so much and to go so far as to even allow myself to be taken advantage sometimes? For me, it was about guilt. I felt guilty for saying no to people who sometimes genuinely needed help. I felt guilty for not wanting to be involved. As Christians we are taught to serve and to help, and in my mind being a good Christian meant saying yes all the time. I think the devil has programmed us like that because he wants us to be busy. When we are involved in too much, our individual time with God suffers. I didn’t realize was that by constantly saying yes I wasn’t taking the time for me, which sounds self-centered. However, to help others and to serve others we have to be healthy ourselves and have our own relationship with God on track. I lost my identity somewhere in my teen years because of constantly saying yes and it wasn’t until my life had fallen apart that I began to see my need to work through my own issues and my own relationship with God. I am now 25 and a single mom, and I say no more times than I ever used to. I am also more content, more relaxed, more focused, and overall a healthier person than I used to be because I am able to take time for myself, my daughter, and most importantly, my relationship with God.

  245. michelle

    My “no” problem is that I really do want to do it all! The opportunities that come my way always seem so rewarding and I don’t want to miss out! I’ve had to start reminding myself that when I saw yes to too much, I’m unable to really say yes to the most important stuff. And, I’m taking away that opportunity from someone else who should be getting the blessing of serving!

  246. Debbie Wilson

    What if…what if we were to filter every decision through God’s will? God is not silent and speaks through His Holy Spirit. This requires a time of prayer and silence from all interference. The scripture says in Matthew 5:37 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’. Whatever is more than these is of the evil one. So if we confirm our decision by asking God what His perfect choice would be, we will never come up regretful, frustrated, overworked, disorganized, guilty, self-condemning, doing something with wrong motives. The scripture also says that if someone wants us to walk one mile, we need to walk two. If we were continuously accomodating that request, our shoes would get worn out and our family would not see us for years to come. The suitcase would be packed, running shoes appropriately tied, while we wave good-bye to our families and responsibilities. I believe that the Lord instructs us to love our neighbor, but we also have to be wise and understand His will in our daily lives. If we were doing, doing, doing all the time…when would we have time to sit at the Lord’s feet, let alone help our families. Yes, yes, yes can mean No, no, no, to God. This would bring about a spiritual emptiness that can leave us dry as a desert well. How blessed we can be with the fullness and richness of lHis life if we just learned to listen to God’s voice, Prov 4:13 Take firm hold of instruction. Don’t let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.Prov 8:10 Receive my instruction rather than silver; knowledge rather than choice gold. (Not even the accolades and praise of men can compare!) Prov 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise. Don’t refuse it.

    Father, You are a lamp unto our feet, guiding our steps. You pave the narrow way for us while we enter into the fullness of Your Kingdom. Give us the ability to discern Your voice, not as a distant echo or whisper, but of clarity and solidarity. Let there be no shifting shadows in our confidence to say, yes, yes and when to say no, no. Remove the clutter and chatter so what really matters is obeying Your will. We praise You for Your faithfulness to conform everything to the counsel of Your will. Ephesians 1:11

    Scripture verses from World English Bible


  247. Cheri montes

    I have had issues with saying no when it comes to my husband’s family. A lot of it comes from wanting to be accepted and liked. My husband is Hispanic and I am white and his family had many issues with that. They also had issues with me being baptist since they are all catholic. I was pretty much satan coming into their family. So I have felt forced into many things just to please his family. Even though it has been almost 20 years since my husband and I first met, I still do not feel accepted and being the people pleaser I am causes me difficulties in saying no.

  248. Paula

    I think we have a tendency to say “yes” out of a sense of guilt. And when we do say “no” we just can’t leave it where it’s at. We have to ruminate over it and drum up negative feelings about ourselves such as “I won’t get asked again”, “I’ll feel like there is an elephant in the room when I’m with the asking person”, or the biggest one “If I don’t do it, then it won’t get done or it won’t be right!” Sometimes you just have to sit and listen to what God is leading us to do, not what your best friend just signed you up unknowingly for!

  249. Kay

    Lysa, Thank you for listing in 1,2,3 sequence exactly why I struggle with “not doing” things I’m invited, encouraged, expected, etc. …to do. I also am busy with a writing project (preparing two proposals for the She Speaks Conference!) and an having to say “no” to a few things. Namely, I will not be working in our church’s VBS this year. And I am *gasp!* the pastor’s wife!!! And while I feel confident about my decision, I still wonder how other people are responding to it…and to me. I think saying no requires honest self-evaluation (am I being lazy or am I honestly in a position to need to say no?), conviction, and courage. And then it keeps on requiring those things…as the thing fleshes itself out. Know what I mean? Even after the opportunity has come and gone, we have to be confident about our “no” and not second guess. That’s hard!!

  250. Julia Gordie

    I used to have a hard time saying no and I finally realized it was because saying yes got me away from the problems at home and I didn’t have to deal with them. What I didn’t realize is this was hurting my family even more. When I truly realized that my ministry right now in life was my husband and children, it gave me the comfort to say no and to know that I am honoring God by fulfilling my call to take care of my family. There will be plenty of time to do all the other stuff in another season of my life.

  251. Katie Robinson-Call

    I struggle with saying “no” often. I think that it has to due with the insecurity that is at times woven deep inside us. If I don’t say “yes” to everything, then my cape as Super Mom will be ripped to shreds, and I will be forever doomed into the failure club. “Forever being the one that gets pick last at gym class.” Let’s face it, none of us what to be the person whom was picked last for gym class. This is where our insecurity grows which powers us to fear the word “no”. It flourishes in the idea of us having to say yes to everything. Yes I will take on that extra shift. Yes I will bake those cookies for the bake sale. Yes I will take my only day off of the week to drive to this or that place. But in the world of yes you are tired and the cape gets dirty and all you do want to is rip it off. So in order to take care of yourself and people that you hold near and dear to you, you have to say no. You saying no to a person might just be God’s plan for them. It might be pushing the person to adapt and learn how to independently do something. We have to say no sometimes, and as hard as it is. We aren’t going to be super moms/career women, we are might be the ones that get picked last at gym class because it keeps God’s plan and our sanity intact.

  252. Chelsea Schopper

    I have been focusing and praying on this exact issue for a little over a year now. God revealed to me that one of the biggest reasons that I would say yes to everything was because of my pride…yes, I don’t like to admit it one bit, but if I’m being honest it feels good when people think of ME when they want something done. To me it was them saying that I’m good at it, I’m organized and skilled enough to do it and that the ball would drop if I didn’t do it. I realized however, that yes I probably could do it, it was also satan’s way to separate me from my family. My plate was so full and my life was so busy that my family did not get the quality time that they needed from me. I have learned that satan will use anything (even thoughts that make you feel good) to do harm. Praying over decisions and giving prayerful thought and time before saying yes or no is a skill that I had to teach myself how to do….imperfect progress however 🙂

  253. Jeanne

    I think it boils down to a root cause for a lot of us. We are pleasers (for a variety of reasons) and we have this deep seated desire to nurture (or fix) things. I wonder about this maybe being connected to the original difficulty Eve had with God, wanting to take control…… Not trusting that God has a good heart…… Thinking maybe we can fix it ourself…… Saying ‘No’ also – on the other hand – means that we value our time energy and needs. This is healthy if balanced. But as Christian women it’s almost frowned upon. The Christian attitude seems to be that if you’re not killing yourself for others then you’re not Christian.
    Lots in this little conversation, eh?

  254. Tina

    After asking me to head up bible school (and me responding, no thank you), our Children’s Minister said, (with a smile), “You are the Queen of No”! Isn’t that great? That was such a compliment! See, before, I spent most of my time chasing kids, tired, and over-volunteering. My husband suddenly was transferred to another state. Know what? Not one committee I led, or bible study I attended, or PTA position I formerly held crashed and burned in my absence! I realized I was given a fresh start! No one knew me in my new city and I slowly added a healthy balance of being an attentive wife, kid chasing,, church, friends, and me time! This changed the trajectory of our family. I praise God for the “out” He provided. This is all about balance. I don’t think we were designed be fake superhero women…Who are we kidding…on the outside we look bullet proof, but we all know that girl with the cape is cheating somewhere…quality time with her kids? Quiet time? Body of Christ? Bedroom? Maybe we need to have an intervention for our “Yes” sisters”.
    Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. (1 Peter 5:8 AMP)

    • Jessica Hillman

      WOW! This is a GREAT post! LOVE IT!

  255. Christi

    Wow!!! God never ceases to amaze me. He speaks words through your precious heart and fills my soul… I dislike saying no… I’m trying to become friends with the concept, but believe me it is so hard not to feel inadequate or inferior even when I know its for the best… My life verse is Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I guess I’ve been taking this truth literally… Honestly I know I have, but I love serving God and others so very much… I can almost hear someone I’ve said no to saying “So much for her doing all things through Christ… she can’t even help me with my simple request.” This breaks my heart, however, God has big plans for my teenage children and me… He’s never failed me yet and I’m certain He won’t start now… Only He and through lovely women of God like you Lysa will I be at peace with saying no…
    Love ya!

  256. Vicki B

    I know a lady who always says ” God is looking for those willing to say ‘yes.'” This confuses me. Is that really what God is looking for? A yes man? I don’t think so. I think He is looking for a follower. One who will pick up his cross and follow Him. Sometimes my cross is facing the fact I cannot do everything – no matter how much my heart stirs in desire to do it. I just cannot.

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      I agree this seems confusing Vicki. But that’s because the sentence isn’t complete. The real quote should be, “God is looking for those willing to say “yes” to HIM.” That “to Him” part is very important.

      • Marsha Jackson

        Hi Lysa,
        I don’t see my post on here from June 5??

    • Tara

      I believe what that woman says is true, but just maybe not in the way she is choosing to use it. God is looking for women who say ‘yes’ to His plan for us. (And He is not Suzie from church, Joan from the PTO, or Ms. Johnson the basketball coach). To me that means focusing on using our spiritual gifts that he gave us to further his kingdom. Sometimes that could mean volunteering, but a lot of times it means loving like Jesus did in our workplace or raising little disciples at home. We dont always have to add one more thing to the day to be living the life He wans for us. God also wants us to be happy and enjoy our life on Earth. So if there’s a volunteer ‘opportunity’ that, quite frankly sounds like hair pulling torture to us, then we should say yes to His plan by saying no to the ‘opportunity’!

  257. Laura

    I say yes (particularly within the church setting) as I constantly feel the pressure that if I say no, noone else will step out and say yes!
    With four children, a husband in leadership, a toddler group to run and a house to somehow keep together I often feel stretched to my limits, distant from God and ineffective. God is constantly showing me this, but getting my priorities straight and my heart back centred where it should be, is a constant battle. He so often shows me grace and shows how his strength is sufficient but I wonder if I said no a little more frequently, what amazing things could I say YES too!! Also I may be preventing someone else who SHOULD be saying yes, from doing so! X

  258. Christa

    I am thankful for my husband who helps me say “No”. During the busiest time of my life….working full time and kids were little, he helped me set limits. I could only say “Yes” to one thing in each area of my life. One position of service at church, one volunteer activity at the kids’ school, one project at home….everything else was No. It helped me really look at the things I wanted to do, set priorities and only do the things I was truly called to do. It meant that I looked on in dismay as other things went undone…the things that someone else was supposed to say Yes to but refused. If we all said Yes to our “one thing”, no one would have to say No because everything would be covered!

  259. Soryda Ring

    As a child, whenever a parent said “no” to us, at a deep level, a child would see it as a form of rejection. “No” often makes a child feel unloved, devalued, disregarded or many other various forms of being hurt.

    “No, you can’t have that.” [Unimportant]
    “No, I don’t have time.” [Disregarded]
    “No, I disagree.” [Devalued]
    “No, you will not do that!” [Powerless]

    No wonder the word “no” affects us so much! And often a parent’s “no” is said in angry or harsh tones. An outburst-angry “No!” to a child will leave the child feeling a deep sense of shame. So, fast forward the clock to the adult who has to say “no” and we often feel that deep level of pain as a child—that now, we, seeing ourselves in our children—- are projecting that pain we never regulated (or had a parent regulate for us, i.e. “Just because mommy says no, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” or have them say out loud after a “no”, “I’m disappointed, but I’m okay.”)

    When we can get our children to see what we see now—-God says no to us for our good. He says “no” to protect us, to correct, to shepherd us. When we use “no” in that regard with others, we can be free of guilt and shame. In fact, we can know that our “no” is actually positive, that it benefits the other person. Wouldn’t that be radical?

  260. Libbie

    Sometimes we don’t say “no” because we’re afraid (if truth be told), that God won’t do whatever it is that needs to be done! Really?? If Our Heavenly Father really wants us to do something, He’ll make it clear. (If we ask, and then listen.)
    Sometimes we need to just “push it back onto God’s plate, and leave it there. He’s capable! Sometimes it’s the enemy, or ourselves, who are taking on a responsibility that God never intended for us.
    Sometimes we need to say “no”, push it back onto God’s plate, and let Him take care of it.

  261. Pat Ross

    I’ve finally wrapped my heart around the word “No” due to the fact that I’m not God and I no longer wear the chains of Super Woman. I’m enjoying the freedom and peace that comes with this realization;)

  262. Sara

    Saying “no” is definitely something I struggle with. When I say “no” to doing something for them, they are flabbergasted. I can think of specific situations where I said no to something due to a prior engagement, and was told that “that doesn’t seem like the Christian thing to do [to say no].” For me, I’ve learned that before I say yes or no to something, I always pray about it and let God direct me. Whether it be opening my Bible and finding a related passage, seeking wisdom from a trusted Sister in Christ, or a “gut” feeling from God, I know that meditating on certain decisions has helped me from regretting the choices I’ve made and the “nos” I’ve said.

    • Sara

      “When I say no to doing something for them (them=friends/family)…. ”

      sorry, I deleted too much during my edit!

  263. Lori Cutler

    Somehow I seem to have turned the meaning of Galatians 6:2 {Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.} into a Messiah complex. ie…symbolically speaking, “I am the Messiah and I gotta carry it for them.” This totally misconstrues the meaning of the verse. I am slowing learning to take these burden’s to the Lord and allow him to minister in ways that *I* cannot. It’s amazing the weight that is lifted when you allow yourself the ability to say ‘no.’

  264. Chris

    I struggle with saying no for a couple of reasons…. Sometimes when i agree to do things i want to say no to, God blesses me in spite of my attitude (like when i stay to clean up the church kitchen after a potluck and have a great time of fellowship with my sisters at church). More often, I say yes to things because i want to be needed or appreciated or important to someone… not because i checked with my Father and he asked me to do it.

  265. Stephanie Reif

    Being a stay at home mom, for years I was pressured to be a room mother, do all the parties, drive to all the functions. One day in BSF out teaching leader said if we say yes to all the good things we will not have time for the best things. That statement empowered me to say no to all of these good things. I made it clear to my children that I would help at one party a year and that was it. By that time I had found the best for me- raising my kiddos, keeping my home and teaching children at BSF. The world will always try to crowd out the best when it is something from/for the Lord. The word no is one of the best gifts from God.

  266. Jackie

    I have found that when I say “let me think about it” I gain the correct perspective. I used to always say yes or no right away, then regret the decision. I think it’s honoring to everybody involved to think and pray about the decsion, then it’s easier to say no knowing that you did actually think and pray about it.

  267. Nicole

    I am a rescuer by nature. There are times when saying no means leaving someone in the middle of their mess. The Rescuer they need to be crying out to is the One who sees from every perspective and can help on every level. This leaves me feeling that I’ve failed them and can bring feelings of frustration and anxiety.

  268. Bobbi Reed

    Sometimes I equate saying no to advertising to the world that I have such a disorganized life I can’t do what I’m being asked to do. I guess I say yes to save face and pride, proving I’m spiritual, caring, organized and the like!

  269. sally

    At one time, I believed my need to please others by being a “yes-girl” was truly about other people. A few tough lessons later, I am realizing that my need to please is rooted in a need to be accepted. And needed. And all things to everyone. What a ridiculous task to assign myself! Praise the Lord for evidence beginning in Genesis that boundaries are good, and from God and that there are consequences for overstepping them. I’m looking at you with sympathy, Eve. I would have wanted the serpent to like me or find me agreeable too.

  270. Mary

    Sometimes I think we just say yes because that’s what we grew up with….the expectation that we could do it all and do it well. Although the other stuff probably plays into that, as with any other behavioral choice, we do what we know until we make a conscious decision to do it differently. And doing something differently often requires us to learn how to do “it” differently – whatever the behavior is. Saying no …. or saying yes, for that matter, is a behavioral choice. I grew up with a mom that seemed to be able to do it all….and then some. I don’t know how she did all she did. I do know she didn’t have lots of choices because my father left her with 6 kids. You do what you have to do. But what I learned from that is that I *should* be able to do it all…even when I can’t. And that’s not what God wants for me (or what he wanted for my mom!). Learning how to say no has been a life-long pursuit for me – and continues! Some days I’m better at it than others :)! Blessedly, God is gracious and even when I commit to something I should have said “no” to, He has often presented an opportunity to “uncommit” gracefully, and although I’m not always tuned in enough to realize it, He has and continues to teach me not only how to say no, but more importantly, how to listen to Him!

  271. Alicia

    Great post Lysa! I also struggle with saying no especially when it comes to serving roles at church; however, a leader gave me some great advice recently which has helped tons. First, is to pray about what you’re being asked to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for a whole day, or even a week, to process & pray about the ask. Listen for a clear yes from Him, if you don’t hear it, then say no.

    If you still feel guilty about saying no, keep in mind that your yes (when you heard a no from Him) is stealing someone else’s opportunity to say yes to that very same ask! I had never thought of it like this. I definitely don’t want my guilt induced yes to prevent someone else from doing or leading something He had planned for them (not me!)

  272. Cindy

    I think that it’s sometimes hard to say “no” because we don’t want the other person, organization etc. to think that we think we are too good to do something for them. We can find time to do things for others, but they are insignificant or unworthy. Something to think about.

  273. Laurie

    I am both a people pleaser and a bit of a perfectionist. For me, saying no means someone may not “like” me any more. And you can’t be “perfect” if people don’t like you. But if I say “yes” too often to things that aren’t really necessary, then I don’t like myself much. It is therefore important to seek my worth in Christ and not in the opinions of others. I also ask myself if I think less of someone if they say “no” to something that interferes with what God wants them to pursue and the answer is that I do not. So, why should I put myself under such pressure? Short answer – I shouldn’t! We are told to make the most of our time and sometimes that means saying “no.”

  274. Shana

    For me it is the fear of letting people down and my need to make others happy. That gets me every time.

  275. Becky M

    I always feel guilty and ashamed whenever I’ve said no, particularly if I’ve turned down a request to help with something at church. I worry that others will look down on me or think less of me because of that no. But, I’ve got to remember to be real and to be honest with myself. I do say yes whenever I can. When I say no, it’s because the request is for something that I’m just really not capable of handling right then. I also need to remember that I can’t control the opinions that others form of me. They really have no idea what I all have on my plate, so if they’re chosing to judge me based on one no, then it just has to be their problem; it can’t be mine. If I’m at peace with the no, and believe God’s OK with it, too, then I need to let it go and walk away.

