I came across this Tweet from Anne Jackson today, and it resonated with me a lot.

Learning to say no to good things. It’s always hard, but it’s necessary. I’ve been losing focus lately.

I know we all have lots of good things on our plate.

We have lots of great opportunities to get involved in lots of good things.

I think that the online world has not only opened the door for us to get involved in lots of good causes, but it has created a certain angst (how can I not get involved with so many good opportunities) that leaves us confused with whether or not to say no to all these opportunities.

So How Do You Know When To Say No To Good Things
Here are just 10 suggestions, or rather avenues and elements that help us think through the process.

  1. Prayer
  2. Small Group/Community Discernment
  3. Gifting/Skills
  4. Time
  5. Benefits
  6. Goals/Objectives/Focus
  7. Calling/Career Path
  8. Relationships (Family, spouse, kids, etc.)
  9. Self Care/Health
  10. Passion

How I Am Trying To Say No
Most often I don’t, which is a major flaw of mine that I’m working on.  There are lots of criteria that are a part of my thought process, but here are a few of mine.

  1. Time with Family.  This is my single most important criteria. If what I take on, takes away from time with my family, then I say no.  If I really want to do it, then I need to find something else to say no to that allows me to do it without taking more time away from my family.  I see more and more people sacrifice family life, marriages, time with children because they simply have too much on their plate, don’t have proper boundaries, or just can’t say no.

  2. Passion.  I have to be pretty passionate about something these days to say yes to it.  If I’m not passionate, and don’t see me being able to put the time, energy and effort into it that is required, then I usually will say no.

  3. Self Care. If we do not take care of ourselves, then we can not adequately do the things we have to do.  If my body is run down all the time, and if I don’t exercise, or eat right, or get enough rest, then other things begin to suffer.

  4. Spiritual Discernment.  I think we would all like to say that discernment from the Holy Spirit is what helps us make the right decisions…and I think that is true.  But that’s what makes saying no to good things so hard…so tricky.  We wrestle with whether or not the opportunity is of God for us to pursue, or of God for us to say no to. Calling and vocation all get wrapped up in this part.

I’m curious. How do you say no to good things? What good thing(s) have you recently said no to? What was your thought process?