When Saying No, Means Saying Yes

“Yes I would love to lead the Women’s Ministry!”

“Yes my husband and I can lead a small group, especially since it is a really big need right now.”

“Okay if you can’t find anyone else, I could be the Secretary for the school PTO.”

“Sure I can help plan the meals for church.”

“Wow! I would really love to be in that Beth Moore Bible Study.  Let me think about it, but I probably can.”

“Sure I can help plan the annual work Christmas Party.”

“What?! You are going to have a once a month girl’s night out?!?!  Of course I would looove to go!”

Does this list sound familiar to you?  Yes, yes, yes, sure, yes, okay, yes!  Let me ask you….Are you tired?

My personality draws me to be a part of every opportunity and every need that comes my way. Maybe you can identify with me? Maybe you are the yes, okay, sure, uh huh mom too?  I want to encourage you today tired mama, it is okay.

Okay. to. say. no.

I have had to learn this the hard way, but once you accept the ministry that God has given you at home with your family as your first priority, there is freedom.  There is freedom in not saying yes to every single thing that comes your way. You come to realize that in saying no, you are actually saying yes.  Saying yes to the ones that need you the most right now.  In your quest to save the world, don’t forget about them.


Friends would you join me and Joy from Gracefull Mama in January as we embark on a journey to learn to be moms who say yes?  We will learn how to know when to say yes and when to say no, how to organize our priorities to keep our family first, and so much more!  I can’t wait for this series, and this movement of moms who will rise up, saying YES to their homes and their families!  Grab the button below and put it in your sidebar if you are joining in this with us!  On Twitter we will use the hashtag #YESmoms!  This will also coincide with our new Better Mom Monday’s Link-up starting January 2nd, so get those posts ready! 

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  1. Llewsilla says

    Years ago I learned a very important skill. When asked anything I ALWAYS respond, “I can’t answer that right now, I need to (think about that, ask my husband, check my calendar, etc). It gives me the space and breathing room to step back and think things through from every angle and to talk with my husband. Somehow it seems that people think stay-at-home/homeschooling moms have lots of extra time (don’t I wish!). I love to serve and fill needs – thank you for reminding me and giving me the freedom to say yes to those I love the most!

    • Anonymous says

      Yes I love that Llewsilla….that is definitely an important thing to do! I also want to fill needs all of the time, which is why I need to write this series for myself as well! Thank you for sharing and thank you for joining with us here at The Better Mom. Blessings to you! -Ruth

  2. says

    Like Llewsilla, I learned not to respond immediately with a yes. I always say something like, “that sounds great but let me consider it for a few days to see if it is something I can commit to.” Even still it is hard to say no when it is something you really want to do but might not be the right time. That is where I have problems. I’m excited about this. :)

    This is a great idea, Ruth! I’ll definitely help spread the word.

    • Anonymous says

      Yes Amy, I get so excited about things that I just want to be a part of it all! But it is so true that we just can’t be a part of EVERYTHING….sometimes it is not the right time! Thank you so much for helping to spread the word friend :).

  3. says

    Wow- can I relate! I too have had to learn to say No through trial and error, and getting overextended. I am a responder by nature, and have learned that I don’t have to respond to everyone’s needs. In saying No to others it has given me much more fulfillment in my time with my family and we have a much more peaceful home as a result. You are speaking my language in this post and I am thrilled to see you doing a series on it.

    Blessings sweet friend!

  4. Jan says

    Sadly, many well intentioned Christians will tell you that the bible says, “I can do all things… … ” Yes, it does; however, the Lord intends for us to use our brains and make wise decisions about our time. He does not intend for us to be so over-extended that we are of no use to anyone.
    Saying, “No, I am not in a position to do ‘that’ at this time,” holds no dishonor, for us or the Lord. On the contrary, it shows wisdom.
    I was caring for my dying mother-in-law, and the only respite I had was on Sunday mornings, my husband would relive me so I could go to church. At church, I was also the care-taker of all things green and growing. I had not been to the church for about a month, to water and feed the plants and yes, they were looking bedraggled. The Pastor’s wife, this one Sunday morning, stopped me from leaving and asked me to care for the plants before I left.
    My tummy did a flip flop, my heart sank, I gulped and said (while thinking of my dying mother in law), “No, I am not able to do that today.”
    I was met with a look of disbelief; however, I continued to explain the reasoning, and she let me go, rather unwillingly.
    My mother in law died within a few days… and then there was time to water…

      • Jan says

        Thank you, Sarah.. that was actually a turning point in my Christian walk. Many waters have gone under the bridge since then; I use that event in my life to teach others that, while we CAN do all things, we must focus on Priorities, because it’s human nature to load things onto willing shoulders.

    • Anonymous says

      Oh Jan it is so hard when we are facing hard times and it doesn’t seem to register with others. One thing I am thankful for is that by experiencing those things myself, it has taught me to be more sensitive to others when they are facing trials and hard times. Thank you for the reminder for all of us to be sensitive to the season someone is in. Thank you for joining us! Blessings to you :)

    • Anonymous says

      Jenifer I totally agree. Saying yes seems to come more natural then saying no. I actually tend to say yes, even when I am not asked **ahem**. I am ready to step up and get to work, but if that is not kept in line then my time is spent where it should not be. Thank you for joining us for this series! I look forward to it! :)

  5. says

    Oh! Over-commitment can suck the life right out of you! The BEST six words I ever learned to use were “Let me check with my husband!” It saved me from saying yes just to be nice, and gave me some time to check with the Lord and my husband!!

  6. says

    This is coming at a time when I am RIGHT THERE too! I’m even taking a 2 week vacation unplugged starting in just a couple of days, because the Lord has been wanting to have my full attention in this area too. I hope to join in with you all! :)

  7. Wendy Gunn says

    In my early years of motherhood and homeschooling I got totally overwhelmed, saying yes to everyone and everything–I thought it meant I was a “super” Christian, very spiritual, you know, to be doing so much for the Lord. I heard a wise older woman suggest that before saying yes to any request, we answer, “I need to ask my husband and I’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.” And we were encouraged to always take 24 hours to decide, sleeping on it and praying first, determining if this was something the Lord wanted us to do.

    This changed my life. Now, as an older Christian wife and mom, whose children are grown, I share this message with younger moms whenever possible, but I realize that the temptations to overbusyness do not stop when your children get older! We are busier than ever at times. I love your emphasis on “saying no is actually saying yes!” to the family and priorities which God has given and blessed you with! I don’t have this down, and still become overbooked and overwhelmed at times, but I totally believe in this concept of ministering first in your own home. Satan wants to steal our fruit by taking us away from home, so my theme song is “stay home and be content.” Your post is a great encouragement, and I look forward to the January series you are beginning. Thank you so much!
    Wendy Gunn

    • says

      Such wise advice, Wendy! Exactly what I had to learn to do. I also write out my priorities for the week, starting with God and I time, then nurturing my relationship with my husband, then special times for my kids and then others. It is amazing how little free time we have when we see it on paper…and it is no wonder we get so overwhelmed when we just jump in and say yes to be nice without praying for God’s wisdom and direction. :) Nice to meet you!

    • Joy says

      Wendy, Wow. I love hearing from women who have “gone before” giving such wise advice and hearing that they were blessed by their choices. As I embark on this series with Ruth, I would love to hear more from you on this topic! :)

    • Anonymous says

      Oh Wendy thank you so much for sharing! I just love what you had to say! Thank you for joining in this journey with us and sharing your wisdom. Blessings to you!

  8. says

    Definitely a wonderful idea! I’ll look forward to joining in.

    I’ve been speaking similar truth in my 12 year old daughter’s life … that every no is a yes and yes is a no. We can’t do everything, so we need to be so intentional about our commitments.

    • Anonymous says

      Thank you Lisa! We look forward to having you. I love that you are already instilling these ideas and values in to your daughter. What a great idea!

  9. says

    I can’t wait for this series, either! As a person who used to always say YES!, the Lord has been lovingly teaching me the truths you just said in your post..that saying NO! can be a good thing! It’s been life-changing and liberating!! Thanks for spreading the word about God’s expectations for all of us!

  10. Jan says

    You know, as I look back now on my experiences, many a “well meaning,” Christian has used that scripture, “I can do all things.. ” as a hammer of guilt, if another Christian declines to get involved. And many of us fall for it.
    I have learned how to say, “I’ll pass.” There is nothing that can be said against that response; there is no ground offered for further discussion. There is no apology for the fact that we cannot participate in a certain activity. We do not owe apologies; we are the best judge of what labor to pursue; not another.

  11. says

    I am looking forward to this! It is so easy to get so involved and want to do it all. When starting to homeschool, I wanted to be involved in everything. You know the whole “socialization” thing we stress about. I am over that now and I am taking the year off from everything outside of our homeschool. It has been the most stressful year of my life and I have been brought to a halt. The Lord is teaching me to rest in Him only.

    Sadly, many churches make it difficult to not feel guilty about saying no. There are so many programs and you could live at church. Please know that I am not saying that being involved in church is a bad thing. We can get too busy outside of our families doing good things. My children are still young, but I wish that I could go back and not be involved in all I was when they were small. My family is my first priority and the time will go by so fast. Thank you both for this series!

  12. says

    Oh wow, did you read my email or looked at my calendar?! LOL Sometimes I wish I would have said no in the beginning, rather than taking on something and then telling them later that I won’t be doing it anymore in the future.
    I took on a huge project at the school, wasn’t home for the entire day (until school ended!) and was out again the next day. I was also sick at that time. Husband told me that I need not be gone that long but also to stop taking on things that require much time like that. It’s okay to be at the school for a couple hours but for an entire school day is too much… Wow, talk about conviction. I felt bad and stepped down and will no longer be doing it. I did lose my peace too!

    So I will be learning how to say no or let me think about it! :D

  13. mcfitzwater says

    I’ve written devotional guides for our youth mission trips for several years, but last year I just had to say no. I try not to take on more than I can do with excellence, and I just had too much on my plate at the time. It broke my heart, because I love to write stuff like that. As it turns out the youth pastor ended up sharing a book called Under the Overpass with my kids, and it had a huge impact on them and subsequently many others. I’m so glad I said no!!!! This campaign to use caution in the yes-and-no is a really good idea. May God bless every woman who gives thought to what she does over the next month.

  14. says

    I struggle with this frequently. I find it very hard to say no when I really want to. If I do say no I feel guilty and end up doing it anyways. If I do say yes, I start to get overwhelmed with how many times I said yes. That is my bigger issue: keeping track of how many times I say yes. I finally got burnt out so bad I had to cancel everything. I felt horrible! Saying no is really not easy for me. I liked several of the suggestions your readers had in regards to saying ” I will have to check my…..”. That would work for me. Typically, I blurt out yes and then I get home and wrack my brain hoping I could get out of it.


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