  276. Dee

    I think I have the need to please everyone all the time

  277. June

    I struggle with saying “No” many times:
    1. I know that I could do whatever is asked of me ‘fairly well.
    and who knows many I would get recognized for it.
    2. I will say “yes’ thinking that no-one else is available to do it.
    3. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and who knows maybe I won’t be asked the next time around.
    4. I won’t say ‘no’ when asked to do something when I know I have a small window to fit another activity in.
    5. I also think I will have fun in that activity and so say to someone “I can do it!!”

  278. Amanda Carnes

    This is a topic that I have pondered much over the past couple of years…saying, yes and no to the right things. Something that the Lord has shown me is that He desires my submission of my availability, not just my ability. We derive our identities from what role we play instead of whose Child we are! And while those roles are crucial, if we get them out of order, they create chaos in our lives. Do you know that God had to remove me from all service in the church in order for me to “get” this? I mean, literally remove me from every ministry that I was involved in. I was doing nothing but warming a blessed pew for ONE.SOLID.YEAR. When the Lord told me, “Amanda, I am what you need, not those idols of service”, and when I finally surrendered that to Him, it was amazing what He did in my life. I was afraid of saying “NO” to what I thought was a “RIGHT” thing…I know you think I’m crazy, but think on this…even doing a “good” thing, if not called by God, can be wrong for you. The Bible says that a good man’s steps are ordered of the Lord. I’m so glad to say that God has shown me what ministries to be involved in, and I have made myself available for them. It’s amazing what God will do in our lives, if we just submit ourselves to Him.

  279. Leigh

    If I say no, no one will do it! But one friend said, “Then the Lord must have someone else out there to do it! I need to wait and see who the Lord brings.”

  280. Kerry Wimpey

    Saying “No” means I’m not “Super Woman” and I desperately want to be her.

  281. Nan Axelton

    I want people to like me. The little girl in me thinks I have nothing to offer, and is unlikable. So when someone asks me to participate in something, I want to jump in with both feet, and please them so they’ll be my friend, or I’ll be part of the “club”. Over the years, I’ve learned the truth of who I am in God’s eyes and that not everyone will love me, (those who do are my valued treasures from Heaven who I don’t need to impress,) so now instead of saying, “Yes,” I say, “I’ll pray and think about it.” Then I follow God’s lead. If His answer is no, that works for me. Having said all that, it’s still hard to say no sometimes. See, I couldn’t say no to you when you asked for a comment. 🙂

  282. Christy Blanchard

    I used to have a very hard time saying “no”. I wanted to be liked and accepted by everyone, and I had the ridiculously high standard for myself that I had to somehow be everything to everyone in order for that to happen. This lead to a very stressful existence and the beginning of a building resentment toward the people I was “helping”. Didn’t they know how busy I was and that I couldn’t possibly do the “one more” thing they were asking me to take on? How could they when I stood there with my polite little smile, saying yes to all their requests?
    Fortunately, I was also praying for wisdom during this time and God helped me to see how my “helping” was really coming from my own fears and insecurities. It was a difficult truth for me to accept and it was a difficult transition as I moved from being a people pleaser to a woman who, with God’s help, starting prioritizing my “to do list” with things that pleased Him instead of others. Now when asked to do something, I say I need to think about it and I’ll get back to them instead of giving in to the self-imposed pressure to say yes. After contemplation and prayer, if this isn’t something that would fit the priorities that God has for me, the answer is a polite “no”. The best part is now when I come back to the person with a “yes”, the smile they see on my face is real.

  283. Naomi

    I actually have recenty learned that my always wanting to please people and never say “no” comes from my pride. I want to look good and I want everyone to like me. That is wrong. I need to take everything to God and seek Him for my answer- and if it is “no”- then I need to say “no”! Such a challenge! But I am really trying to depend on God and seek to glorify HIm in my life and not myself.

  284. Julie

    In my particular case of no dysfunction, I find myself staring into the face of my own insecurity. When first asked, I’m secretly pretty sure that I’ll do a great job, and I should be the one to do it. But then I start to think, well, what if I fail? What if I disappoint the person who asked me to do it? THEN I decide that they must have been really desperate, or they wouldn’t have asked me at all, so I really must do it or no one else will. I so often see myself as a last resort rather than a first choice. This leaves the entirety of a project hanging on my shoulders, and I feel obliged to say yes (since if they asked me, no one else must want to do it).

  285. Jennifer Henn

    1st-When I do say no, I have to put my pride in check so I won’t give them a 10 minute dissertation on everything I’m doing in my life. It’s okay to just say, “Thanks for asking, but I can’t do that right now.”

    2nd-Maybe I do need to say yes. Sometimes the problem is where I’m wasting precious time on the wrong thing. Budget God’s time like I am to budget God’s money.

    Recently I said no to the Children’s Ministry leader at our church. She was gracious and asked me to consider serving next summer. Smart lady! That is something I can pray about for a year.

  286. Christy

    Sometimes I have a hard time saying no because I really do feel bad about leaving a person without my help. I feel guilty that I may cause someone to have a harder time because of not agreeing to do what they’ve asked me to do.
    I also have a hard time saying no when I feel flattered or esteemed that I’ve been asked to do something. I want so much to live up to those expectations!
    Bottom line is: Saying yes when I should say no leads to regret, resentment, dread and an overall bad attitude. It also makes me crazy in all of the other areas of my life!

  287. Beckey

    If I am being completely honest, it comes down to pride and acceptance. I have the fear that if I say “no” people won’t like me and will reject me.

  288. Staci Suttles

    I have a really hard time saying no except for to my kids. I certainly do not say yes to everything they ask me! But I find myself saying yes I will teach bible school! Yes I will work the concession stand at the ball game! Yes I will have my kids involved in way too many things and run myself ragged! Yes I will be there for this or that! Yes I will paint my sister’s house for her for nothing in return! Yes I will travel over 600 miles to do so! Yes I will loan you money! Yes I will plant 100 tomato plants this year and do all the processing of them! Yes yes yes! And then I wonder how I am going to manage it all. I worry if I say no what will people think? Will I be considered a bad mom if my kids don’t play soccer, baseball, gymnastics, and take swim lessons all at the same time? If I say no will they be mad? If I don’t volunteer for everything under the sun will people think I’m bias because I said yes to this but no to that?

  289. Lia Stene

    In the past I often felt that saying no meant I was being selfish and more concerned about myself than others. If I were a “good” person, than I would help in any way I can. Add an unhealthy dose of pride to that (“Look at all that she can do!”) and you have a recipe for disaster. A few years ago I was involved in way too many things…and I was ignoring the messages I was receiving from my husband, my kids and the Lord that I needed to stop spreading myself too thin. I was caught up in a major case of the “busies” and proud of it! Once again, God taught me the lesson I so needed. I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that impacted me in almost every way imaginable-physically, mentally, emotionally. I was literally forced to lay down and be STILL. It was so hard, so discouraging, so depressing to feel so awful that I couldn’t do anything-not care for my family, or take care of my home, or do my job. When I finally opened my heart and listened to the Father, I realized that this was a blessing, not a curse! I was being forced to WAIT and carefully consider every single thing I planned to do in a day. I was forced to look to God first, and ask Him what He wanted me to accomplish that day. I continue to struggle with this…I forget to look to Him first for direction, and the strength and energy needed to function. He always pulls me back and reminds me that He has a plan for me, every minute of every day. He is so good!

  290. Chris Carter

    First of all I want to tell you that our women’s group is expanding and after finishing your “Unglued” (which we all decided we will RE-READ again this fall!!) we have begun your “What Happens When Women Who Say Yes To God”!! We had our first group last night… with many more new women that need God’s Wisdom and Encouragement through YOU. Thank you my friend (I always introduce you as my BFF when I lead the group…is that okay? 😉 ) I am THRILLED and excited how God has ‘hand-picked’ each precious soul to be a part of my group! Many of my dear friends are suffering in unbelievable life struggles, and I pray this group is a time for nourishment, fulfillment and grace for each one of them. (And me!)
    I cannot WAIT to read your latest book that you are currently working on! Oh girl, you are just amazing…

    NO= letting go of guilt, control, and pride.
    NO= allowing others to do for you…
    NO= allowing yourself to be worthy of your limits
    NO=accepting your limits with grace
    NO=Confronting the fear of disapproval/disappointment
    NO=Strength and security in who you are
    NO= Courage in trusting that His Will Be Done

    I recently slammed into the wall of a NO. I found myself completely dry and “used up”. As I collided with another email asking me to run this and that and do this and that for yet another ministry I signed on to help- I had to respond with a big ol’ fat “NO”.
    I prayed for someone to step into my place. The following week, while involved in another ministry (American Heritage Girls)…
    I ran into a woman who told me she was taking my place in the other dance camp ministry I had put the KIBOSH on. She was thrilled that they asked her because she couldn’t afford the camp and this way she could do it with the discount they will be giving her for her work!!

    And there it is. His Will Be Done.


  291. melissa

    Being asked to do something puts us on a tightrope between pride and guilt. We lean one way, thinking that if we don’t say yes, there won’t be anyone else to fill that need. We are the best person for that job; that’s why we were asked. On the other hand, when we lean the other way towards thinking about saying no, we feel the guilt of disappointing someone that is looking to us for help. What we really need to do is focus on the rope we are walking on and realize that if we lean one way or the other it is not going to turn out well. God gave us a path to walk and as we do, others will cross that path. It is only through the Holy Spirit’s help that we can discern what to say yes to and what to say no to. We need to remain true to ourselves and what God has called us to. Even “good” things aren’t necessarily good if they aren’t in His will for our lives.

  292. Mary Frances Ballard

    You lock up your car and front door to protect those and you should protect and value your time just as much. If outside interruptions or activities are not a priority for you, do not allow those to steal your time any more than you would let a thief steal your possessions. Time is one item in your life that has a limit and cannot be replaced. Guard it carefully!

  293. Nichole

    In a matter of minutes I will be answering the phone. On the ‘calling’ end of the line will be someone who wants an answer. An answer of yes or no. A question that invites me to join them in a beautiful ministry. One in which touches the life’s of God’s people everyday. In my humanness, where pride, selfishness, and the need to people please reside I want to say ‘yes’. But its not the answer that my Jesus has laid on my heart to speak out. For the caller is a true friend of mine. I don’t want to hear her heart. But I am choosing to trust and obey. Trust that Jesus has prepared her heart to hear my ‘no’. Trusting that Jesus has prepared me to speak the ‘no’ from a heart that wants to obey. I may not get the ‘no’ right now. But the answer is to be no. Because He has other things for me right now. I might not like the no. But trusting Him and His timing is what a heart that yearns to obey needs to do. Sometimes ‘no’ has to happen!

  294. Della

    I think that sometimes Christians (especially Christian women) associate saying “no” with not trusting God. I have often heard busyness spiritualized as trusting God to help you meet all the demands in your life. A very wise mentor of mine once told me that saying “no” was actually a sign of spiritual maturity because it meant that you knew what God’s priorities were for you right then. If I am not sure whether or not God wants me to say “no,” I will tell the person asking that I will pray about it and get back to them. I usually give them a timeframe and get back to them with an answer by that time.

  295. Lynn

    I have wrestled with this for quite a while. Although I have gotten better over the last few years, I still have a very difficult time when one of my adult children ask me for something (whether it’s coordinating a schedule for the holidays or babysitting) and I also struggle with saying no to direct requests, especially from those on my team or those I support, or a girlfriend. But what is most telling is the guilt I feel for not volunteering and meeting a need even when no one expects me to do so. The truth of the matter is that despite today’s reality, I’m still always striving to be liked even though I’m 50 years old and no longer that lonely, only child, who desperately wants to be liked and have friends to play with.

  296. Kathleen

    I used to feel guilty for saying no. I thought it was un-Christian. Unfeminine. Mean, even. But what I’ve learned is that saying no can be one of the most powerful forms of self-love available to me. I think carefully about my responses, and sometimes saying “no” to someone is more about saying “yes” to me. It may be that I need sleep, that my family deserves my focus, or I simply need some “me” time to think, read, pray, or get a pedicure. I realized that when Jesus taught that you should “love your neighbor as yourself” one way to look at it is that you have to love yourself first – before you can truly love someone else. Over and over, I have found that when I say “yes” to me and what is most important in my life, I am more free to say a quality “yes” to others.

  297. Terry

    When we say “no” to one thing, we are saying “yes” to another.
    So when pondering whether to say “yes” or whether to say “no,”
    the bigger question is this: “At this particular time, what, among all our activities, is most valued in our Lord’s eyes?” Within that disclosure lies the justification and backbone of our yeses and our nos.

  298. Kathy

    For me, it’s feeling like I may disappoint someone if I say “no”. I try to look at their perspective and I feel like they don’t know that when I do say “no” there were a hundred other “yeses” that had been made. I feel like to them they would perceive me as not such a nice and caring person. Then there is my sevant heart. I have taken the spiritual gifts test more than once and my talent is to serve others. So, when I don’t feel like I’m using God’s gift to me I feel guilty. And then there’s the golden rule…do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What if I needed help? I know you shouldn’t deplete yourself because then you wouldn’t have much left to offer to others, but it’s just hard to balance it all at times.

  299. N TOWNER

    I believe one of the reasons we have a hard time saying no, is that we don’t like people saying no to us. We have all been in charge of something and realize how important it is to have support and help to run a fundraiser, or create a team for relay for life, or put on a non profit event and many hands makes lighter work. It is hard to say no because we really want to help and be there and be apart of something but need to learn to balance our life. We as women are not so good at this as men. We can fit so much multi tasking into our brain.

  300. Lorena

    I find myself thinking that when I say “no”, I fear that if I needed that person for something, they might also respond with a “no”. But what I’m learning is that I can offer a portion of myself that is more suitable to my schedule and commitments. In other words, I can say “let me see whether I can help you with that”. Then, once I’ve pondered what kind of a commitment it will be and whether I can fit it into my life without sacrificing something more important, I respond with a “here is what I CAN do to help you”. “Will that work for you?” That way, I’m saying that there might be a ‘version’ of the request that I can help with….or, offer a different level of help. Often times those asking then let me know that what I can do WILL, or WILL NOT work for them and they know that if it won’t, they will have to seek someone else’s help.

    • Jane

      Dear Lysa, Life is about priorities. Life is full of many good things. It is very possible to have too many good things. It is not that we say yes too often to bad things it is that we say yes too often to good things. Nothing like a family crisis to get your priorities straight. It is amazing what you can say no to when a loved one is in a crisis. No to volunteering, no to work, no to small group, VBS and cleaning the house. My perception of how others may judge my saying no suddenly does not matter. Eating at the King’s buffet and my platter was overflowing. Crisis, that has been filtered through God’s fingers, has made me clear the platter and begin to oh so carefully place what really matters back on. Sure, you may say, having a crisis gives you a special pass. In reality, we all need to be more forgiving, all the time. It’s impossible to understand all the details, stresses and responsibilities of some one else’s life. Not everyone can handle the same level of busyness. God knows and I must be willing to submit and accept His authority not only for my life but the life of others.

    • Courtney M. Draughon

      You are right with the reasons for “no”! I do not have a problem saying it! Sorry I know this is contrary. I learned at a young age that saying “yes, yes, and yes” got me into a lonely place mumbling “no…no..no!” For me a no is obedience and comfort to accept myself and others with whatever the reaction is. For instance a neighbor kid down the street named Charlie takes my no’s very well and comes back to play when a yes is sure. Then we have a great time and no one’s grumpy lol. I have a difficult time knowing & experiencing so many Moms unable to occasionally say no. Especially when it could mean her family will be more secure with her Godly guidance, learn to depend on her only saying yes when she is super lead to do so! Love you Lysa. Wow, the lives you are touching. My favorite is Made to Crave. I will always use it for a resource in women’s ministry.

    • Julieana

      Lorena, I love your response! It’s a great way of reflecting on whatever it is we are being asked to do, assessing it, and responding in the best – and most realistic – way we are able to.
      One of the problems I see with simply responding ‘yes’, when we know we’re already over-committed or at the max, is that something will suffer; it may be the new commitment, or a previous one. In the end we are violating the very word we have given, because we cannot do everything! Sometimes in our desire to be considerate, thought well of, or to meet our own expectations of ourselves, we actually do more harm than good. It is kinder, and much more responsible, to offer part of the help being requested, or to simply say ‘I’m so sorry I can’t help this time…”
      Thank you for your thoughtful, pragmatic example.

  301. Renee

    We think saying no makes us look bad and that people won’t like us. We are too worried about the “No Fallout.”

  302. Pat E.

    I became a Christian at 33 and was so on fire for the LORD and what He had done for me, that I didn’t realize that I could say “no”. I wanted to say “yes” to everything I could because that’s what a good Jesus’ girl does, right? LOL!!

    I honestly think the real problem lies in that we aren’t mentored properly as Titus 2:3-5 instructs: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” I haven’t read anywhere in my Bible that “the older women should teach the younger women how to do VBS teaching, backyard Bible clubs, children’s Sunday school teaching, children’s worship, etc.”

    Older women like me should be teaching younger women to be good wives and mothers so that “no one will malign the word of God”, but instead we have young moms doing so much with so little time that they’re missing teaching their children the things of the LORD in the their own homes.

  303. Amy C

    I noticed recently that I felt pressure, stressed when asked the simplest thing…
    like, an employee asking if I wanted to taste some food she brought to work…and I
    thought, how silly!? I have been wondering why I feel that way, and I’m still
    thinking about it, but I’m sure it has something to do with my childhood
    insecurities! 🙂 Wish you well on your new book! You have such a gift! Letting God
    use you to teach us! Thank you.

  304. deb

    I am learning to say “no” a step at a time. The first step was giving myself permission NOT to finish a book or movie that I had begun with enthusiasm only to discover that I lost interest (sometimes within the first few pages or the first few minutes!). Next I learned to say “no” to people who were close to me (the people who would love me even if I did say “no”). My kids actually learned to do laundry, my husband got to know our kids better as he drove them to lessons, and my dogs learned to enjoy the great outdoors for longer periods of time instead of hiding in “fear and trembling” from the noise of the vacuum cleaner. I am now learning to say “no” to demands from acquaintances who I feel the need to impress with my stellar skills and character. As I say “no” to committees, group projects, and other tasks I free myself for doing more of the Bible Studies that God wants to use so I know Him better. And I feel no more guilt about NOT attending a meeting when I “just feel blah”! THAT is FREEDOM!

  305. Marcella

    Saying no to me is giving someone permission to abandon me. The fear of abandonment is so great that I’ve allowed myself to become a doormat. I’m working on finding my significance in Christ, so these fears will disappear. Your story hit home to me, I too don’t sleep well when my husband is gone.

  306. Maggie Voth

    We think saying No will make people not like us and be disappointed in us.

  307. Deborah Kopstein Burr

    God Himself says No to us sometimes, not because He is mean. Not because He doesn’t want to bless us. But rather because He does!! Often God says no to something we want to do, because He has something else He wants to say Yes to. And we need to be open to His Guidance, and learn to say NO, so that He can say YES.

