Do you want to learn how to say no? Let me show you when to say yes and when to say no without feeling guilty or being rude. Learning to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!

two women sitting at a table

I had received an invitation to an event but had no desire to go. It was the type of invitation where you feel highly obligated to go but desperately hope you already have something scheduled on your calendar. (Sigh! Please tell me you’ve had the same dilemma!) 

After giving the situation quite a bit of thought, I decided to decline the invitation since it wasn’t something that I would enjoy.

I’m excited to teach you how to know when to say yes or no (with confidence). These tips have been life changing to me and I know they will help you too!

Learn To Say No To The Good So You Can Say Yes To The Best

Is it okay to say no?

The short answer is yes, it’s absolutely okay for you to say no!

I used to feel like a failure when I had to tell people no but now I’m realizing that’s not the case at all.

It’s taken me time to realize that I don’t have to (and can’t) do and be everything to everyone.

I’m learning that it’s okay (and actually very freeing) to say no and I want the same for you.

As you continue reading I hope you will be encouraged and freed up to begin saying no too, not out of spite or to be ugly to others but to be the healthiest person that God created you to be.

Why do I struggle to say no?

While there are a tons of reasons for finding it difficult to say no, here are the most common for me!

  • We don’t want to let people down.
  • We feel like we need to be everything for everyone.
  • We want to be the person that everybody wants to come to and hang out with.
  • We feel that saying no to people will cause them not to like us.

In her book The Best Yes, I love what Lysa TerKeurst says, “Saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me the wrong person for that assignment…every assignment isn’t for us.” 

If I say no to something, there’s somebody else that the Lord is going to use who will be able to say yes and get a blessing out of that situation. (And there’s a good chance that they can do it better than me.)

There will be times when your answer will be yes, and that’s great. Then there will be times when your answer has to be no because it’s not a fit for this season of your life. That’s okay, too.

woman blowing a dandelion

The importance of learning to say no.

Do you ever feel like you need to be everything to everyone and say yes every time you’re asked to do something? It’s mentally exhausting isn’t it?!

No is a word that our society doesn’t like to say. We flippantly say yes to everything without thinking of the huge impact these two little letters with a big meaning can make in our life.

Are you saying yes only out of obligation?

We don’t want to let people down…I get it. But saying yes only out of obligation is no way to live. 

I don’t know about you but the words from Crystal Paine’s book, Say Goodbye To Survival Mode, ring true to my heart.

“Stop letting people manipulate you into a miserable existence. Stop doing things because you feel obligated to do them. Stop doing things because you’re afraid of what people might think of you if you don’t do them. Stop over-committing yourself.”

Before you say yes, decide whether you’re doing it out of obligation or because it’s something you’ll truly enjoy. 

Why you should learn to say no.

When you learn to say no to extra commitments that drain you and aren’t life giving to you not only will your schedule free up and you’ll feel less overloaded but you’ll become less frazzled and a much healthier version of yourself. 

I love these two quotes:

“Saying yes to the best means focusing and streamlining your time, energy and efforts on what matters most at the time.” – Crystal Paine, Say Goodbye To Survival Mode

“Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman. It will make me a worn-out woman.” – Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes

two women talking

When to say yes and when to say no.

In The Best Yes Lysa shares how a young college student had asked if she could live with their family for a short season of time.

As you can imagine, this was a hard decision for Lysa. Her plate was full not only with her five children but also with her career. She explains how she was in turmoil.

Initially she felt that the right thing to do would be to say yes and agree to letting this young lady live with them for a short season. But she realized that this turmoil was a signal to her that the obvious answer may not be the best yes for her.

The four questions that she asked herself before making a decision are questions we need to be asking ourselves too!

Four questions to ask yourself before saying yes.

1. Does this fit physically?

2. Does this fit financially?

3. Does this fit spiritually?

4. Does this fit emotionally?

The first three questions she asked herself were pretty black and white for this particular situation.

  • She had the room in her house for her to fit physically.
  • She would be paying a small amount of rent so it was a fit financially.
  • The young lady wouldn’t keep her from digging into God’s Word, going to church, etc., so it was a fit spiritually.

But the fourth question is where Lysa had to really think about whether or not to say yes or no to this situation (and I love how she goes in depth in her book and teaches us how to figure out if something fits in our life emotionally.)

There’s no doubt about it, figuring out whether something fits emotionally is where most of us (or maybe just myself) struggle with whether or not to say yes.

So many times we automatically say yes without thinking about our emotional needs or whether or not it will drain us, take away precious energy or patience that is needed for us as an individual, or for our family.

Learn to say no without feeling guilty.

After saying no to the event invitation that I shared above I patted myself on the back because I was so proud of myself. 

But shortly afterwards I started to feel guilty and self-doubt crowded my mind. 

  • Am I a loser for not attending? 
  • Will I be letting the other attendees down? 
  • Why can’t I be more like ________?

Just as quickly as the self-doubt came the Lord spoke truth into my heart and reminded me of my pastor’s words, “Sometimes you have to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best.”

Give it time!

As you begin to say no more frequently the feeling of guilt will lessen. Yes, it will be awkward and hard at first but give it time and it will become easier.

When I learned when to say yes and when to say no (see below) it was a major game changer for me.

How do you say no nicely and without being rude?

As you begin to say no keeping in mind that you can’t do everything and be everything to everyone you’ll free yourself up.

Lysa Terkeurst says it beautifully, “Just remember not every responsibility can be your responsibility.” 

Here are a few ways to graciously say no that I learned from Lysa’s book, The Best Yes.

  • While my heart wants to say yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.
  • I’m sorry but I can’t give it the attention it deserves.
  • While I would love to get together for _________ my previous commitments with _______ make this one of those seasons when I must decline lovely invitations. Thank you for thinking of me. Knowing you’d want to get together is an encouraging gift.

Each “yes” or “no” situation is going to be unique so I want to encourage you to learn the four questions to ask yourself before saying yes that we talked about above.

As you’re learning how to say no remind yourself that you’ll have to say no to a few good things so you can say yes to the best things!

I mentioned these books quite a few times in this article which means they’re excellent resources that you need to check out!

If this article helped you to learn how to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best, you should definitely check out: