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Do You Have a Problem Saying “No?”

Do you ever real trouble saying “no”? Many people do. And those same people are often overwhelmed with commitments to others and expectations of others. Saying “no” for some people is nearly impossible. If this is you, take a moment and consider a few things:

Why do you say “Yes”? 

There are likely several reasons why saying “yes” is important to you.

First, you probably have the gift of helps—a God given desire to truly be a help to people, to the point that it pains you if you can’t. Even good gifts require us to set limits and boundaries.

Second, you may be fearful of disappointing others. The fear of man may be a subtle form of pride trapping you into continual obligation.

Thirdly, you may just enjoy feeling important. Urgency and demand can make us feel validated, important, needed… again a subtle pride thing.

But beyond “why” you say “yes”—consider something more important.

You’re ALWAYS saying “No”…

You really don’t have trouble saying “no.” You just have trouble recognizing it.

For every ONE thing you say “yes” to, there are a THOUSAND you are saying “no” to at the same time. Saying “yes” to anything is a simultaneous “no” to all the other things you could be doing with that same time, with those same abilities, or with those same resources.

Saying “Yes” to the Right Stuff…

The real issue is not about learning to say “no.” It’s about learning to value the right things—learning to say “YES” to the right things.

Stephen Covey said it this way, “It’s easy to say ‘no’ when there’s a deeper ‘yes’ burning inside!”

You really don’t have a problem saying “no.” It’s more like a problem saying “yes” to the most important priorities of your life.

So—the next time you struggle with saying “no”—stop and think: “Is there a deeper value? Is there a higher priority to which I should say yes?” Does saying “yes” right now mean I’m saying no to something of greater significance in my personal stewardship before God?

Let the deeper “yes” win! If you don’t, it will witness against your conscience every time you pillow your head!


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  • Good evening Pastor Schmidt,
    You have no idea the incredible, God-ordained, timing of this post! I’m a freshman at Bob Jones University and apart from classes and homework there just seems to be a barrage of people asking for help and attention. The perspective you laid out in this post made everything so clear for me though! Specifically the list of reasons to why we say yes really stopped me in my tracks…. I definitely need to spend some time praying about my motives for helping others Sigh. I also loved your comments on opportunity costs.There are so many people I want to talk to – both at college, back at home, from my summer job, and old friends – but I guess I’ll just have to take it one hour at a time and ask my unfailing Father where He wants me to spend my time. 🙂
    Thank you so much!

  • Some great thoughts to consider. Thanks!


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