  308. Kathy Collard Miller

    Another reason: if I say no and someone else does it, they might not do it perfectly or according to my standards/expectations and that would be frustrating to think I could have done it better. Another: I like the feeling of being needed and I need to encourage their neediness for me. But of course, i don’t have trouble saying no. hahaha

  309. Connie

    A friend shared this with me and there was a time when I literally kept a copy of this by my phone.

    I’m sorry but I can’t give it the attention it deserves.

    I was doing so many things half heartedly. They were things I wasn’t ment to do but out of guilt and insecurities I felt I had to say yes if someone took the time to ask me. I never consulted God I just said yes. Life is so much simpler if I do the things he wants me to do and decline on everything else because I can’t (or don’t want to) give it the attention it deserves.

    • Julieana

      Connie, I love the verbiage :> It means, literally, telling someone – kindly – that we can’t meet the commitment being sought.
      One of the problems I see with simply responding ‘yes’, when we know we’re already over-committed or at the max, is that something will suffer; it may be the new commitment, or a previous one. In the end we are violating the very word we have given, because we cannot do everything! Sometimes in our desire to be considerate, thought well of, or to meet our own expectations of ourselves, we actually do more harm than good.
      I’m combining your lovely advice with Lorena’s and when I can’t even offer part of the help being requested, I will speak the truth: “I’m sorry, but I can’t give it the attention it deserves”.
      Thank you for wise, kind advice!

  310. Michele Morin

    This is a big one for me, and has been ever since we started our family. For some reason we mothers think we can add multiple children and all their schedules to our lives and still continue to do everything else we ever did at the same time. My toughest time to say “no” is when I know that there’s no one else waiting in the wings to do whatever needs doing. So . . .if I don’t coordinate the VBS, there will be NO VBS! What does that point to in my life? I don’t like to look at it, but certainly there’s a lack of trust. Do I believe that God is in charge of the big picture? the things/ministries/people I care about? If I do, and it is clear that I should say no to something, I have to believe that He will take care of His church. He will build into my family what He wants them to know as a result of having a mother who has to say “no” sometimes. My barometer has been: am I saying “no” to my kids and husband more than I say “no” to “my public”? If so, there’s a problem.

  311. Judy

    Saying “no” as a teenager and the a you g single woman brought a sense of relief…of “whew” that was the right answer! “No” to all the social pressures that would make you fit in. “No” to following along with the crowd even if meant the name that came with it, ‘goody-2-shoes.

    But as an adult, “No” takes on a huge roll of…ugh…GUILT. Thoughts of, ‘I really just should have done that. What’s another hour or so to my day. My family will understand.’ Guit that’s led me to say, ‘sure, I can finish that project on my vacation. I will just stay up I Til 2am one night while they sleep, and promise myself not to be grumpy the next day, no matter what.’ Guilt often becomes my sidekick when I have to say “no”. And I find myself wondering why I can’t be the perfect friend who works all day but still has time to volunteer to cook dinner for that online ‘meal train.’ So, instead I go online at midnight and sign up…. And then buy take out.

    Guilt feeds my feelings of inadequacy. Of not measuring up. Of perhaps jeopardizing future chances…. But I find the people who really suffer when I don’t say ‘No’ are my family. I’m on a constant journey to quit whining about the task I’ve chosen NOT to say ‘no’ to and to quit feeling guilty for the ones I actually do mutter out an apologetic ‘no’ to.

    Thanks for challenging me to think about this again. To re-evaluate why I say no and think carefully about what’s important and when it just really ok to say no.

    I love your writings. You teach so much. You challenge me to think before I act. Blessings!

  312. Margaret

    While I agree with all those reasons listed here, sometimes, as wives, moms, daughters and friends, the thought of saying no simply never enters our conscious thought processes. It just doesn’t occur to us to say no. We know we should for any number of valid reasons. We simply don’t.

  313. Lisa F

    I enjoy helping others, so for the longest time it was hard to say “no”. If it is possible, I feel led to do it & time permits, I say “yes”. I have gotten better about saying “no” as not to over commit myself. It’s better to a few things with excellence than spread yourself to thin and not be able to give it your best.

  314. Diana

    I have a ‘peace maker’ personality (I get that from my mama) and I always feel the need to keep everybody happy, don’t ruffle feathers and keep all ‘right with the world’ as much as I can. With that… in saying “no”… I also feel that I need to help take care of others. My struggles with saying “no” are not in fear of making someone mad, or making sure they don’t have a reason to say to no to me at some point but I really feel like I may make a decision (in saying no) that will be totally upsetting their life. Like a sister or niece that turns to me when things get rough for help, answers, advice whatever and I “need” to fix things for them… in a mothering, caretaker way. I’ve opened myself up to being used many times and my husband lectures me (in a loving supportive way) about saying no more and not always being the fixer. I haven’t been able to totally do this yet, but I’m trying.

  315. Liz Markley

    In my family and with my friends, I am the “go to” girl. Whenever someone needs something it’s Liz to the rescue. The caregiver…the controller of all things, the “Glue” as my family refers to me. Saying no makes ME feel inadequate, like I am unable to do it all. The guilt that comes along side this makes it unbearable!

  316. Jane McCaulley

    I am retired from teaching elementary art in the public schools–35 wonderful years! People always think art teachers want their stuff that they consider too good to throw away–their trash. I would never say “no I can’t use your “things”. I was always afraid of hurting their feelings. When I retired, I had a truckload of things to get rid of. And I didn’t try to give it away to anyone but the trash bin. I would have saved myself and my sweet husband a lot of work if I had just been honest.

  317. Dianna

    Well said Lysa! I often have to remind myself and close friends “No.” is a complete sentence.We feel the need to justify why we had to say no, we feel so guilty about it.

  318. Amy C

    Thinking more about this while working-don’t have time to read others responses.
    Sorry if this is a repeat. One of the things I am trying to get in the habit of doing
    is to be more like Jesus in this area of saying no. I mean, Jesus usually
    answered tough questions with questions, really good questions. I would love to
    be able to do that! He didn’t allow others to make him feel uncomfortable or
    back him in a corner.

  319. Joy Sherman

    When I say no…

    I feel guilty. I am convinced I have let someone down (which may possibly be true) and that she’ll never forgive me (which is also possible but highly unlikely).

    I feel stifled. I feel like I should be able to say yes, and the choice to say no (and it is ALWAYS a choice, even when we’re sure it’s not!) hurts because it feels confining. Nos feel like freedom-killers, when in truth they usually offer more freedom.

    I feel heavy. As much as people say they like “control,” every once in a while, a “no” feels heavy, especially when it’s indecisive. Sometimes no means you have to get off the fence, and that’s hard. What if you land on the wrong side? What if saying “no” means you wind up being wrong about your “no”? Exposing yourself to failure is treacherous if you care about impression management. But if you value being “hot or cold, not lukewarm” (thank you John the Revelator), even a heavy no is better than no “no.”

    So how do I ever manage to say no to anything? I try to live remembering this: Every “yes” is a “no” to something else — when I say yes to someone, I’m choosing to say no to something else. For example, when I say yes to watching a TV show, I say no to quality time with my son. (A “wrong” yes and no, in my humble opinion.) When I say yes to a bike ride with my son, I say no to the mound of dishes in the kitchen. (A “right” yes and no… depending on what kind of cleaning geek you are!) These “nos” are less difficult for me to say, because I’m not forced to “voice” them; however, were the situation reversed, where I was having to physically say “no” to one thing and the quiet “yes” was spoken to another, I think it would be more difficult. On either side, though, it’s easier to make a definitive choice when I consider that I’m always choosing between two options. Sometimes we make choices convoluted, convincing ourselves that we’re picking fair, good, better and best. Almost always, the choice boils down to A or B, and it’s never even really about the surface choice anyway. It’s always about the underlying message we believe our choice communicates. As I say yes and no, I want to make sure my choices communicate what I believe God’s agenda is for me, for my family, for my church, etc.

    All that said, I still get this more wrong than right. But I’m working on applying the principle, and in some small way, I think it’s helping.

  320. Amy

    I have always struggled with saying no. I always help anyone in need, babysit families children (while trying to homeschool mine) and do whatever I can to help out. When it comes to church I have a hard time saying no too. I know that a part of me is afraid to let people down afraid that people won’t like me if I don’t help. I know this stems from my abusive childhood and never feeling accepted and loved. The past six years the Lord has really been working on me and telling me I need turn to Him for love and acceptance and not the world. Has then been easy oh no! But by also using my husband as a sounding board it helps me a lot! My husband knows if I am over extended and can handle anything new and will let me know if I can because there is also a large part of me that truly wants to please the Lord with all my heart and I can get into the pattern of a work based relationship with Him that just leaves me a shell and no good to my family. So honestly I am just a mess! lol! But by turning to the Lord daily He is shaping me to be more like Him and guides me to make the right choices so He can be glorified.

  321. Linda Magsamen

    The Lord has shown me just recently through some friends that told me the truth in love that sometimes because we don’t say no, we are enabling the person to not seek help other than ours. I have a friend in a nursing home and I am called on everyday to lift her up and do things. The home isn’t even close to me. The Lord showed me that I needed to back off and allow her to seek him for help and others. It has taken a great burden off of me and it will make our relationship better for me and her.

  322. Lisa cross

    I think sometimes if I say no, then people will not see me as the superwoman they think I am. Instead they will see me as the girl who really doesn’t have it all together.

  323. Kat

    When I do say “no” to someone, I usually feel at least a little bit guilty afterwards… but then spend time rationalising my decision in my head!
    When I say “yes” to someone, I either feel good about my decision… or I spend time thinking “Why did I say yes, I’m too busy?!”.
    Is it just that we spend too much time thinking instead of praying? God calls us to action, but we also need to use wisdom. I’m learning that praying about a decision before giving a “yes” or “no” is my best course of action (when possible!).
    Proverbs 4:7 ‘Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgement.”

  324. Irene

    Sometimes I do not say no just so I can please the person asking. We want to be people pleasers!!

  325. Lauren

    I know for me, as a mom who works full-time out of the house, I have a tremendous amount of guilt about that. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job, and I tried the stay at home thing and it just wasn’t for me. I also love my girls more than I can even put into words, but sometimes I worry that I am missing out on them growing up. I try to attend school events during the day, when I can, and I buy every picture, yearbook, t-shirt, PTO fundraiser there is… I am exhausted, but I just cannot bring myself to say no, even when I know I need to.

  326. Ondrea

    Well after reading several comments I know I am in good company! I am surrounded by mommas who also can’t say no. I have been thinking upon why it is so hard for me. If I am honest I would say that it’s because there has to be a reason that I was given the opportunity to do something. I am listening so hard for what God wants for me to do in my life/relationships/ministry but I don’t get a specific answer anywhere. So naturally when an opportunity presents itself it must be what He wants me to be doing. It doesn’t even occur to me that Satan just wants me busy doing stuff instead of really doing what God has for my life. I assume that he’s not paying any attention to me because I am not a spiritual power house like some of the wonderful ladies around me. But think for a minute about the number of us that are so busy wearing ourselves out just to be doing something. That’s a pretty significant number of people. Imagine if more of us only said yes to things that really are what God has in store for us. I bet this world would be alot different.

  327. Pat Baer

    Establishing and implementing clear boundaries is essential for healthy growth. However, it’s how we handle the non-negotiable tasks that truly reveal the depth of our maturity and conviction. Thankfully God’s grace is available for both our “no” and our “yes”.

  328. Jeannie Keller

    I was always afraid to say “No” to people when I was a teenager & even until just recently (41 now) because I was scared they wouldn’t like me or I would be excluded. The fear was feeding my insecurities. Now I found myself in a situation with certain other people where the fear shows itself in a different form. If I say no, I am afraid of the repercussions or confrontation that will ensue….so I use avoidance or appeasement instead of my “No”. Reading all these responses has helped though, because I like to have some default answers ready….like in “Unglued”, I can have a plan of action 🙂

  329. Donna

    For me saying no to someone’s request means I am making myself vulnerable to being rejected by someone whom I may love a great deal,. It also poses a risk that I may become unecessary in the others life, as they look elsewhere to have their needs met. Exposing my idolatrous codepency! Lol! I suppose that is the cost of finding freedom.

  330. Donna

    For me saying no to someone’s request means I am making myself vulnerable to being rejected by someone whom I may love a great deal,. It also poses a risk that I may become unecessary in the others life, as they look elsewhere to have their needs met. Exposing my idolatrous codepency! Lol! I suppose that is the cost of being a Christ follower!

  331. Elizabeth

    For me saying no is hard because of a couple of reasons. Number 1: I’m so concerned with hurting the other persons feelings. Number 2: I second guess myself when I do say no, to the point I even sometimes talk myself into saying yes. It’s a terrible, yet needed, response! God didn’t make us to be stretched paper thin and that is something I remind myself of A LOT!

  332. Gindi

    WOW! I just wrote my blog post about this YESTERDAY. I’m finding as I’m increasingly busy, people ask for even more. With every promotion or success, comes an additional layer of people to which I have to say either no or yes. And I feel rude if I don’t say yes. But I’m learning to say no. By prioritizing. And by being honest. In the nicest way saying, “you know what, I’d rather see my kids today and this means I can’t do that if I say yes.”

    • Michele

      okay im using this one! thank you!

  333. Donna

    For me saying no to someone’s request means I am making myself vulnerable to being rejected by someone whom I may love a great deal,. It also poses a risk that I may become unecessary in the others life, as they look elsewhere to have their needs met. Lol! I suppose that is the cost of being a Christ follower, letting him be God and everyone else including me not!

  334. Lois

    For me, saying no meant I might not be “included” by others in the future. Being an only child in an alcoholic home, I grew up wanting to be part of anything and everything so that I could be away. I found myself doing that again in my adult life….to the point that I was over-scheduled and overwhelmed!!! I wanted to feel like I was contributing, and “doing” made me feel like I was important and appreciated. I have stopped doing much of the volunteer stuff I used to and now am a bit lonely….there must be a happy medium…that is what I need to explore through my conversations with my Jesus!!!

  335. Tammy Howard

    Being a recovering “people pleaser” I can tell you my biggest reason for not saying no used to be that I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to have people singing my praises because I came to their rescue. Pretty shallow and narcissistic, right? One day God showed me that: 1. If I am saying yes for the right reason HE will get the glory, not me. 2. If I DO say no, why should I care about what anybody else thinks? I am here to please God, not man. 3. Am I willing to bring extra stress on myself just so I can turn around and be the martyr (insert gasp and hand turned palm-side-out on forehead)? I think not. I never say yes right away now. And, quite frequently, my answer will end up being no when I am in a busy time now. Am I always tempted to say yes? YOU BET! But with God’s help, I am recovering from that. Slowly.

  336. Angela

    I think my FOMO is on auto answer! I hear a conversation start and I know exactly where it is going to go and I run through my rehearsed line; as much as I would love to, I really need to stay focused on the commitments I have….and then it happens. I open my mouth and the words super naturally change into a No Problem, I can do that! Are you serious, did that really just come out of my mouth! 🙂 Better add that to the calendar before I forget and let someone down. When in all reality, the only one i’m letting down is myself. I say this because every addition to the calendar takes away my precious time and hinders my ability to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit, which then slows my timeline of accomplishing what God has willed for me down. The song lyrics spell it out perfectly for me; I tend to be busier than I need to be. Lord help me to be busy with the things you want me to be with; and may the words that come out of my mouth be a soft, kind hearted “No, I appreciate the opportunity you are offering to me, but No.

  337. kelly

    I was abandoned alot as a child and so for me saying no means that I might risk rejection and or abandonment, so there is alot of fear wrapped up in that one little word. What gets me into trouble is that when I say yes, I find out later that I don’t have the energy to do it and then feel guilty when I have to back out. God has really been working with me on this, because I realized that saying no or backing out later are not using good wisdom and shows my lack of integrity.

  338. Patti Chriestenson

    One reason behind why we have such a hard time saying no is saying yes allows us to hide behind our shame.

    One reason behind why we have such a hard time saying no is saying yes allows us to put up a curtain to hide our low self worth.

    We often say yes to continue to prove our worth and to continue the pretense of performance which continues to hide our shame.

    There are certain times God asks us to say no. This allow us to say yes to Him. Then when we aren’t so busy proving our worth to others, He is allowed to do the inner work of healing. He takes our shame and He gives us His worth!

  339. Rebecca Portteus

    No can be an incredibly difficult thing to say, especially when the other person has a completely different perception of what our path should be. I have to remind myself to not only be prayerful in my decision, but also in how I respond. This helps to alleviate some tension. However, I also have to remind myself that each person does have their own path, so they may not see mine clearly. That has to be alright. Otherwise, I will lose my mind trying to make everyone happy.

  340. Lisa Peters

    I feel like we are called to serve. Jesus came as a servant and even now, sits by our Father and LIVES to intercede for us, He is still serving us. I am humbled by all He has done and want to serve and be His hands and feet and wonder if one of these opportunities I might say no to, might just be a “divine appointment” I let slide by.

  341. Renee Kellihan

    My problem with saying, “No”, is …..I know how busy I am and knowing how if one person did just one thing for me how helpful that would REALLY be. So saying no to someone else is just so hard for me. Just the knowing part of how much that one little thing would be to me just compels me to go ahead and do whatever for the person asking. I just wish others were as nice a friend as I am. 🙂

  342. louise

    there are 2 sides of this for me – the total inadequacy, that they must have made a horrible mistake and how badly i would fail if I said yes – and the habit of saying no so much that I fear accepting anything (yes there is a place like this – I’m in it right now). do I want this thing which will disupt my very nicely ordered world and make demands on me. how hard to sit still and listen and not move till He speaks

  343. Kathy

    Interesting that you asked that today. I have a 90+ neighbor, a family, 3 grandchildren I babysit for on a regular basis, one teen granddaughter that I am concerned about, a kidney cancer survivor husband, an 88 year old mother, a single sister-in-law that needs a support group, friends that have/had/are going through cancer treatments and then there is everyday life.
    Talked to a widowed neighbor in her early 60’s about when does one say no. Not really answered in a black and white context. I have come to the thought that at times when I don’t say no I am saying that God can’t handle it. My thought.

  344. Debbie

    I am a new Christian (January 2013) and I am being baptized this Sunday…by spiritual mentor has been awesome at reminding me not to become Martha…too busy to listen doing to listen to God’s word and then resenting the doing! I am doing what I need to do and that is learning all I can about our Lord and His word! When asked to do something I know would overwhelm me I simply say I can’t right now…I am taking care of myself spiritually and this is what God is calling me to do…

  345. Katie

    Are you haveing ” God time today?” If not then there is something to say “no” to!!
    I have ran ran ran ran for everyone but God! Then realized one day why i hated running all the time! Yes, as a mom, wife, woman, saying No! Made me feel like a failure! Until!!!! I realize it’s really between God and me!!!
    I stopped somethings so that I could fill them with “God time” and before long I realized how my love, my hunger, my confidence in Him has and is still growing!!! And how now I enjoy things and others that I am with more, because I’m learning to see them thru Gods eyes! It’s realizing that the deceiver of this world wants us to stay so busy that we don’t grow a true relationship with our one true love, Jesus, stop! Don’t let satan fool you!
    It mite even hurt at first with all the mixed emotions about saying the N-word ! NO! But when you realize the love and comfort you were missing by putting everyone else first you’ll known in your heart you made the right decision to speak the word- NO!

  346. Gretchen S

    I can say “no” if I really need too but always wonder if the other person is thinking I’m weak or a wuss. My reason for saying no is always because I already have too much on my plate but I then wonder if the other person is thinking, “Why can’t she handle this? What a wuss!”. I’m a stay at home mom so I think people often assume I have extra time but with 3 little ones, I don’t always AND I don’t like to be overloaded. I’m not a good mommy and wife if I take on too much. I don’t know how some working moms handle all they’ve got going. I sometimes question my own productivity because I am home all day and still can’t keep up… can’t imagine how it would be if I worked outside the home.

  347. Moira Conley-Jackson

    I know that I sometimes fear that saying, “NO” to X right now, Might mean I won’t be asked about Y later. In other words, I’m afraid that people will assume a “no” will be my response to future invitations to help, serve, etc. , and they just won’t ask me. I will become a “no” person in their eyes, and I’ll be left out. I don’t want to be a “no” person, but saying yes to everything makes me a crazy person! (which is not great at inspiring confidence in my line of work as a counselor) Lol!

  348. Linda G

    I always feel like saying “NO” is so selfish. If I say no, people will think I am selfish. Like I have better, more important things to do than what you are asking me to do. I don’t know where I go this notion from, but I always am afraid people will think I am being selfish if I say no.
    But then if I keep saying “YES” I end up not being able to give what I wanted to give to whatever it is, and that is not good either. So, “Letting it go” is easier than not being able to give it your all. And if people see me as selfish, that is really their problem, not something I can do anything about anyway!

  349. Kim Locklear

    “Good, better, best – never let it rest
    Til your good is better and your better is best.” Sometimes we have to say “no” to good thing so that we can have the best thing.

  350. Joyce Owen

    The reason we need to say no to people is so we can say yes to God.

  351. Lori

    Satan knows that I have difficulty saying “no” for each of the reasons you’ve listed, and he wants to use that to his advantage. He is a sneaky little devil! Saying “yes” to every request and opportunity truly seems like the “right” answer for one with a servant’s heart, but it often leaves me exhausted, frustrated, and sometimes even bitter. When I overextend myself in a fit of “yes” responses, my attention becomes so divided and my focus so indistinct that I am ultimately ineffective in all arenas. That dangerous territory is exactly where Satan desires for my heart and mind to reside. He knows that when I feel ineffective, I tend to loose sight of my identity in Christ. I begin to measure my ability and worth by worldly standards, and I loose step with God’s purpose for my time and attention. Decision making must be an intentional task. It’s irresponsible for me to “yes” because I think I ought to or even because I simply want to. Experience has taught me that I must examine my motivation for saying “yes” and that I must discern God’s desire for me in each opportunity. Satan wants to use my desire to please and my desire to serve to his advantage. He wants me to wear myself out with my good intentions because if I say “yes” to everyone else, then I may not be available to say “yes” to God. Saying “no” comes more easily when I am able to rest in the assurance that I’m aligning my commitments with God’s desires. I’ve also realized that church can be one of the most challenging places in which to say “no,” but it can also be one of the most dangerous places to always say “yes.” That’s another topic entirely though!
    In His Grip,

  352. Jennifer

    Saying “no” is necessary. Right now, our preschool son wants me to play Play Doh. Sometimes you don’t have to answer, you can just go when you feel like you can answer “yes.” We all have priorities, and sometimes a “no” isn’t necessary. I have all ready played Play Doh today, gone on errands, done chores, swam in the pool, and I will say “yes” to the things I can and “no” to the things that can wait. “I will when I’m done.” Little boy, “can you do it now?” Sometimes we can say “no” and teach our children the value of patience too. Unmet needs are a part of life. We each do what we can. Now he is counting numbers on my calendar…we can all move on to other things…

  353. Michele

    Actually this post helped me to say no today! Im a single working mom with 2 boys in baseball season right now…burning the candle at both ends to say the least right now! im also a leader in a recovery ministry and tonight i had to say i just cant make it. I had to ask another leader to fill in for me. At the very heart of the matter is the fear that im not doing enough, that i will disappoint people and i will disappoint God. The fear is that i am going to let people down that need me and fail to be the hands & feet. But i need me. My kids need me and i have a real habit of giving out more energy than i actually have and burning out completely. So, although its extremely uncomfortable and honestly im a little miffed, i LOVE the recovery meeting, but baseball, honestly, not so much….thats another long story with very deep childhood roots with a lot of shame and guilt wrapped around it. A part of me feels cheated and angry but i have to listen to the Holy Spirit telling me this is just a season, my boys are my ministry right now. And in this present moment it is important to them that im at their games and tournaments. I know God is teaching me balance and it wont always be this way. The words of my sisters, including you, helped me to say no today to something that i want to do and love to do but i just dont have the energy. My tank is empty!!

  354. Jessica Morales

    I have a hard time saying “no” for a few different reasons. I think I’d like to think that the root of my problem comes from reason #2 – I don’t want to miss out on something I’ll regret later. But when I really examine my heart, I realize that the root of the issue is much more selfish than that. I have a hard time saying “no” because I want to be one of the people who knows what’s going on. When someone says, “Oh how was _____,” I want to be the one to answer, or at least be able to add to the conversation. I’m sure that I could psychoanalyze myself all day long to figure out WHY I have this need, but I really think it’s just because I want to feel important. So I don’t say “no” when I need to, then I get to know everything that’s going on, AND i get to complain about how busy I am and feel EVEN MORE important.

  355. Michelle

    I am a manager at an independent supervised living home and I find myself having to say no a lot to put boundaries in places for the ladies I work with. I was a people pleaser but living here I have learned that saying no can be good for me and them. Sometimes yes can be detrimental. Maybe God wants to teach them patience. Maybe I need to not be available so they will turn to God instead of man. Saying no can be for the benefit of the other person. It may not have anything to do with me.

  356. Marsha Jackson

    I think reason #5 is a huge one for a lot of women: 5. Means we aren’t as capable or nice as the people who say yes.
    Women tend to compare themselves to other women which always results in “I’m not good enough,”. Satan has a field day with this lie. If he can make us believe we’re not good enough then he knows we won’t be effective. His agenda is always defeat and rendering us hopeless and helpless. The comparison trap is an ugly abyss to fall into. One that can be very hard to climb out of. Realizing the truth that we are all unique daughters of the King is essential to forward movement. God has blessed each of us uniquely and beautifully by His own perfect design. Therefore we should NEVER want to be like anyone else. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made. Therefore we are good enough. In fact by his mighty power we are GREAT!

  357. Holly M.

    I am a people pleaser by nature and also a take charge kind of person. I run a women’s ministry at my church and I have a family at home. I have always been the “go to girl” for anything that needed to get done. Over the last few years I was starting to do things not at the level of expertise that I once did, because I was just not saying no! I have since started to prioritze my life and it has made a big difference. The other thing I have started to do, is when I ask someone to do something for me (work or personal), I always tell them it is ok if they need to say no. It will not affect our relationship at all. I ask them to pray about it for a few days or up to a week (depending on what the task is) and then I call them back to follow up. I always try to give them an honest way to decline, so they do not feel bad or have to make up a lie, worrying that they could hurt my feeltings or damage our relationship. I have been told that it has been very freeing for people to hear that and it made an impact on how they will handle these types situations with others in the future.

  358. Michelle Eigemann

    I think one reason we have such a hard time saying “no” is simple, we like to get what we want. We don’t like hearing someone tell us no to something we want so we have that dread of telling someone else no. I found myself saying yes to the requests of others that ended up putting me in situations that later led to resentment. I started asking myself questions like “would you want someone to say yes to you out of obligation or guilt”? I’ve gotten so good at saying “NO” that sometimes that word just flies out of my mouth without even thinking and often times I’ll need to say,”sorry honey of course you can have a glass of water” all kidding aside I love to help others out and will do so whenever I can and I hope others appreciate an honest no instead of a guilt ridden sure I can do …

  359. Heather

    Sometimes for me it can be a fear that the person asking will think less of me. Also if someone is asking me to do something in the realm of Christian service there can often be the thought that this must be God asking me so if I say no it is like saying no to him.

  360. Jane

    Saying ‘no’ means I don’t care about the person or the event. I have too many ‘me’ things on my platter which means that I’m ‘selfish.’ I think these feelings came from my upbringing which taught that people wanted to take from you – they didn’t want to give to you.

  361. Karen M

    Saying No can sometimes make me think I am an uncaring Christian that does does not walk the way Jesus wants me to or it shows selfishness. This is extremely hard with adult children that are not walking with God and keep asking you to help them even though they are not helping themself. Actually hard with any person where it seems like they just want handouts. Really causes you to pray and seek Gods wisdom on what and when to say no or yes.

  362. Laurie

    I think that when I say no it is the same as saying “You are not as important to me as the thing I have to do that is making me say no…homework, work, taking care of me…especially when I have to say no to babysitting my grandson or spending time with my family. Guilt…guilt…guilt.

  363. Renee' L. Ford

    In the past I struggled with the feeling of “If I say no, I am rejecting the person makng the request or i am discounting their idea/request as unimportant.” Age/growth/learning about healthy boundries have all helped me to say no without feelings of guilt.

  364. Robyn Tate

    I used to have a hard time saying no because I LOVE helping others out and doing a lot of different things. One time I remember wanting to go downtown with our outreach ministry to distribute blessing bags and water to the poor and homeless…but the Lord told me no. I didn’t take that “no” very well and totally got my lip poked out about it, because by golly giving to the poor is a “good thing” right? But the problem is I often take care of everyone else and but don’t take care of myself. God has shown me though that in order to be more in a position to help others I NEED to take care of myself better. I need to fill myself up so that I am in a position to pour myself out to others….

    There are many people that God has used to help me grow in this but one of the most influential has been Dr. Henry Cloud and his “Boundaries” book…and I really loved Unglued and the encouragement from Proverbs31 ministries 🙂

    Praying God’s blessing and wisdom on you and your new book!

  365. Barbara deBeer

    I grew up realizing early on that if I ever said “no” to my mom, I would be ignored for days at a time So what do a small child do? If you want affection and/or approval, you do what you dislike, and like what you hate. It’s so ingrained, that I still struggle saying no. And I turned sixty one yesterday.

  366. Wendy

    My first thought: If we say “no” the requestor is going to take it as a negative reflection on them. Rather than potentially hurt someone else’s feeling, we hurt ourselves in the process.

    Personally, I think saying “no” is often equivalent to saying “I can’t”. 🙂

  367. Deb H.

    I don’t say YES very often….but, also, I do not say NO often either. I have found that at the time that I say yes, I am enthused and excited about the upcoming event (etc)…but, when the time comes to do, or go, or involve or whatever….I am no longer in the “excited YES mood.” So, because of that I am more careful in either saying YES or saying NO. sometimes when I have said no, I then regret not going, doing, etc., and feel that I have “missed out’ on something….ssssoooooo, at this time in my life I mostly say, “I’ll think about it”. I then will think and pray about the situation and make my choice of YES or NO. Usually my choice will be satisfactory to me and others involved.

  368. Mel

    Hmmm…this is good. Now I can’t wait for your book! 🙂

    I’m way too much of a people-pleaser…I didn’t say it was right; it’s me and definitely a part of “me” that I’m working on. I can’t stand to hurt someone’s feelings, and I often feel that by saying “no” I am telling that person they aren’t important to me. Potentially, that’s rooted in my extreme, ENFP personality type, too…though I don’t let people know my feelings are hurt, it DOES hurt to be told no and feel that bit of rejection, even if it’s nothing personal. And it really is, almost always, nothing personal. 😉

  369. Jodi Bailey

    I think the hardest thing for me about saying no is the fear of a missed opportunity- no matter how big or small. Missing an opportunity to meet new people, cross paths, or learn something new can be hard.

  370. Susan

    This is not on point, exactly…but have you ever thought–in a relationship, the one who says “no” wins (or gets their way)? Think about it…”Do you want to go to a movie?” If the answer is “no”, then WE don’t go. “Let’s have a baby!” –NO, –then, we don’t have a baby. No can be a controlling word that halts discussion and determines the actions of others. Before we say “NO”, we need to think of whether we’re using the word to control others or if compromise is possible to create a win/win situation.

  371. Kathy North

    Anytime I say “yes” to something, I am saying “no” to something else. I try to weigh the demands on my time wisely.

  372. denise

    It is a little harder for me to say no to family, but I see them so infrequently that it is not an issue. As far as church or social commitments, I have told myself that my “NO” will give God the opportunity for someone else to say “YES.” If the same people keep doing the same work, someone who would like to do something but is too afraid to ask, may never get asked to participate.

  373. Alisa

    I have difficulty saying no for many reasons. Always afraid of letting people down, I’m a person that doesn’t like to make waves. Some might think I have a need for approval(so everyone likes me if I say yes?).
    Most of the time its just because I don’t like to disappoint. Oh no I might very well be in need of approval.

  374. Lis Gray

    I struggled so badly with saying ‘no’. I didn’t want to let others down, I didn’t want to let God down. If I was asked, it was always ‘yes’. Then my world fell apart when my husbands health deteriorated with a prolonged time of hospitalization (including Critical Care Unit) and 18 months of recovery at home at the same time as caring for an elderly housebound mother and home schooling my two daughters and attending to a busy toddler. I had to pull-out of all the busyness of my church commitments. I was hurt by the seemingly indifferent attitude of others. Everyone asked after my husband, and said they were praying, but no one offered practical assistance. I had worked myself into a self imposed corner of ‘capable, able, single-handedly, independently, reliably’ coping with all things. Worst of all I knew how to respond in the affirmative, but didn’t know how to voice my own need for help. Since then I have had to humble myself and realize that I cannot deal with everyone’s needs, and that by trying to, I am actually more of a hindrance. First – to that person – maybe I have taken away the opportunity that God wanted to present to them to encourage them to step out or step up, or simply rely on Him more. Second – I have taken away the opportunity for others to be asked and maybe in doing so, stopped them stepping into a calling. I know longer run full-tilt at the requests that may come my way. I use the response – ‘I need to think about that first, I’ll get back to you.’ And as I go away to think about the request, I am praying for Gods response first.

  375. Kathie Barr

    I have a hard time telling people NO, because I don’t want to disappoint them, or let them down. Maybe it’s the obligation part of being a friend, and trying to always be there if they need me, because I have friends that are like that for me. Friends that would always go that extra mile to help me, do something for me, or just be there. But now as I’m getting older, it’s a bigger problem because I want more “God time”. When I’m so busy I don’t have that time..so I’m making a special effort to learn to say NO, so I can have that time, and also more time to read my Bible. I must confess, I didn’t actually make the choice, my body did. I used to go, go go, and then one day, I became so exhausted and my body wracked with pain, I came to an abrupt halt, as Fibromyalgia hit me hard. I had no choice then, I had to learn to say No. Has it hurt some friendships? Yes. But I have gained a new set of friends, most who understand that I just can’t always make those committments, and I may have to cancel if it’s a high Fibro day. But it’s also been a blessing, because my walk with God has become much stronger!

  376. Lisa

    I’ve learned to say no FOR my family. I’ve seen far too many ladies overdoing things for everyone else, meanwhile missing time and important events with their own family. It is important to help out others, absolutely, but there has to be a balance.

  377. Peggy Porter

    Saying no did not come easy for me. But something amazing happened a few years ago when I turned 60. First thing was I realized I no longer had to pretend to know your name, I simply could call everyone “dear”, “honey” or “sweetie” and it was totally accepted. Then I discovered the word “NO”. I soon discovered the world would not implode if I uttered the word. My children would not cease to love me. Church would continue and the nursery would be manned. Fund raisers would still raise money. Rooms would still be cleaned, friends would continue to seek me out, blood banks would continue to find blood. It opened up a whole new world where I was free to let my yes be yes and my no be no. Imagine my shock when I finally discovered “No” is not a sin. Wow…seriously….No is allowed and many times it is the best and most needed response. Some of the unforseen benefits in my life: My children have learned to budget their money. Friends have learned they too can volunteer. The church has found out others are willing if just give the opportunity and on and on it goes. I will continue to say “No” when needed which makes my “Yes” so much more enjoyable!

  378. Debra

    Can relate. While I have come a long way in saying”no” missing out on something & comparing myself to someone else are the hardest for me. In my attempt to say “yes” to God, I have to constantly guard against getting that mixed up with saying yes to “all” the opportunities “to do” that come across my path. Like you saying yes to writing a book, that I’m sure is God, just saying yes to leading a class at church means saying no to some fun social things and some good works for me. The more I keep connected to the Lord the more peace I have in saying yes or no.

  379. Jennifer Saucer

    I have trouble saying no because when I do, it feels like I have a billboard hanging over my head announcing to the world that “No, I am just not capable of doing that for you. I am not talented enough, smart enough or able to use any time-management skills to make your needs a priority!” Saying no is equivalent to “I am a failure.”

  380. Ahila Prabu

    Exploring my heart, I found the simple answer; I don’t want to say no, just because I am so proud to do so. It is hard for me to admit that I am not in control of everything. Even though every single day with every single tasks, time and again our savior reminding us that we cannot control everything, we as sinful creatures desperately want to control every different aspect of our lives. It is my ego that is strong, that I refuse to expose my weakness by saying no, or I need help. Other times it is my internal desire to just do things that is not a priority now, both for me or for GOD, and this is the result of sin in us, like Paul saying in Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”. So, humbleness and self-control is the key to saying no, and staying in that decision without guilt or wavering.

  381. Melissa H.

    My biggest problem with saying no is that I worry about what people will think of me. I find myself trying to justify my “no” with explanations and then I wonder if people think I am just making excuses. I wish I could just let my no be no and move on without feeling guilty for trying to maintain my sanity.

  382. Laura

    My husband has made the comment that I’ve “never met a sign up list I didn’t love.” OUCH! Can you say, I find saying “no” challenging?
    One reason that I struggle with saying no – Luke 12:48! God has given me SO much- I have an amazing family – husband, kids and parents. They all encourage me! I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children so I feel burdened to say yes and give back.
    Only two things have helped me with the burden/addiction to “yes”!
    I realized that I am the only wife my husband has, I am the only mama that my kids have. Only I can fulfill those God given roles. If I don’t do those jobs, who will? I have to say no to things that interfere with those roles.
    Secondly, I have had so many volunteer disasters when I’ve said yes to things that are not a fit with my gifts and talents. For example, if I’m asked to help with decorations, think not Southern Living centerpiece, think weeds in a vase! Learning to say no to everything that does not match my God given abilities has helped me avoid stress and disasterous results!
    Thanks for addressing this unique Christian women struggle!

