“No. Don’t do it,” is what I heard. Some may not like it, but yes, is not an option.” I thought of all the rebuttals that would probably be hurled at me because my answer would not be “yes,” but settled in my mind, to give the necessary answer, anyway.
The day arrived, the one requesting an answer, approached me, and asked, “Are you going to do it?” I took a deep breath. “No. I’m not doing it this time.” I celebrated in the moment. Yes. I did it. I said, No. I was doggone proud of myself. After I’d answered, the questioner didn’t move. Faster than I’d heard anyone talk before, I was hit with what seemed like a million objections to my “No,” and it wasn’t until it was out of my mouth, that I heard my voice say, “Okay. Alright. Enough! I’ll do it.”
I’d learned at an early age to give in to hovering demanders. Every edge of my personal boundaries dissolved when they were trespassed in a most egregious way, before I was twelve years old. For decades after, No, became one of the most difficult words for me to say. I hardly ever said it. Can you relate to that? Well if you can’t there’s someone you probably know that can. Saying yes when we need and want to say no puts others in control of our days, weeks, and lives! Yes, it really is that serious. We are only ready to say No, when we are finally ready to live. Once we realize we can and should have standards for how others will engage with us and that we can live the dreams and passions God placed in our hearts, we will answer Yes or No, based on the standards and mission of our lives.
As is the case with God-given tests, there are always make-up exams. So with the results of the previous (No / Yes) test still fresh in my mind: much loss, heartache, and relationship trials, another questioner appeared. This offer, presented in a beautifully decorated, large, gold box with dangling, glittering, ribbons was even more difficult to turn down. I stepped forward to open the box so I could see the promised treasure inside. Before I pulled on the ribbons, though, I had a few questions of my own which seemed to agitate the gift presenter. So, I asked more questions. I walked around the gold box and noticed only the side facing me was gold-colored and ribbon laced. The gift presenter fumed, stomped, and pounded the air with such intensity, at the audacity of my questioning their offer, they didn’t hear my, “NO!!!” or see me walk away.
Determine your standards. Know your values. Write your life mission. Saying yes when you should say no, may make you popular in the moment, but it can also set you on a detour away from your standards, mission and purpose that may take you years to recover from. Though God gives us more difficult tests as we matriculate, I (and I hope you) never want to leave His classroom. Every test helps us to know Him more deeply through lessons in Truth and Love.