“No” Isn’t a Dirty Word

No. It’s one of our first and favorite words, and it quickly becomes a parental nightmare. Toddlers, ordinarily adorable with their sweet smiles and cute voices, transform into tiny terrors as they scrunch up their little faces and yell “NO” with an explosive, albeit impressive gusto.

And yet, somewhere along the way, we stop saying “no” and start saying “yes.” Even worse, we start seeing “no” as a dirty word. We associate “no” with weakness, and we base our worth on life’s “yeses.”

I’m one of the worst culprits, friends. I HATE saying no to things. One of my biggest fears is disappointing people, so I avoid saying “no” at all costs.

I convince myself that “it’ll all be OK” and “I can handle this,” so I keep taking on more.  But the truth is, I say “yes” to so many things that I find myself overwhelmed, exhausted and defeated.

Even though I may be doing a lot of good things, it means nothing if I’m not doing a lot of God things. Because the worst part is that sometimes when I’m saying yes to people, it means I’m saying no to God.

And sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if I worried about pleasing God as much as I worried about pleasing people.

As I evaluate my obsession with “yes,” I feel a little ashamed because I find the root of it all – my pride.

When someone asks me for help, it makes me feel needed and necessary. It gives me a purpose, and it makes me feel validated. And when I always say “yes,” I convince myself I’m being a good friend, a good student, a good worker, etc.

Do you see what’s glaringly wrong about that?

When I say “yes” to all these things, I’m telling myself I’m doing it for someone else’s benefit, but really, I’m doing it for my own.

When I say “yes,” sometimes I’m not doing it because I love that person…I’m doing it because I want them to love me.

When I say “yes,” I’m using their acknowledgment for my affirmation, which is the surest path to destruction.

The problem is, my worth isn’t found in my works. It’s not tucked away in life’s “yeses” waiting for me to earn it. My worth is waiting in the love letter Christ wrote to me. And when I read His Word, I find it.

Your self-esteem isn’t rooted in what you do, friends. It’s rooted in who you are – which is a hand-crafted, perfectly unique treasure designed by God.

You don’t need someone to say “Good Job.” You don’t need that extra accomplishment. You don’t need to be busy to be loved.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is say “No.” Because when we find strength in the stillness, we can find clarity in our purpose.

If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s that at Life Church, “we give up things we love for things we love even more.” Sometimes we have to say “no” to good things to say “yes” to the God ones, and those “yeses” will ultimately make us happier, healthier and whole.

Love Always,


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