  383. Nicole T.

    I think we all know a “super” human, hero of the faith, that always seems to have time to get everything in their own life done as well as anything someone else may need. (Oh, and they also never forget a birthday, holiday ect…) Especially as women, we tend to set June Cleaver expectations of ourselves and think that people won’t want to be our friend, love us the same or we will miss out on an epic moment if we dare utter that most unholy word….”NO”. When really it’s just my own insecurity lurking and making me think these things. No, is so often my worst enemy, when really it could be my best friend. No, would give me time to rest and be with myself and God sometimes or just give me time to enjoy the sweet husband and little girl God has blessed me with. I can’t wait for the new book!

  384. Sandra Libby

    I totally agree with all of the statements and have come a long way with being able to say “no”. I grew up where you always helped everyone all the time and you were at church whenever the doors were opened. It was very hard to break that mentality and learn that it was okay to say “no”. So to add to your statements,
    We think saying “no” is:
    …not the best thing we can do.
    When in fact it IS the best thing we can do. Many things are good for us to take part in but they are not always the best choice for us. But saying “no” is sometimes the best choice we can make for our families. I have 4 children and they are still young so I am glad I learned this early on because what a blessing and freedom it is to be able to “no” when saying “yes” would not be the best.
    Thank you for posting this wonderful reminder for moms and wives!

  385. Carol

    Lysa, Saying no for me pretty much falls under numbers:

    3. Isn’t the Christian thing to do.
    4. Will produce negative lingering effects and awkwardness in this relationship.

    Especially when the request is to do something “good” I have the hardest time saying no. I want to help. I want to be a good Christian. And I want to be liked. So I’ll agree to do something I don’t have time to do, and something else suffers.

  386. Stacey Rodman

    Saying no makes me less of a woman. I’m a “real” woman if I do it all, aren’t I?

  387. Phyllis Nichols Gutierrez

    I struggle with saying no because I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings and because I have more time than others since I do not have children (my son is 29) and I am a widow. But I do have elderly parents who need my time and attention, as well as my home and son. Now, I am finding that I have to say no because being too busy is starting to take the joy out of my life and take time away from family.

    Also, I take pride in doing a good job and I have had to really look at whether I am doing things because of the joy I get in serving or is my pride guiding me. Therefore, I have been lifting all requests up in prayer before I make any commitments. Letting God be my guide is helping me to step down from committees that I am on and say no to other requests that I know would

    Psalm 46:10 ( Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.) is constantly in my thoughts these days as I work to relieve myself of excess activities and commitments. With God’s guidance I know I can do this.

    Thank you for writing this book. It is something that most women need to read and study.

    Have a blessed evening. I will be praying for you as you continue to write.

  388. W Douglas

    I think as women, most of just have a difficult time being honest with each other and ourselves. Those “no’s” make us feel vulnerable in some way and we fear that our no may be taken as a rejection of the person. We have to be wiling to receive a no and accept it as an honest answer and not as an identity marker so that we can also give the no without feeling guilty or fearing what others may think. It is so hard to escape the “shoulds” which tend to keep us under the law instead of under grace. Thanks for addressing this.

  389. Beth Barham

    Saying “no” makes me feel inferior. I always push myself and want others to see me as a hard worker. If I say “no”, others may view me as lazy.

  390. Linda

    It’s hard for me to say “no” because…I’m a pastor’s wife. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong; we have a wonderful congregation who loves God and loves us. But. There is an expectation. For my husband…and by default for me…. How can the pastor & family say “no” to one family’s party, but say “yes” to another? How can the pastor’s wife NOT be involved in the kids ministry, the visitation ministry, the prayer ministry, the youth ministry, NOT fix meals for the sick & NOT be ready to host people in the home? When the expectations from others are so high – and the status of your husband’s job depends on you NOT saying “no” – you find yourself saying “yes” A LOT more than what is healthy for you – and you just “suck it up, buttercup” and pray that God will provide the strength.

    • Amy

      I can completely identify with you, Linda, and as a pastor’s wife also, I find myself in the same places as you. I never realized the expectations placed upon pastor’s wives until I became one. Then add a full time job and 2 kids on top of that and it’s a recipe for constant pressures. My prayers are with you!

  391. Jen

    It’s hard to say no when they are all things I LIKE to do! I have 3 little ones at home, and I have a ton of interests and things I like to do. Realistically, in this season of life, there is a finite amount of time I have to say yes. When I say yes too much, those three little people? They feel it most. I love nothing more than to spend a whole day playing with my kids, eating snacks, playing in the sprinkler, reading books, singing silly songs, but when I forget how important NO is, those fun things get shoved by the wayside for things that are much less important than those three lives. Step awayyyyyyy from saying yes.

  392. Amy

    My inability to say “no” seems to come from one of two places, and sometimes both. I am a pleaser and have struggled with pleasing all of my life. I want people to like me and know that they can count on me so badly that I say “yes” so that they will think positively of me, sometimes causing strain on my family and my own sanity. Secondly, I have felt the dark cloud of discouragement in the past, especially in places of ministry or service, and can’t stand the thought that my “no” may contribute to someone else’s discouragement. So, I say “yes” while inside I am screaming “NOOOOOO!”

    I am ever so slowly learning to apply Galatians 1:10 and ask myself if I am trying to please God or man when a situation presents itself. I have to check my motives to see who I am really aiming my efforts toward, and sadly, often it isn’t God. That’s when I should say no.

  393. Mechele

    Sometimes we equate “no” with being the bad guy. Of course, we don’t like being the bad guy. What we need to base our decisions on, whether the answer is yes or no; should be what gives us peace in our heart. Psalm 85:8 “I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people & to His saints;…” Yes or no isn’t really the issue; what is God’s will is!

  394. Kerrie B

    I have a hard time saying “no” for 2 reasons. 1st- I don’t want to disappoint someone. I have always felt that if someone has asked me to participate/help it is because they appreciate me and I am afraid to let them down. 2nd- If I say yes to something I feel that I am showing the world that I can balance family, my home, and these other activities. Above all I want to prove to myself that I can handle it all even though I already know I can’t. I am constantly overcommitting myself and then I suffer from anxiety attacks. It is a horrible, vicious cycle!

  395. Tiffany

    So glad I am not the only one, who feels this way. I have a horrible time of saying No. Sometimes everything within me screams no, yet my mouth says the words yet without me even realizing it. It happens over and over, day after day and then I keep wondering what happened. I get ask to do more I work, so I end up working 80 hours a week, for some reason I think to myself I can do it others- have families and children. I am not married nor do I have kids, so it’s okay if I go in early and come home late. I feel guility if I even try to say the words no when I have other plans- because I worry what they will think about me. Also, sometimes I feel that when I start to so no, because I really can’t handle any more, that will lead me to being weak and not good enough.

  396. Jana de Leon

    Will make us seem like we don’t care about helping the person asking or a good cause.

  397. Kimberly

    Yes yes yes, I am always saying yes. I am trying to learn that saying no is not bad, it is OK. This past year I have been learning a lot about this. I am a stay at home mom and everyone asks me things to do and I seem to always say yes or I will try to make it work. But I am learning when I am saying yes to everyone else then I am STRESSED OUT !!!! My husband always asks do we always have to bring something, do something, or volunteer. Don’t get me wrong my husband helps and doesn’t mind serving but I think he sees me as someone that always serves and never let’s anyone serve me. I am sure I have missed out on a lot of blessings from not letting others serve me. I think of how I feel when I get to do for others in need, or just needing a friend, an ear, or a prayer.
    I do struggle with saying no all the time but recently I was talking to a girlfriend and she knew I was struggling with telling people “no” so she brought it to my attention this way. Who can I tell NO to myself, my husband and my kids. Why because I live with them and they will always be here. Right 🙂 but in reality if I say Yes to everyone else them MY FAMILY is really the ones making the sacfrice. Why do I say yes to everyone else and say no to them. Can we make cookies NO! Can we play a board game, No because I am staying so busy by saying yes to everyone else and one day my kids will be grown and time will pass by and I will wonder why I didn’t stop and play when I had the chance or stop and kiss my husband when he came in the door instead of running around doing everything for everyone else. We have to remember that our family is our first ministry to God say yes to them more often than do others because time does fly by before you know it.

  398. Chantal Dube

    Saying ‘no’ to me used to make me feel as though I was weak and showing a sign of weakness as a young faithful woman of God just seemed like a bad idea. Especially when saying no to people at Church. You somehow feel like you are saying ‘no’ to God when you say ‘no’ to another Christian. But I have learned that God doesn’t want me to be a slave to Him but instead have an intimate relationship with Him. First comes God than my family so if saying ‘yes’ is going to put a damper in my personal time with God or take away time needed with my family than it suddenly becomes a sign of strength! I no longer have an issue with saying ‘no’ because it means I have taken the time to prayfully find a balance in my life. ‘No’ is my new ‘yes’ to God!

  399. Cyndi

    For me it comes down to pleasing God and pleasing man. I ask this question of myself when faced with a decision. Am I seeking approval from the person asking? and do I have fear of rejection? Many times my answer is yes I do want their approval and I do have fear. Only prayer and scripture renew my mind in these circumstances. God has shown me that saying yes or no quickly is not usually a good idea.” I need to get back to you,’ is a good response for me so that I have time to seek the spiritual wisdom and discernment needed.

  400. Marilyn

    While raising my children, I rarely said no to anyone,having been raised to be a “doer.” Only after my children had major problems due to what I felt was my own lack of being there for them did I realize NO is not a bad word.

  401. Mary T

    Lysa…for many years the word “no” was barely in my vocabulary, but I used every “yes” as an opportunity to learn and love, so therefore no regrets! Oops finally snuck one in…I occasionally say no when I know that saying yes will be the straw that broke the camel’s back! When I say no, I usually feel bad for a very short time and eventually let it go and give it up to God! When I say yes, my heart is filled with the Holy Spirit! I try to listen to and heed God’s Word…when I do…it’s all good!

    • Ruby Armour

      Mary, I agree with you. Just trust God and remember His love and guidance. Follow Him. That just spoke to me.

  402. Brylie Carlson

    As I go about life interacting with different circles of people all day, I am seeking to get to know them, their story & how can I love them through Christ. I truly am interested in who they are & why. I want them to feel important & comfortable.
    If I have to say no to investing time & energy in them, their kids, or their needs, then I feel like I’m saying you are not important enough for me to carve out time for. Or essentially, you are not one of my (top) go to people.
    But often times, by default I am telling my husband & children that they are not my priority by overextending my emotional & physical investment in everyone else.
    I am constantly asking myself, are my priorities in order: God, spouse, kids, others?

  403. Carla Newsom

    For me sometimes it boils down to pride. I mean, aren’t we women are supposed to be able to do it all and then some? Stay skinny, be president of the PTA, teach VBS, keep everyone’s underwear clean, cook organic, homemade meals, and coach soccer teams…etc…. It seems our culture has inundated us with the idea that we are supposed to be superheroes carrying every load we can and if we say no… that makes us weak.
    So, I believe for me personally, pride gets in the way. ??? Anybody else???

    • Mandy Barr

      Carla, you are so right about the expectations that society still places upon us as women. In southern culture, especially, I think you feel even more pressure to say “yes” to everything because so many of us are raised to be gracious and giving, and saying “no” is deemed as unattractive. Older generations believe that it reflects poorly upon your family and Lord forbid that someone tell your Mama that you weren’t being agreeable about something. lol.
      I’ve learned the hard way that saying “yes” to everything has led me to having anxiety attacks and unnecessary stress in my life. Trying to live up to everyone’s expectations can leave you feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed.
      To this day, as Carla put it, pride can get in my way and I have to consistently remind myself that while I want to be superwoman, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He doesn’t want us to be so busy that we lose sight of what His true purpose is for us.

    • Rebecca Caldwell

      I’ve never really put pride into the equation but thank you for that revelation. Pride is definitely one of my biggest problems in saying no. I hate the word weak and never want that to be term that describes me and in reality that’s not something to be ashamed of at all, but rather something to boast in, something to be content in. To be content in our weakness. . .

      2 Corinthians 12:9-10
      English Standard Version (ESV)

      9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  404. Ruby Armour

    Dear Lysa,
    I think that sometimes we think these things are true, and sometimes some of them are. But some of the time they’re just excuses we hold in our minds because we want to say yes. I think I sometimes feel pressured into saying yes; like if I say no, the person will look down on me, or I’ll just miss something amazing. So I think you’re so right.

  405. Tina

    Saying “No” has always been one of my hardest things to overcome, people would say to me, “But you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone else”. I once read somewhere along my journey of readings, make sure you do as much as you can for others and don’t worry about yourself because God will take care of you. So that statements pulls on my heart every time I want to say, “No”. So now I become the, “Do Do girl” 🙂 Do this, Do that, take this and take that. And if you are a Do Do Girl, the first time you say, “No” that is when you become all the feelings you list, rude, negative and then the person asking thinks, “hmm she has become rude and unhelpful, or does she not like me because she says yes to everyone else”.
    A Solution for me was to make everyone aware, in a nice way, I am changing my ways, or trying to. Repeat to them what my husband reminds me of when I become that “Do Do Girl , “Honey remember charity starts in the home “. Sometimes we have a tug a war about how much is too much but he gives me the awareness and the strength to say no when I need too. This is still a long process for me but I am getting better. My friend gave me a kitchen towel that is hanging right now on my stove that says, “Stop me before I volunteer again!” Nice settle reminder.
    I have really learned that I need to look into the why a yes? Does the Yes fit in to the right intentions, is it me and what I stand for. Then I pray to God and ask him to show me the way. He will help us make the right choices when to say Yes or No. This verse speaks to me in understanding and praying about what to do.
    “For the Lord Gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”. Proverbs 2:6-11 NIV

  406. Lynn

    Heard this at a conference …….. if you never say no, what does your yes mean? I get caught up in community volunteer projects. I’m single, retired, capable, and it gives me pleasure to help people, fill a need, do a good job, feel needed, etc, etc, etc. But I’ve found (due to an accident) that there are others who can do the same job just as well, if not better than I do. Now I can be more selective with my ‘yes’ although it sometimes means a lot more work than I anticipated. I’m currently involved in a festival and I’m looking forward to the week after!!!! Gonna have to use NO more often…….after all, I am retired!

  407. Karryn

    Why is NO so agonizing? I think because feminine guilt runs so deeply within our veins frequently having the starring role in our lives God looks at the heart and is our yes really a blessing to anyone when the yes is so disingenuous? Things I continue to ask myself…

  408. Renee

    Sometimes I mistakenly think that saying no will make me or someone else miss out on a blessing God has for me or for them…or that God will not get the glory He wanted me to give Him in that area. Sounds real spiritual, but when it detracts from my family’s needs or my relationship time with God, or even with having a little down time, it’s really not.

  409. Karen

    Sometimes we say yes because we’re looking for acceptance and gratitude from the person. Maybe it will make us feel important or feel part of an in crowd. We should be strong in ourselves and only look for gratification from God. Love reading your stuff Lisa,

  410. Amanda B

    My #1 priority, especially in this stage of life with seven young kids, is serving the Lord, my husband and my kids. Guilt from having to say no to outside requests or activities doesn’t plague me anymore. In fact, it makes me smile. Making the right decision does that to a person.

  411. Antoinette

    I feel if I say no people will think I’m heartless, and they will no longer see me as a person who they can count on. It also makes me fear I won’t have anyone there for me when I’m in need .

  412. LS

    What came to me after reading your devotional and your question was. Satan uses guilt to get us to say yes instead of no to keep us too busy to do God’s work. Our prayer time, quiet time with God, bible reading, families, ministries, and outreach the things God has placed upon our hearts to do. Yet I get sidetracked to do everything but what is in God’s plan. I of course mentioned our time with God first and then the other things God has placed in our lives. Also, pray about these opportunities and God will lead you to where He wants you to be, He will help you make the time, give you the desire, and walk with you to the end.

  413. Sarah Merritt

    To many yes’s makes a person so busy that when God speaks I ‘m not listening
    to the bigger plan that he has for me. I pause, and breathe and exhale with a prayer
    asking Him if this is really where He wants me to be!

  414. Michele Barrows

    My parents are in their 70’s and my Mom’s health is severe. I brought them to the area where we live, due to their health issues. They have been 5 miles away for almost 3 years now. Saying “No” for me, means I am letting my parents down. Still trying to get approval from my Dad (Stepdad who adopted me when I was 8) and still trying to make it up to my Mom for being an unrully teenager. Getting Cancer 15 months after they arrived, slowed my “Yes’s” down a bit, but I am finding the “No’s” are starting to get more infrequent and the “Yes’s”…..well, they come and resentment soon follows. It’s an unhealthy pattern for sure.

  415. Deb

    Depending on the “ask”, if I’m unsure, I’ll tell them I’ll pray about it. Believe it or not, even among believers, they sometimes have a strange look on their face like “why aren’t you saying an immediate yes?” At times, God prompts me with a yes, sometimes no, & others, pray. If it’s a no, again they look at me “funny” & can’t believe I could possibly say no to this great opportunity to serve, working for the kingdom. A wise friend told me “Need does not constitute call.” That has helped me realize that while there are many things I could say yes to, when it’s not God’s leading, I’m keeping someone who should be saying yes from stepping into what God is tugging at their heart. Sometimes saying yes is inconvenient or the enemy opposes but when it’s a yes because God has called me to it, it fuels my heart!

  416. Andrea

    Isn’t it true that we just want people to like us?
    Or rather, we don’t want anyone to ‘not’ like us.
    How we look to others is the ultimate driving force of most of what we do.
    It’s not always a bad thing, it’s just that if our love for God is not the most important thing in our lives, it’s all a waste.

  417. Bridget

    I personally think we as woman are scared of the question of can you help or would you do this for me. I know I am, I try to avoid people when they need help and I am ashamed to say that but I feel if I cant give them a answer right away I should stay away until I know the answer. That sounds odd but I get so nervous to answer and feel pressure to answer immediately or I would be frowned upon for not saying yes, so I better be ready for a good no answer that is God approved. I mean who cares that I have 3 children and am a stay at home wife with a tight budget who never has gas and on top of that have MS and get overwhelmed and stressed very easily. To make things worse I feel that people will be saying why didn’t she volunteer even if the answer that I give is after lots of prayer. Oh did I say my Husband is not a christian to make it even more difficult in my volinteer at Church or saying yes to anything that I think pleases God. please dont get me wrong he is understanding to a point I do some, but then I get dont you think you are there to much (church) volunteering. Prayer for daily life that I am dong what is pleasing God is all I can say there is nothing else I can do but pray I am pleasing him. Nothing matters but that even the feeling of what others think but it is hard to remember that when you are being asked.
    I dont know if this is a answer or a let things out but thank you Lysa for topics like this it reminds us that we all are human with the same difficulties but we just dont speak them.

  418. Kathy

    I can relate to so many of those… The one that popped for me is that it may seem rude to say no to someone. I have to remind myself that everyone has to be allowed to freedom to prioritize and say no when they feel it’s necessary. It’s not saying no, it’s HOW you say no that matters. If we’re afraid of appearing rude, why not just stop and ask God to help us reply in a loving way to the person making the request of us. After all, He does love us both!

