saying no to say a bigger yes (& breaking busy).

Sometimes I feel like I say no more than I say yes. 

Sometimes my no is a hearty one, modeled after the three-year old who’s taken up residence in our house, but sometimes it’s a rather roundabout, passive aggressive weakling who doesn’t want to be found disappointing the person who’s asked.

Sometimes saying no makes me feel empowered, and sometimes it makes me feel like I’m making a mistake, like I’ll risk never being asked again. Sometimes I don’t want to feel like I’m living in such a liminal space of not knowing if a yes will come again, so I find myself throwing pennies into a wishing well of maybes, holding onto what was and what will be.

Superhero kid
Photo cred: Maria Portas.

Sometimes no is clear, but if I’m honest, most of the time it’s not. Most of the time it’s paired next to more questions than answers, at least in the present moment.

But there is power in saying no.

I’ve written about it before (and I loved my friend Suzanne’s thoughts last summer, too), but when and if I really think about it, here’s the truth: I’m a big fan of saying no in order that we might say a bigger yes.

See, here’s the thing: all of us – every human to grace this good earth – has been given a specific, unique set of gifts. There’s something that makes you you, and me me, and them them. And I believe we’re supposed to lean into and chase after and really believe in our heart of hearts that this something is who we are.

So what is your something?

My friend Cheyanne, whom I met the first day or week or month of college my freshman year, has an obvious something that marks and sets her apart from everyone else. I’ve seen this gift for almost twenty years now, and I’m guessing it existed within her long before her eighteenth year.

The gift she gives the world is generosity. It positively oozes from her.

Just yesterday, I sent her a text, asking if she’d read Between the World and Me, because we talk and we bond over books and I knew that book would strike something in her aching insides.

And this was her reply: “Actually I have bought 3 copies of this book and given it to boys to read every time…” Generous is she who three different times buys a copy of the same book, and three different times gives it to someone who needs it more than she does.

Cheyanne is a high school administrator in an extremely urban and diverse district on the East Coast. Daily, she puts her something – the gift of generosity – to work as she interacts with her students and staff. This is just what she does. This is just who she is.

So, what is your something? Maybe, or perhaps more specifically, what were you made and created to do? And how then might you say a hearty no so you can say a bigger yes?

Author, blogger and speaker Alli Worthington calls this saying no to say a bigger yes editing. In her new book, Breaking Busy (which release tomorrow), she writes:

“Editing is our way to throw off our hindrances, to clear out the things that aren’t part of God’s perfect yes for our lives. Editing can be one of the most powerful tools to break the cycle of busyness in our lives. Finding God’s yes in a world of options requires us to truly take stock of the things in our lives that have us constantly in motion.”

Regardless of your faith preference (as Alli directs her words toward Christian women), I too think there’s a perfect yes for all of our lives. There’s something you were made and created to do, and editing your now-world might mean saying a hard no in order to say an even bigger yes. 

And that makes me stoked.

That makes me want to say a hearty yes, yes, yes as I shout a booming no. Might it be the same for you?

Xo, c.

SO many things we could talk about: how are you at saying no? How have you said no lately in order to say a bigger yes? What were you MADE to do? And how badly do you need to break busy so you might live more fully? 

*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links, yo. Don’t be a hater.

4 thoughts on “saying no to say a bigger yes (& breaking busy).

  1. “I’m a big fan of saying no in order that we might say a bigger yes.”

    Me too. I learned this from a friend who explained how she responded to requests for her to join a ministry or other effort. She’d say, “If you need my answer right this minute, the answer is no. If you can give me time to think it over, I might be able to say yes.”

      1. Love this! Hmmm, sometimes I say NO just to be a contrarian. 😉 I love the idea of doing it for a bigger YES. You are wise momma.

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