  419. Denise W.

    First thing that came to my mind was in John 11 :1-44
    Mary and Matha let Jesus know about Lazaras . Jesus never exaclly said no he wouldn’t go there , he just came a little later and performed a beautiful miracle. God promised All things work together for good to them that love God . God knows our physical limits , and somtimes we don’t . We also some of us are people pleasers and fear if we say no someone won’t like us. “In our busy busy tooo busy lives we at times get caught up in everything. If we aren’t sure about something we should pray about it and let God lead .

  420. Julie

    I say yes to so many things. Yes to helping friends, yes to helping at school, yes to helping people I don’t even know. I was brought up to think that it was your right or duty as a Christian to help others. But somewhere along the way my “yeses” turned more into burdens than joys at helping others. We are in the process of moving to another state and sad as it is, I look forward to leaving a lot of people behind because I have said “yes” to them for so long that I feel like it is my duty to continue to say yes. I know God is really working on me at this time in my life to start thinking about my answer to commitments before I speak. I don’t want to stop helping others, but am tired of feeling my help is abused by others and that leads to my frustration and the “joy” of serving is no longer present. I know your book will help bless me and give me the strength to start saying no to the things that God wants me to decline. Lysa, your book Crave, along with the strength of the Holy Spirit, helped me to lose 16 pounds so easily. I was blessed by it and blessed by giving my eating habits over to the Lord. Thank you!

  421. Amy

    Preach it sister!!!! I need to figure this out in a big way…. I have 6 kids, and I’m not the type that planned on that or is cut out for big family life. I lead mission trips to Haiti, my girls are into their horses and my boys play travel soccer. I just started a small business and it is what I’ve always wanted to do but holy heck. These are just the extras that go along with the crazy of raising a big family and being involved around the community. Something has to give and it is my family that bears the brunt of my chaos. I heard recently a saying” the good is the enemy of the best” and it really hit me. I just need to discern what is not the “best”. I live in your area and go to Elevation, you and your tranparency are such an inspiration to me! Love you, can’t wait for this book, so get on it, I need it!!!!

  422. Loni Traylor Garcia

    If I say no, am I indicating that I’m not capable of doing what you’re asking me? Am I indicating that their project is not worthy of my involvement? Will I be perceived as self centered and not a team player?

    Sadly, I must confess those are thoughts that I’ve had when people have declined to help me when asked. OUCH!!!! I’m so glad God hasn’t given up on me!!!

  423. Sally

    Years ago, a wise Christian mentor told me that “the need is not necessarily the call.” There will always be things that need doing and organizations requesting volunteers. That does not mean that I am the one being called to fill the need. If I say “Yes” to something without knowing that it’s my calling, I may actually be taking away the blessing of the person who is called to it! That has really helped me to filter through many needs. However, there is no doubting that I do suffer from “helium hand!” It naturally wants to raise when I hear there’s a need. I resist by remembering what that dear woman told me so long ago!!

  424. Sue

    No. This is something I struggle with. I have people in my life that use guilt, pressure, and just plain wear me down until no means ok. It usually means there is a discussion that leads me to exhaustion emotionally so I say yes. However, a good friend recently shared a life lesson with me. I am starting to apply it and it does work. When the pressure begins remember that someone else’s emergency does not make it my emergency…..unless I allow it.

  425. Robyn

    Not sure if this thought has been discussed in previous comments because I do not have time to read the 400 plus comments prior. Sorry….my son is graduating from high school tomorrow. Any way, sometimes I have a hard time saying “no” because I am afraid of what other people will think of me and also that I am not willing to “pull my part” of whatever needs to be done.

  426. Jacquline

    I learned a valuable lesson about “no.” I wanted to be involved at church at a time when a lot of the workers were giving up their positions. I found myself in three leadership positions, substitute Sunday School Teacher and on a committee. I was running around being so “busy” for God, that I neglected God and my family. My very young children were angry with me and I wasn’t being fed. Then I met with my good friend criticism! I have always hated for someone not to like me or be upset with me and tried to turn myself inside out to “fix” everything. It was a mess. I ended up hating my life, feeling guilty for neglecting God and my family. I fulfilled the year in these positions and then gave them all up with the exception of Children’s Church and substitute Sunday School Teacher. I would like to say this never happened again, but it did on a much smaller scale. Old habits are hard to break, but now that I am in college full time, volunteering at my children’s school and church, I have had to scale back to one position in each area. I am much calmer, at peace, and happier. Most importantly, I am not neglecting my heavenly Father. No is not a bad word.

  427. Jackie

    I agree with many of you. I am single and saying no cant be in my vocabulary because I have the time and I don’t have a family of my own. That’s what I figured because I am single I can’t say no ever right? I have a full time job with sometimes hours until 10pm. I serve in girls ministries and now my brother who was kicked out of in-laws house is living with me. I’ve been feeling so tired and overwhelmed lately. And I feel if I say no I am missing out possibly missing that chance to meet the husband that God has for me. Isn’t that just crazy??? I want to serve God without grumbling or feeling guilty.

  428. Jayne Smith

    How many times do we tack on the “I’m sorry, but I just have to say no.” , but really we aren’t sorry to say NO at all? I guess we mean sorry for you not to get our help, but honestly… I know that in many cases it is absolutely the best thing for my family and myself if I say no. This said, I know I must listen carefully and be in the right place in my walk with God that I don’t find myself saying “NO” to Him. I try hard to filter things to see if the same kind of request keeps coming in “my face” so to speak, then I pray about that one beyond asking God to just help me filter out what is good for me.

  429. Brenda Hall

    It has been hard for me to say No because I like to please. I like peace and order. I do not like to let people down who are depending on me. I feel as if I say NO to a request it means something wont get done and that will cause chaos or stress for someone so I have to say Yes. However, I am learning that saying YES to things I should say NO to ALSO causes stress and chaos for ME and that is not good. I am learning….to say…..NO!

  430. Amy

    I feel like if I say no that the person will think I don’t care about them or their issue or cause. I am often so worried about hurting someone feelings but I have learned that I need to weigh the costs. I am learning to judge things according to Gods word and how they will effect our family and our home life because next to God they are the most important thing to me.

  431. Rebecca Caldwell

    Saying “no” makes me feel weak and guilty. I have this thing that I struggle with; I call it the “superwoman complex”. The thought that I can’t do something for someone, especially when I know it’s something that is important, make me sick to my stomach. I feel like I’m letting them down. Or maybe it’s not even something important but it’s someone important to me then I hate to disappoint them or have them mad at me. Then there is this other little thing that I don’t like to talk about much, something that has just recently been revealed to me. Pride. It’s so ugly, isn’t it? The word itself makes me cringe, nonetheless, it’s real and it’s a BIG part into why I won’t say “no”. Why I take on things that are not mine to take on because someone else said no. My “superwoman complex” kicks in, I can do ANYTHING! I am strong, I am woman hear me roar! Watch out boys I’ll even be better than you! Yea I’m that girl. That girl that thinks I can “man handle” any task that is laid before me, probably because my dad left and I saw my mom struggle to do things on her own and I decided that would not be me, I would not struggle, I would not need help, I would be superwoman. So the word “no” for me essentially means I’m weak and let me just tell you that the word weak, is a word that I despise, one that I have vowed would never describe me, I’m a warrior, just call me Xena. But God’s word tells me to boast in my weakness, to be content in it because He is glorified; He is made strong through it! It is something that I am getting better at, sometimes I still take out my superwoman costume and put it on and walk around like I’m a woman of steel, and then God will whisper those words, “it’s ok to be weak, I created you with those weaknesses and they are perfect, they are there because without them you wouldn’t need me”. And in those moments I lay my pride down and I wear my weaknesses with a smile on my face knowing that when the time is right I’ll say yes, but until then it’s ok to say no.

  432. Kristen Jensen

    We see “No” as a “bad word” because that’s what society is teaching us. “No” seems like a selfish word. Only selfish people use that word to get their own way, right? “No” from a Christians perspective should be seen as a positive word that offers protection. We need to use the word “No”(like with our children) to protect them from harm, and we need to use the word “No” to protect ourselves from Satan attacking us. Using the word “No” leads to many positive outcomes and blessings! We must say “No” to Satan, and “Yes” to what the Lord has for us to make us more like Him!

  433. Heather

    The hard part about saying “no” is trying to figure out if you’re actually saying “no” to God! I struggle with saying “no” because I don’t want to ever turn down an opportunity or close a door that God may have opened. It seems better to say “yes” to something that may be from God, than to say “no” to something that may be from God. So why not say “yes” all the time! Such a struggle.

  434. eileen e

    I used to feel like I always had to say yes if I was asked to do something church related,because it just seemed like thats what your supposed to do.But I started dreading doing all those things and Have realized more and more lately that it doesnt have to be that way.There are some places we are called to serve and use our gifts but we dont have to do everything single thing we are asked.When I can determine if it’s something Im supposed to do it also feels right and I can find the joy in serving again and doesnt feel like a huge burden.Don’t get me wrong serving takes sacrifice but it doesnt feel burdensome when it’s what your supposed to do.

  435. eileen e

    When I say yes to something or someone else,it also means most likely saying no to someone or something else.And usually for me thats the closest people in my life,my husband and daughter.

  436. Kathy C.

    There was a time when I never said “yes”, then wondered why I didn’t know very many people in our small community. So I started saying yes, and met alot of great people! But then, it seems, that if you say yes too much, people begin to think “Well, let’s call Kathy, she always says yes” and don’t ever call others to give them a chance to also say yes. (This is something akin to what Sally said, above) I also believe that God created us to serve, but He also does not want us to be doormats. I agree with “LS”, Satan uses the guilt even when we are not supposed to do something. If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy!!!

  437. Katie

    I think, very simply, we all know how if feels to hear “no” and it’s not pleasant. So why would we want to make someone else feel that way? As women, we are so in touch with our feelings and are sensitive to the feelings of others. I think men have an easier time with saying no because they just aren’t as concerned with emotions as women are. Together we kind of balance each other.

  438. Julie

    I definitely agree with numbers 2 and 5. I realize both are selfish. First, I don’t like missing out on things because afterwards, everyone who was there will post their pictures on Facebook, tag each other, and “like” everything hundreds of times. It makes me feel so out of the loop. Never mind that the event itself may not have been as fun as the pictures made out to look. And of course I don’t want to be appear incapable of making time for certain events.. I like to appear perfect and capable all the time, to whomever is watching, whether in real life or on Facebook.

    And…God had been convicting me of this. Today, He revealed to me that I can’t hear His voice if I’m so busy trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The Spirit whispers, He doesn’t yell. I have to actively quiet the noises in my life in order to hear from Him. I’ve been doing for the last few months and it has been such a blessing. I don’t have crazy stories of camping or zip-lining, or going to shows and comedy clubs. But I thoroughly enjoy my prayer walks, Scripture meditations, journaling, accountability meetings with my prayer partner, and more. I love getting to know the Lord and hearing from Him every day. It really beats all those other things I used to strive for. And I still go out and have fun at times, but I do it within the confines of His will, and He richly blesses those experiences. And when I get home, I don’t rush to post everything on Facebook to make sure that all my friends see it and think of me as “cool.”

  439. Danielle

    For the longest time, I used to associate saying NO would end is being considered unreliable and not trustworthy. I felt that if I said NO to a request from family, friends, or especially at work-I would then be punished for my perceived lack of support and unwillingness to help others.

    I realize that I have read WAY too deep into the word NO for a very long time. I still catch myself saying YES just so I don’t start to worry about being judged or perceived as uncaring and unsupportive. But it truly is a daily struggle for me.

  440. Kristie

    When somebody at the school or work comes and ask for help. I always seem to say YES instead of thinking it out. This last year I have been going thru a major thing and dealing with things that most people could not deal with. I have learned to put my faith in God. My husband has also made changes that i thought i would never see. For the last month i realized there is to much on my plate and it is time to look at it and clean it up. So i did. I went back to some areas and people and just told them no and that I could not handle it right now. Some things i struggled with. I would say ” do i really have to give this up.” and something would come up that would make me realize yes i do.
    I have come to find out it is ok to say NO and I have recently realized it feels good to let go and know it is ok.

  441. Casey Bachus

    I have trouble saying no because I think people will judge me. I don’t have kids, and most of my friends do. I see them volunteering for stuff and think if they can do it with all of those kids, surely I can fit it into my schedule.

  442. Theresa Hofstetter

    After many years as a single mom, I married my best friend and brother in Christ four years ago. It took some time to get used to but I find it so helpful to say “I need to talk to Don about this.” It gives me a little breathing room to consider and he can often see what I cannot, when I am over extending myself or when something would not be in line with what God is doing in our lives right now. Often God speaks through him in helping me make decisions.

  443. Delilah

    I have been thinking about this same thing recently and think that you have hit the nail on the head as to why we don’t say “no” more often. I wish it would be easier to say “no”. Sometimes I want to say “no” but don’t then later wish I had. I have said “no” for the month of June because I need to focus on studying for an exam the end of the month. It’s a great feeling to not feel obligated.

  444. Lois

    The two items on your list really hit home….and I too, believe it’s because of pride. Saying no would mean that I could really miss out of something really fun and great! And of course, the ones that said yes have great stories to tell. I am also a people pleasing person, so saying no would make that person not like me. I am in need of people to like me. Lately I’ve learned to say no, to have some sanity to think of myself and my time. Going to a movie with the gals at Church would be so much fun. I realized that staying up to 9-10pm doesn’t make it easy for me to get up for work the next morning at 6am. The people pleasing is more difficult. But the times I do say no, I also have to make sure it’s not because I want to isolate, another personal defect.
    Thanks Lysa for something to think about. See you in St Paul, MN in October. I’m so excited!!

  445. Lindsay Warford

    I have a hard time saying “No” when there is a need that I have a strong gift or talent which would lend itself very helpful in addressing that need. If there’s no one else available to meet the need, I have a hard time letting the need continue to exist when the use of my talents/gifts could meet it. These are the only situations when I find myself having a hard time saying “No.” However, unfortunately, all too quickly I find myself stressed and overwhelmed. I know I shouldn’t have agreed to help meet the need, but then I remember if I wasn’t working so hard it would still be unmet… Or would it? I recognize that there’s a missing trust factor there. If I would only stop to pray before saying “Yes,” I’d be more likely to only say “Yes” to the needs God wants to use me to help meet. And not every single need my talents/gifts can be lent towards.

  446. Shila

    I’ve always had trouble with saying no. I believe it stems from growing up very insecure. I felt that if I told people “no” than they wouldn’t like me. As an adult I still find myself trying to “people please” and I think by being a Christian that sometimes people will take advantage of that as well. I’m learning more and more that if I say no it doesn’t mean people won’t like me and if they don’t like because I said no than they weren’t real friends anyhow. I have to prioritize, God, family, work, then everyone else. If it’s going to make a stressed-out, cranky Momma, then the answer is going to have to be a resounding “No”, whether they will like me or not!

  447. Patti Chriestenson

    We think saying no…

    * Will cause us to feel empty because now we can’t perform to gain acceptance.
    * Will cause pain since saying yes is often pain free.
    * Means we better have a good enough reason to justify saying no.
    * Means losing a part of who we are.

  448. Susie Burnett

    I feel like if I say no then people might think that I am rude and have better things to do with my time and I cant handle the bad things oher people might think of me!

  449. Kristin

    I heard someone say a long time ago, that if we always say “Yes”, we may just sometimes be taking a blessing away from someone who should have had that “Yes” answer.; that it can be selfish to aways say “Yes”. So when asked to do something, ususally outside of my family, I will pray about it first. Sometimes my answer is “Yes” and sometimes it is “No” and when it is no, I do not feel guilty about it, because I know God is going to do something for that someone else who said “Yes”. Her blessing is just around the corner:)

    • Kristin


  450. Rachael

    Hey Lysa,
    There are so many thoughtful comments and you have probably already heard all of this and seeing that the quote I am going to give is from a lady to are friends with you probably already know all this. But here it goes anyways,”Watch your Nos and your yeses will take care of themselves” -Ann Voskamp. I have the back and forth convo in my head almost every time I have to make a hard No to something great. I so want to be apart of whatever it is but I know although it is an awesome this or would be a great thing it isn’t the right thing. I am a doer and a pleaser which translates into a yes woman. I try to earn approval which gets me into a pit then I dig in that pit for a little while trying to get out then finally take Jesus by the hand to be rescued and normally have to go through the walk of shame to get out of the commitment that I shouldn’t have said yes to in the first place. When I try to win approval of God or others I truly miss out on what He has for me and normally everyone suffers. If I am honest I can pull of whatever I have said yes to but the cost to my family and to myself is always much greater than the reward.

  451. Maureen Flynn


    I think you hit all the reasons on the head. I am re-reading your book “What Happens When Women say Yes to God” and just finished the section on Satan’s gatekeepers, Acceptance and Rejection. I often don’t say no beause I fear what people will think of me, so I say yes and suffer the acceptance consequences. This ranges from feeling weak to anger at not doing what I felt in my heart. Then I may be resentful when it comes to doing whatever I said yes to. What a great ambassador of Jesus, eh? Not! If I say yes under rejection’s fears, that is even worse. I am putting far too much into what other people think and end up plain miserable because I have sold out. I spent 16 years on this path to God and I am all too aware of where I have come from. I purpose to stay on this road and follow God instead of people, but I am not impervious to the sway of the world. Thankfully each moment is new with God’s help and He can realign my heart and attitude!

  452. Teri

    I am not sure saying no is such a hard thing for people anymore. I think we have to look at what we are saying no to. Are we saying no I can’t volunteer for VBS or Sunday School outreach because I need to be at the ballfield for an extra 10 hours this week or we want to see the latest movie release? Sometimes, it appears that saying no to God to choose worldly things has gotten easier. This is not a judgement of anyone, it something that my own family has faced. During a rough time for my marriage, I spent a lot of time asking God for favor and help. It was during this stuggle, I also began to see how little I for HIM. God was very gracious to my family and it has really changed the way we look at saying YES and NO. Are we saying no because it is not what God has intended for us or are we saying no in order to Yes to something easier or what everyone else is saying yes to? I pray that within the church, it never becomes to easy to say no when we are faced with an opportunity to serve our Jesus. I pray that my own family can have the strength to say not to a game on Wednesday night and a yes to serving in our bus ministry that night. Therefore, I guess I sometimes question which is really more difficult — saying YES or NO. Sorry if I got off into left field with this discussion.

  453. Leslie M

    I love this devotion topic. Thank you for inviting feedback. This is my first comment after years of reading the daily Proverbs 31 devotion!
    Like many others, I have struggled with saying “yes” and overcommitting. I am a “do-er”, love people and being involved in worthy causes. After leaving my full-time career to hunker down as a homemaker, I used those worthy volunteer causes as arenas to build my own self-worth; however, I saw over the years the toll that this was taking on my husband and two young daughters. I sensed God directing me to step down, step back, step over. You get the picture.
    Saying “no” to new things and stepping out of some prior commitments was hard. Over the years – and in direct proportion to how intently I am listening to His direction, God has quieted my schedule and spoken to me in many whispers I might have missed earlier in my noisy life.
    One easy lesson: saying “yes” isn’t just saying “yes”. Unless you are sitting around bored and looking for something more to do, saying “yes” is inherently saying “no” to something else – like my sleep, my time with my family, my errands, my other commitments. I no longer say “yes” without stopping to think, evaluate and PRAY.
    God Bless.

  454. Cheri

    Saying “no” is not what we have been taught to do. It would not be the “neighborly thing” to do. Our mom’s always did everything they could to accommodate everyone. I think they all had their own “super-women” cap. However, we are working mothers who are attempting to continue the neighborly way and have to find the line between being a neighbor and staying sane. I for one am very much on the verge of that. I love the topics you bring up. They sure hit a pretty soft spot in my heart most of the time. Thank you for making me think differently about these things.

  455. Julie Sunne

    Saying yes to everything means every thing will be done in an inferior manner. How is that helpful to anyone or glorifying the Lord?

  456. Kelly Lehman

    I really have a hard time saying “no”, even if I know that I am going to be overwhelmed by saying “yes”. I always think that if someone is asking me to do something, they must really need the help or they wouldn’t ask. And then I feel guilty if I say no. I don’t know why so many of us take on more than we can handle!

  457. Celia Aguilar

    Saying no is very hard for me. Not only do I feel like I have let the other person down, but I feel like I am not good enough to be able to take on the task. I am a do-aholic who has to often seek Jesus to help me say “no’.

  458. Kristina Sloan

    I have always had a difficult time saying “no” to other people when they are in need of my help or my time, but I seem to have an easier time saying it to myself when it comes to buying something new for me or doing something just for me. It’s recently come to my attention that it really is OKAY to say “no” sometimes when I really don’t want to do something or just can’t fit it in and not feel guilty. And it really is OKAY to say “yes” to myself and not feel guilty about that either.

  459. Chrisitine Noggle

    I was a stay at home mom for 7 years, I am now working full time, fallen ill, and still trying to commit to all the yeses I have done. I think we all need to stop, think, and pray before we yell, “YES! PICK ME PICK ME!” God may have bigger plans for us even though it may be something we really want to do. If we don’t listen to God we may miss out on a huge opportunity because we are busy with are previous Yeses. Just remember to pause and say,”Can I let you know tomorrow. and pray on it!!

  460. Karen Evans

    Lysa, I have never responded to a question before, but feel moved on this one. I have spent a lot of time on the fence between decisions. The worst part of that is all the wasted time trying to determine the right thing to do. The funny thing is, there can be more than one “right” choice. It’s kinda like t-ball…the kid hits the ball and runs toward third base, but his father turns him around and sends him to first. So maybe the way to live is as simple as that. Just swing the bat and if you head in the wrong direction, trust your Father to turn you around! And the cool thing is that all the folks in the stands are cheering no matter what direction that kid runs. I think that’s how God sees us! He’s cheering when we just swing! Don’t let fear stop you from swinging the bat! It’s okay to say no as long as you remember that God says YES, even in the mistakes!

  461. Angel

    No is a hard word to say, but so freeing when I use it properly! I use to not set boundaries & carry too many plates. Truth is none of us are good at a lot of things, & some can carry a bigger load then others. Learn your limit & spin those plates high! Don’t compare your plates to others. Most people can do a couple things really good!

  462. Karen

    I’m learning to say no as I’m grasping more of who I am in Christ and understanding the Gospel. My Christian walk is not about “what” I do but about “who” I am. I used to be stuck in a “ministry” mindset finding my worth and acceptance in ministering to others, but I have already been accepted in the Beloved and it is He that has given me my worth, so I don’t “have to” feel compelled to say yes to everything that comes along. In fact, just serving my family and extended family has me quite busy. My husband is also a great help in keeping me on track. I don’t take anything else on unless we have discussed it because he is my priority and what I do does effect him and my children.

  463. Anne Watson

    Sometimes we say yes because we were noticed. And that feels good. But we should say no. We don’t because we are afraid no one may notice us again.

    • Marla McBride

      Love that statement “Sometimes we say because we were noticed”

  464. Jenny Slagle

    Sometimes I say no because I’m afraid you won’t ever ask me to help again….and sometimes I say no because I’m afraid you’ll reject me…..

  465. Jenny Slagle

    I’m sorry…I botched up my post…it should have read….Sometimes I have a hard time saying no because I’m afraid you won’t ever ask me to help again…and sometimes I have a hard time saying no because I’m afraid you’ll reject me….maybe these two are the same….

  466. Kelly Bradner

    saying no means…….
    * I may never be asked to do “something” again

    * I may be told no when I ask someone to do “something” for/with me

  467. Melanie

    I have been on both sides of the fence. I have said ” yes” way too frequently and then I was worn flat out and I have been where I couldn’t say “yes” because of the season of life I was in, as I lost two brothers in three years, unexpectantly.

    I was allowed to reflect and talk to Jesus about the places of life that are just way too difficult to tackle without His help.

    I learned to not think I need to fix everything and I need to let others get the blessing of giving.

    I learned to listen to my body and ask the Lord what to do and rest in whatever He said. He has my back.

    It is more humbling to to be served than to serve, but I love to serve. We must learn the balance between a Mary and a Martha.

    It is important to remember God will watch over us too and we don’t have to serve until we are sick and tired of ministry. God is a God of balance but He does want us to do things in His strength and not ours.

    Thanks for allowing us to share our heart and our pains. May we be humble and be teachable and learn from each other.


  468. Loretta Peason

    It’s so hard to say no as I don’t want to dissapointment people I care about. It’s easier to stress out about getting things done and push myself than to feel like I hurt others.
    I’ve been trying to have better boundaries and be more truthful with my answers, that means saying NO something. This is very difficult for some of us former people pleasers! Trying to stay focused on Jesus and pleasing him even at the expense of people I care about. I know that being obedient to him will be better and that friends can use “hurt” as a form of control, just a difficult process to conqure.

  469. Annette D

    I always feel like I am going to disappoint someone and then I feel guilty when I say no. And when I do stand up for myself and say no, I do struggle with the feelings later. 🙁

    I even have a hard time telling my kids no, (not on BIG stuff but just day to day stuff) since I feel like I will disappoint them.

    Of course, I don’t think anyone in my family of 4 kids and hubby worries about saying no to me!!! lol

  470. Barb

    I learned that by saying “no” it will allow others whether in ministry or other areas in my life to step forward. If I jump at every chance to serve or bless someone as my heart often wants too, I missed the mark on being a leader. I learned in ministry leadership that sometimes folks get left behind because leaders don’t step back or step down, worst case they get “platform” entitlement which is a no-no. In regards to my personal life with an active family, sometimes we need just to rest, stay quiet, and take time to breathe. Great topic! I love learning more in this area as it is a big problem in ministry that I work in, as well as being a mom. The hardest time I have is saying no to my kiddos. Be blessed, your ministry and delivery is AMAZING!

  471. Debbie

    We can say no in a polite way. We need to think more about whether the request is something God wants us to do and does it glorify Him. Even good requests may not be something God wants us to do. There may be someone else God wants to do the activity or something else God has planned for us to do or the timing may not be right. We can’t give our best to every activity if we have too much on our plate.

  472. Deb Hull

    Sometimes the things that we should say “no” to are the very things that we know we are really good at but it’s not the right season to invest our time in that area. This was especially true for me when I became a new, stay at home mom. I knew I was a really good PR person and could whip up an award-winning trade show booth.. but I sure didn’t feel like I was good at this new mothering business! I was tempted to overextend myself with work because I wanted the affirmation of being “good at”and “in control” of something. I had to really untangle my self worth from my performance -based, good feedback -craving, desires and say “No” for that season.

  473. Tamara

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with “saying no isn’t the Christian thing to do.” There are people I love dearly who work in the ministry is one form or another. I serve in some ways in my home church, but my primary “job” is a secular profession. So, I find it manageable to set boundaries. 1) God 2) Family 3) Job and other fall into place. For those in the ministry, #1 and #3 sometimes begin to blur. Where does your relationship with God end and your “job” begin? Saying no turns into a feeling of guilt that you’ve somehow failed in your walk when all you’ve actually done is keep your boundaries and priorities in proper order. Like you said, you need 60,000 words, but a husband and children still need a wife and mom. Saying “no” to #3 is necessary sometimes be the woman/wife/mother God made you to be.

  474. Ashley Woods

    I feel like at home, saying “no” to my kids is all that I do all day. I have a 5 year old boy and a 3 1/2 year old boy. I say “no” probably too much. But, that doesn’t mean I like it. I would much rather say yes. Saying yes is what they want and it would result in much less whining!! Every time you say no the kids think you are being mean And trying to take all of the fun out of life.
    At work, I think it is much harder to say no, because there are plenty of people who are looking for jobs out there who are willing to say yes. I have boundaries but sometimes it’s just easier to say yes.

  475. Crystal

    When I say no I feel guilty. I question whether my reason for saying no was a good one. And even though I usually have a good reason for saying no, I know the other person doesn’t know my reasons or the whole story because isn’t there always a story. My husband, the rational one, reminds me of my reasons for needing to say no, but still I’m left feeling guilty.

  476. Heather

    I have learned that saying no is sometimes a good thing. I’ve finally learned what my real strengths are and what I’m really not great at. I know if its something that I can accomplish with a God given talent, I can say yes. That also means that when I know I’m not the best person for the job, or I cannot handle any more projects with my current load, I don’t feel bad for saying no. God didn’t mean for me to carry the load by myself. He has surrounded me with wonderful people to help.

  477. Jodi

    Sometimes, I feel the need to say yes for fear of being judged…being judged as not competent ENOUGH, not strong ENOUGH, not organized ENOUGH, not fill-in-the-blank ENOUGH. Which makes me think…maybe my fear of saying no stems from an obsession with comparisons…too often I find myself comparing myself to others…coworkers, other new moms, other Christians…when all I really need to be concerned about is, Is what I’m saying no to doing or not doing glorifying the Lord? If I am glorifying God, comparisons should end right there. Finished. Done. But too many times, I can’t remind myself of that fast enough. :/

  478. Leigh

    I used to struggle with saying ‘no’ when asked to do anything in my church, for all of the reasons you listed. I was part of the 20% that do 80% of the work. After years of ‘doing’ and saying ‘yes’ to nearly everything asked of me, I realized that, while I agreed to do the thing, I spent an awful lot of time complaining about having to do it. I was becoming frustrated and resentful. I was not honoring God at all. Being obedient with a negative attitude is the same as being disobedient. I asked God to remove the resentment and help me see from His perspective. He began to show me that not all church work is Kingdom work. Sometimes it’s just busywork. I started re-prioritizing my life. I now prayerfully consider what I’m asked to do. I ask myself these questions:
    Will doing this interfere with my family time? How much of my time am I willing to devote to this? Am I operating within my giftings by doing this? Is there someone else more ‘qualified’ or suitable for this job?
    It wasn’t easy at first. Watching others do the things I’ve always done sometimes still drives me crazy cause they don’t do it like I would. But I have found such freedom in saying ‘no’. The resentment and frustration are gone and I’m able to do things more excellently.

  479. Robin Lee

    I am still waiting for a “Yes” to pictures from the KLOVE fan awards.

    I think Yesses and Nos are equally important, and there is both a price and a prize for each. I have spent the last few years seeking sincerity in either answer, both when I give them and when others give them to me.

    Sincerity. I long for Christian sincerity.

  480. Lois


    How did you get inside my head? I mean, how could you know the self talk process that I go through, every time I’m faced with having to choose whether to say yes, or no to anyone. Even though I have often decided to take on an unwanted responsibility, it’s not for lack of wanting to say no. But who wants to be thought of as rude, unchristian, or even, incapable.I could have written this list, but alas, did not. In fact, I have never seen these reasons written out. Thank you for putting my thoughts onto paper. And for reminding me that I need to get better acquainted with the word, no.

  481. Cheryl Hess

    I think as mothers and wives saying no is almost not an option. Saying yes is so ingrained into everything we do that we don’t know the word “no” or at least we forget that it exists. Let me explain, When we have babies they have needs… They are hungry, thirsty, wet, dirty, sick, tired, cold, hot and the list goes on. No is not an option, they have to be taken care of. And if you are like me and have seven kids, it’s not hard to forget there is even a word “yes”. As a wife you are also asked…cook this, clean that, fix that, wash this and the list goes on and on.So when others ask us something we just automatically respond with a yes because it’s ingrained in us to do it.

  482. Rebecca Burgess

    When interacting with people, I have a hard time trusting someone’s “yes”, if they never tell me “no”.

  483. Georgia

    Lysa. This is so on point in my life right now. I have been pondering why when I resolve to say no in order to rest, complete what is already on my plate & spend more time with God, do opportunities & request come at me at an even faster pace. Like many others who left comments here, I say yes because I don’t want to miss out, I want to be included, I want to please, and most of all because I believe God made me a doer. But how do I discover if it’s GOD”s will or my own? Especially if when I run myself down & then find myself with no true time to spend with God, just stolen moments. How do you put the boundaries in place.

  484. Toni

    The very first reason smacked me in the face. I never knew I viewed saying no as rude. I used to agree with your reasons 2 and 4 until a few years ago when a friend took calendar and in bold red wrote just say no on top of every page. She told me, “Don’t say you’ll pray about it, because that means yes in the asker’s mind. Don’t say I’ll think about it, for the same reason.” She then explained, “Of course you’ll pray about it, and if God says this is something He planned for you, it’s much easier to back and say yes then to have said yes out of guilt and now have to recant.” So in my mind, most of the time I can see the bold red writing.

  485. Ellen

    I saw this quote on a sign along my way to work this morning…My immediate thought was, “I have to share this with the folks on Lysa’s blog!”…

    “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody!”
    Bill Cosby

    Blessings~ Ellen

  486. Trudy Vriesema

    Hi Lysa, this is a GREAT discussion…..we could work on this one for a YEAR! I am a grandma (Beppe in Fries – Dutch) of 15 and I have the hardest time saying No to all the requests from my kids……I find I pray about the situations, either right on the spot, or overnight….& honestly tell my kids how I feel, and they have been very accepting when I say no(mostly about babysitting, etc.) ….I also feel VERY light when I have made the right choice. I have struggled with anxiety most of my married life, Not mentioning what from, but God has been gracious and loving and I just can’t say Yes all the time and feel good about it….It is very freeing to be able to say No and KNOW that is what God wants.

  487. Adam Smith

    I think it is hard to say no to people because we haven’t scheduled out our days and decided who are the most important people in our lives. If we realized how much time is in our day and who our priorities are, we would realize there just isn’t enough time in the day for everyone we want to say “yes” to. Stop feeling guilty. Start putting your top priorities first.

  488. Marla McBride

    I only have trouble saying no to certain people and in certain situations. My children’s teachers for example. If one of them asked me to do something I would drop everything and Go do it. “Mrs. McBride, umm I’m real busy here teaching your youngin’s and all so would mind running to pick me up a Sonic drink?” Uh sure I’ll just put the lid on this can of paint real quick and run to town I am happy to help you” Really I have this neurotic need for approval and desire to be liked in the education setting. I say no to my family all the time and don’t feel bad about it. Even when I should. Why is it so easy to say yes to all the wrong things?

  489. Mary Mauk

    A quote from a book I’m reading…

    “Cross-centered living gives a purpose and direction to all our actions and words. …Where once we were ruled by fear of others and said yes far too often, we are now motivated by God’s practical will and understand we must say no.” – How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp (pg. 153)

  490. Deana

    I have been challenged lately to let your words reflect your inside voice. When we don’t say no when we really want or need to we are not being true to ourselves and we are lying to the other person. This has been hard for me to put into practice.

  491. Hope @ The Flourishing Tree

    I’m late to the conversation but still wanted to jump in. We have such a hard time hearing “no,” — especially when it comes from God — and I think our aversion to hearing “no” makes us reluctant to say “no” to others. Is it a super-hero complex? A desire to be the good [fill-in-the-blank] friend/church member/mom/community leader?

    There are times when I’ve said “no” that felt so hard but freed me to pick up something clearly from God that I wouldn’t have had time for if I hadn’t said “no.” So just as God’s “no” to us can be a blessing — even when it doesn’t feel like it — our own “no” can be a blessing to others and ourselves, too.

  492. Teresa

    I have heard it said – and I do believe it is true. When you say no to something you are saying yes to something else…For you it is Writing!
    I do know what you mean- in fact I have to say no to some one – But I really want to say YES. However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is telling me to say no. I have been a member of my small town church for 38+ years, and for a good 10 year I have wanted to be more involved in the structure of our church…to make a difference in decision making…and last week a gentleman I highly respect is looking for someone to take his place, I was excited, surely the Lord would want me to do this…surely he brought this gentleman to me – because of my desire. right? God said No. I said, but I could do it, really Lord…He said this is not the time. No – So I am saying No, because God says No. He absolutely knows me better than anyone – and He knows my desire…I will be ready when He says YES! God Bless You Lysa!! Teresa

  493. Rena Gunther

    I think we also often anticipate a negative response from the other person. If we are non-confrontational this can be especially uncomfortable. Of course the picture we have worked up in our minds is often nothing close to the reality of what might actually transpire should we say no.
    I had a huge revelation of my problem with that two letter word around eight years ago. When we fail to be honest up front with what we really want to say and what we should in fact say which is often NO, we hurt both parties. The situation has the potential to cause us to harbor bitterness towards those who ask us for something that we in turn say yes to. That’s unfair to them. Instead, in spite of their initial response or reaction, we need to be willing to be honest with our answers. Say no when we should. Ultimately we are being disobedient to the Lord when we fail to do this. There’s freedom in listening for His voice, heeding His lead. And saying no.

  494. kristine

    Not a negative comment, but an honest comment on decision making and the power of “yes” and “no”:

    I think it all comes down to a lack of fulfillment. How do you say no when your yes has never amounted to anything of value? Oh, I’ve heard those many devotionals about doing whatever you do to the best of your ability. You know, the ones that say if your calling is to be the one waaaaay behind the scenes making the punch, well then, make the best punch you can, and make it oh, so joyfully! Funny . . . those wise words always come from the mouth of the woman out front that has more accomplishments in life than she does shoes. What on earth would she ever know about making punch?

    I think some of us say yes too often because in the back of our minds is the hope that maybe this time I will be valuable. Maybe this time my efforts will matter. Maybe God really does have a plan for me – – beyond punch making. Maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for.

    So we say yes and yes and yes. And you’re right, Lysa, we end up frazzled and worn. But how do you say no, when your yes hasn’t happened?

  495. Amy

    Why is it so easy then to say ‘no’ to our husband and kids?
    For example, kids asking us to play with them or our husband wanting us to do something for him or with him.
    ‘No’, too busy or, ‘No’ too tired or ‘No’ I don’t want to.
    I think the reason we say yes to everyone else, but our family is that we want to look good. Family, well, they already know the real us and are stuck with us, so we can be more liberal with our no’s to our husband or kids. But, oh my, we wouldn’t want a church member to think we were tired, self centered, or not ‘spiritual.’

  496. Celeste Vaughan

    Well, in all seriousness, saying “no” allows us to say “yes” when we really need to. And on a more lighthearted note, saying “no” sometimes allows a good nights sleep! 😉

  497. Esther

    I have one word for issues with saying no, speaking from personal experiences, Codependency!!

  498. Diann Rogers

    Most of my girl-friends and I share a common trait that I think is the reason we can’t say ‘no’ enough to have the correct God-Life-Family-Others balance. It is perfectionism. When we say ‘yes’ to someone we aren’t happy (or believe others will not be happy) with less than perfect results. Therefore, we expend far too much energy pre-thinking, purposeful thinking, planning, editing our thinking or planning, doing, and then critiquing or worrying about what everyone else thinks of the job we have done. This seems to be the opposite of how men handle requests – whether work, interpersonal, or Spiritual in nature. Men ‘do’ and deal with outcomes. This perfectionism, even in our relationship with God, often steals our joy or leaves us tired and bitter (or worse). I know.
    After nearly 30 years of working in corporate America; raising two sons nearly single-handedly; earning a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate; volunteering my children’s school and our company sponsored elementary school; studying and passing a Sunday School teacher certificate so I could teach toddlers to middle schoolers, and, volunteering for VBS, coordinating crafts, and assisting our Christian Education Pastor; Singing in the choir; and, maintaining friendships, home life, and most importantly, my relationship with God. The problem, beyond the obviousness of too much, was that I tried to do everything perfectly. At 49 years old I had a massive stroke. Three years later I am finally putting only reasonable expectations on my weak body and injured memory. I can no longer work or drive; caregivers help me eight hours a day. And you know what? No one now asks or expects much from me. I am happy to be alive, content to live a simpler, slower life. You know what else? I am thinking about what I can do to help with VBS this year. Maybe I can hand glue sticks out during craft time – from my wheel chair, with a smile, and not perfectly at all.

  499. Rosanne

    My mom has always said that her life “began at age 40”. Now that I’m 42, I finally understand what she meant. It means being ok with saying “no”. I can finally be true to myself and not be so consumed with thinking about what others think of me and my choices. If I am going to feel bitterness or resentment towards someone or a towards a commitment I’ve said “yes” to, then I know that my answer should be “no”. I’m learning to do this now that I’m in my 40’s, and my walk with The Lord has become much sweeter. Now I feel that He can use me for His purposes because my time is more aligned with His will for me!

  500. Kelsey

    This is what I’ve learned over the years:
    -If I say yes to everything that I’m asked to do then all those things will get done halfheartedly and/or be sloppy.
    -If I say yes to a few things that I know I can do with excellence and no to the other things my work will be more enjoyable and rewarding.
    -If I say yes to a task that I really don’t want to do but I’m just doing it because I was asked I may be taking that opportunity away from someone else who would love to be doing and would be better at it than I am.

    Sometimes our “say yes” attitudes is just a form of pride. We want others to think that we have it all together, that we can handle everything that is thrown at us, and (for me, as a perfectionist) I can do it better than someone else. But God created us with unique talents and special gifts, instead of trying to do everything on your own invest into some young ladies and train them to carry some of those burdens. But understand they may do it differently from what you would do it but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

    • Charlotte

      Kelsy you are right. Reading your comment made me realize how crazy I have been. I often say yes to help someone I see is struggling because they are stressed or over worked. I also say yes because I will do it right but I never take the time to realize I am exhausted and spend most of my time praying to the Lord to help me make it through.

      • Larain

        There is something very familiar about this “can’t say no” response . Perhaps it is the fact that I too use to spend most of my time praying to God to help me get it all done.” But lately I have become very clear on one thing: that my love for God and for others, while dependent on my actions toward others, can never truly be measured by what I do or how much I do. Rather, it is determined by the lead of The Holy Spirit, my helper, my teacher and my comforter. I find that the more I trust and yield to His perfect will and voice, my saying “yes” or “no” to any given request always brings peace to me and to others. So, I am left most often feeling absence of guilt and even better with the assurance that all is well with the person who needs that thing handled. It helps to ask the Holy Spirit to help me to appropriately communicate with all concerned.

  501. Katie Mulder

    Saying “no” to me feels like I am rejecting the person asking me the question. I also don’t get asked things very often so I feel like I have to say yes because I don’t know when I will be asked again. On the other hand, I feel like I have to say no when people offer me food because I am overweight (and losing weight) because people will see me as a “take all the food” cow. I say yes because I want to be liked, put myself second, feel as if I can’t say no (negative ramifications at work), and then I am stressed out and tired and of no good use to God, myself or those around me. I also like to be chosen by friends and say yes for that reason. When I ask people for help or to be included in my life, they usually say no because I want them to choose what they really want to do and that is to not be with me.

  502. Mary

    You hit the nail on the head 6 times. All those reasons are true! I have a terrible time saying no. Praying first before I say yes or nois helping. It’s a work in progress though. But as a wise woman once said imperfect progress …. I look forward to your book!

  503. Pastor Pat Williams

    I often tell the people in my ministry “no is an answer too”. But after reading this I find that’s advice that I have trouble with …saying NO to myself.

    • Melanie

      Guilt. If I say no, who will do…..?

  504. Edie Kile

    I always feel like I am letting someone down when I say no. I think I should be available to everyone and meet whatever need they have.

  505. Brenda S. Brown

    I work with several lower income parents. I do daycare for the state, I am ask quite often to loan money in which I rarely see repayment. I feel if I say no that I am not being Impathetic to thier needs. I guess I get put on a guilt trip you could say. I need help with this problem. Thank you.

    • Kacy

      I’m like you. I feel guilty when I have to say no. Somebody gets rejected or becomes second priority. I don’t mind when I’ve been told no. I would rather the other person do what they want to do. I had a long term relationship with a woman who has four kids. We got engaged but not married. Not bc of me. It was unstable before but after that it just couldn’t go forward. She still wants to work things out but I can’t trust this situation anymore. I feel guilt everyday bc I choose to do anything with anybody and could be with her and her kids. I think they use that, or at least she does, against me to make me feel guilty. Which I already do. That’s a problem. I’ve also met other women who are interested in dating me. In the days of texting, etc there is a way to communicate with potential girlfriends without ever seeing them. Have to say no at some point to one of them at least if they stay interested. I obviously may have other, bigger problems, but saying no is definitely one of them

  506. sallie

    Saying “no” to something is really saying “yes” to something else. When we say “no” it opens opportunities for other things that may be of greater value to our lives or the lives of others. When asked will you… I prayerfully consider how God wants me to answer. I can say “no” more easily if that is the way He is leading me.

    • Kacy

      So if I need to make a decision, I guess whether it’s yes or no, after praying about what the decision is, you feel like whatever you’ve decided is God leading you there? I’m not arguing about this, I’m curious. Usually the one your’e worried about is saying “no”, right? So if I pray about it and say “no”, I can feel confident that it’s the right choice? I guess it’s hard to know where your opinions are getting in. I’m very interested in this discussion. I do go to church and believe in God. I’m a Christian. This topic is a tough one for me though.

  507. carol

    I have always had trouble saying no. But as an imperfect work in progress I know where my limits are and the older I get I hit those limits more often. So when I know I have done all I physically and mentally can without an attitude I very gently say no. It is a matter of pride I agree with that one. Well pride comes before a fall. It is in my nature to do all I can do so when I say no there is a disappointment there. But when I have an attitude it is time to back off and let God help me sort out why I have one. Otherwise I come across ugly and that is not “a Godly thing”. I also have trouble with being “unglued” which is why when I met you Lysa in Las Vegas I could only cry and not say much cause I totally understand where you were. Thanks for being brave enough to write it all down for “all ” to see.

  508. Ella

    I love to help. I also have a misguided sense of how much I can handle – “It’s just … (one more tiny thing, surely I can add that to my plate)” Individually, each task or need that is added really isn’t that big of a deal. I am very capable – but in the moment can’t see how adding this one more thing is going to cause the whole plate to topple. I recently said “no” to a very good thing – helping an old friend help a friend in need – but I did refer her to someone she could pay to help her – and it worked beautifully. The need was met, and my plate didn’t topple over. One small step toward learning the art of saying “no” – or for me saying “maybe so and so can help instead.”

  509. Jennifer

    I learned at a young age to say “No” when I need to. My family moved and I changed to a new school going into the 4th grade. At first, I was a “Yes” girl; I suppose it was to make friends. I got taken advantage of quite a bit, paying for lunches, buying snacks after school, etc. Something inside of me got fed up and I decided that I didn’t need to say “yes” all the time. So I started saying “No.” Did I lose a few friends? Maybe. Do I say “no” all the time? No.

    Now that I am older, I wonder where in the world did I get that idea that I could say “no” sometimes but I am glad that I did because it has helped me enjoy the relationships I have with people and it’s comforting to know that I don’t have to carry loads alone; if I say “no,” maybe I can suggest someone who might be able to say “yes” that time, and I can pick up a request next time.

  510. Betsy Derr

    I am pretty good at saying no. I learned a long time ago that I cannot be out 6 nights a week! I allowed my kids to go to Awana and one other thing.
    These days when I’m asked to help with this or that ministry at church, I pray about it, consult with my husband, and decide if it is a good fit for me and my family.
    I have trouble saying no when I think everyone is saying no and something just won’t get done, but even then I figure, if God wants it done, it will get done, with or without me. I also have a hard time saying no when I think there aren’t enough people helping out and they really “need” me. I don’t want my friends stretched too thin, either. But I won’t allow guilty feelings make me do something that just isn’t right for me at the time.
    I have several ministries that I’m regularly involved in and many that I pitch in to help with temporarily, as time and money allows.
    So long as I’m serving the Lord, I don’t have to say yes to everything.

  511. Annika

    I’m a full time college student, as well as working part time hours to do a full time job at my church. There are two major things I have learned about saying “NO” in my short time on this earth:
    1. When I say “NO” to something I don’t think I should be doing, it means that someone else now has the opportunity to do it better than I could have in the first place. I’ve come to realize that although I may be innovative in ways, there is someone out there who can do some of the things I’m doing better and they just need an opportunity. They need someone to believe in them just like someone believed in me.
    2. By saying “NO” to something I am able to put my best into what I have already committed myself to. A recent example of this was this passed semester when I decided that I would not be able to help with a program that has been available to our youth for 10 years. I was already committed to my job, school, and developing a new student discipleship program that I knew something would suffer in a big way if I took another thing on. Although the program has a special place in my heart, I knew that I had to say no if I wanted to succeed with what I had already committed myself to.

  512. Jillian Wolf

    I was reading and thinking and something suddenly hit me quick, Maybe ask God in prayer to to protect you from those that he may not want us to help maybe? I struggle with constant can you do this can you do that to the point I have noo energy and I feel misused but I am not sure so I just say yes most of the time and feel discouraged when I say no

    • Charlotte

      I feel the exact same way.

  513. Leslie

    “Saying a big enough yes to what is right, good, and true is the best way to say no to what is wrong, bad, and false.” I have no idea where this quote came from but I have always liked it especially when I was a teenager.

  514. C A Elliott

    Saying “no” feels like failure to me. It is admitting that “I cannot do it all”. Somehow,the message of my parents that “You can do anything you want” became “You should do everything you’re asked”. It gets further complicated when I figure that if I am presented with this opportunity, then it must be something God wants me to do…I am slowly learning discernment…but that’s not easy after years of “Super Woman” practice .

  515. Beth

    Often I have a problem saying no, because I think that if I don’t do something, no one will do it. But I’ve come to realize that if no one wants to run the pancake breakfast, then maybe we don’t really need a pancake breakfast after all! Sometimes change means letting traditions go. And when we do that, we free ourselves for the new things that God brings our way. If we are all bogged down doing the same old things, even though we didn’t really want to, we have no space left in our schedules and lives for new, exciting ideas.

  516. Michelle

    One more reason why we don’t like saying no is because of the desire we fight against to be a people pleaser…

    • Nanette

      so very true there!

  517. Karen

    My problem is with my daughter. What am I teaching her, if I don’t show her that NO is an option sometimes. If she isn’t behaving correctly and I still say yes to all her requests, what is that saying? It isn’t easy, but I think it is necessary to show her that bad behavior isn’t rewarded. I guess this could be used with other people too, maybe.

  518. Nanette

    I just want to help…I would like to do all I can to help. I have found though that when I help where I’m not supposed to be, I am robbing from where I truly AM supposed to be. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re not helping, but that you’ve chosen to help where you have truly been called by God to really help!

  519. Rene Vasser

    Saying no is very difficult to me. I always think of the verse do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I love to help others that is our purpose to serve others and love others as Jesus does.

  520. Joanne

    What is my motivation for saying “no” or “yes”? What is my goal in the long run? Where is my balance? What are my priorities? Will this yes/no answer take away from or fulfill my goal and/or my priorities? What is the Lord’s answer to this request? Will this yes or no answer benefit the other person, or will this answer enable bad behavior or inhibit both of our growth? Am I trying to rescue the other person or help the other person? Is the pool of available people adequate for the job or will this project stay short staffed?

    I had to learn this the hard way. I, for years said yes to everything and did not know my priorities, my goals, my motivation, enabled bad behavior, allowed other people to inadequately plan, was afraid of rejection and people pleased and thought I was pleasing God. I was stressed, resentful, overly responsible, fearful, unbalanced and burned out. I, through tragedy and a lot of hard work found out the real heart of God, started to heal, and started to really know Him. I found out I didn’t have to say yes to everything, and could answer yes or no based on listening to the Lord and not my own misinterpretation of what is right for the situation. I still make mistakes and will still learn more, but I am grateful for the tragedy for the turn around.

    Blessings Lisa, and your book will be a useful tool to many people. You have a knack and a gift for speaking the message in a no nonsense, transparent, loving way that people are able to receive and put to use.


  521. Stephanie

    I have trouble saying no. I grew up in the church and was always taught that others are to come first. I feel that by saying no, I feel like I am being selfish. The older I get, I realize I can’t do it all and that I am miserable trying to do it all. I really need help in this area of my life!

  522. angela heikkinen

    I’m a ‘super server’ at Lifechurch.tv fw- a term I use which means serving in more than one area of the church. When I first started attending I was so excited about the movement that I wanted to help everywhere! After hearing several messages from Craig and from God about over serving and stealing blessings from others that would be serving if I wasn’t, I realized that its not God’s intention for us to be super servers! He wants us to be a part of the church and serve but not take over every spot available. We are part of the body, not the whole body. I used to think if I was asked to do something it was because God needed me in that role. But then I realized they asked me because I always said yes 🙂 now, I pray before I say yes, and make sure that I really have a passion for it, because if I don’t, there’s someone else that’s more capable to fill that role

  523. Kelly McClure

    The art of saying no! I like to refer to it as an art because I believe it is a truely esthetic and desirable ability to have. I think we have all been conditioned in some sense to view the word, “no”, as a negative word. Although, I have experienced the exact opposite. When I am able to bring myself to say no to situations that may take me away from the main focus of my life or the main focus of a season of life, I reap great benefit! Some of these situations may otherwise be wonderful things, or they may be things that are outside the boundaries God has designed for my life and will never be beneficial to me. Either way, determining when to say no is needed!

    These words from Proverbs help me to determine when to say yes and when to say no:

    Proverbs 4:25-27
    25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
    26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
    27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

    Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead on Jesus and what he as called you to. If something does not fit inside the guidelines in his word, your calling, your calendar, or the general 16 hours of time you are awake in a day the answer is no! God give us grace to do this!

  524. Amy Tapp

    When I say ‘no’, many times it leaves me feeling and thinking about how I’m letting myself down and others down. You see, I’ve got expectations for myself and then I have “perceived” expectations from ‘others’. The ‘others’ can be family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. Getting to the point of saying ‘no’ to commitments, etc., can be a pride thing. If I perceive that others want me to not say no, then the temptation is to do exactly as the ‘others’ want and let ‘them’ have their way. Frustration sets in and that “negative inside chatter” begins when I am not sitting still before the Lord in order to hear His voice as to what direction I need to take. “There is a time for everything under heaven”

  525. Melanie

    Guilt. Who will do …..if I don’t?
    Saying no makes us feel weak.

  526. Vikki de Los santos

    Sometimes No is hard to say because I like to do so many things that each one sounds great; what I would like to do. But is it what God wants me to do? Each time I do say yes I know I will have to say no to at least two other things that just maybe are what God has planned for me.

  527. Sherrie

    I have a hard time saying no when i want to hang with the person or people that are asking me to do something. I want the friendship and the time together then end up stressed because i have to much to do.

  528. Kathy

    I say no when I need to. Recently a friend wanted to spent some time with me at my house after she got off work after 3:00PM. I was very tired that week and told her so. A couple weeks later, I realized I had not gotten back to her, the reason being it was too late in the day and the 3-5 time frame didn’t work for me. In essence by not responding I had said no. Today I saw her at our Bible study picnic. She was pleasant, and later I spoke to someone about getting together, she over heard and said I have given up trying to get together with you. She left and did not turn to listen to what I had to say. I will call her and explain that the timeframe was all wrong but now since I know she has the summer off, it will be easier to schedule some time with her. But the bottom line is I failed her by giving her a non answer. And I feel badly that I have hurt my friend.

  529. Chelsea

    I’ve been learning about this lately, too. If I really expect to be able to the “good works” God has for me to do (& do them well), then I’ve got to seek Him before making the commitments. Because God always knows best, no matter how rude or awkward I might feel for having to say no to some great opportunities. I’ve also learned that He is in control, and (shock!) I am not responsible for doing everything that needs to be done! God has entrusted me with certain responsibilities, and He very well might change them as He pleases, but He can and is raising up others who seek Him to do things that I cannot. That’s what the Body is for; no one part shoulders all the burden, but we all in obedience to God share the responsibilities, each tackling the specific tasks that the Father has equipped them for and called them to. We don’t have to feel guilty for saying no to some things!

  530. La Shaine Reynolds

    I’ve always had a hard time saying “No”. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I want to be the kind of friend or family member that everyone can can’t on. But by doing this I’m putting myself to the side and my relationship with God. Because if I’m doing everything for everyone else then I have no me or God’s time. My yes’s far outweigh my no’s. So I’m learning to say no to other’s and saying yes to God.

  531. Donna Miller

    It is important to address this issue of not being able to say no. All of the reasons given are on target! I think an additional reason may be the fear of someone else being able to replace us (and do a great job) if we are not engaged in the activity, and perhaps we will not be asked again. In other words, fear of rejection. It is vital to realize we have only one body and cannot be everywhere and do everything, and that it is OK. Our contentment must come from doing the will of the Father.

  532. April Boudreaux

    I have trouble saying no to a few people in my world! It’s ironic that I have a standard rule with myself. I never want anyone to feel obligated to me when I ask them for something (ie. to attend a family function, bible study etc.). I always allow myself to feel obligated when asked to do things. I abhor these feelings to the point of resentment. I need to practice saying no but bottom line… I hate disappointing people. I am a person who tries to take the path of least resistance. This is one day going to come back and bite me in the rear! Lord give me strength to just say no!

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