It’s okay to say no

Do you or your teen struggle with saying no? You do know, it’s okay to say no, right?

A few teens I know struggle with the lie that they have to do more and to be more. In high school, it seems the pressure is super high to prove you have the best GPA or you’re the best athlete or you need the most scholarship money or the most friends. Pressures attack on every side: peers, teachers, guidance counselors, principals, bosses, parents, siblings, neighbors.

Yes, we want them to put forth their best efforts, but this striving for perfection isn’t healthy. And, sorry adults, but I think we promote this unhealthy behavior.

Saying no helps us keep balance

Saying no is a gift to yourself. If you let them, people will just take, take, take until you have nothing left to give. We need to demonstrate balance in our own lives, and we need to teach our kids to prioritize. Concentrate on what’s most important first, and let the rest go if necessary.

It might help to ask the question, “Will this matter in a year or five years?” If it doesn’t, then maybe a reassessment is in order.

What a shame that we continue to promote the lie that leaves us empty. It ought to stop. We can stop it by setting one person at a time free from this endless rat race mentality that leaves us exhausted and stressed.

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” (NLT)

I have failed my own kids by my example of pushing myself. But I’m going to try to fix that now, in hopes of saving them some grief. Certainly, there are kids who aren’t ambitious who need some prodding. I’m not talking about those kids who could benefit with some direction and encouragement. I’m talking about the kids who work hard already, but the adults in their sphere keep pushing and encouraging competition after competition.

Competitions aren’t healthy if a person isn’t invigorated and energized and others aren’t inspired and blessed. If it’s all about being better than everyone else then it’s a losing proposition.

Changing thought patterns will help

Forcing the time and place only brings unhappiness. I want what I want. I wish it for now, not tomorrow. We’re a selfish, greedy bunch sometimes. However, God knows best, so we need to learn to wait, learn patience, and learn to look at what another’s agenda is and compare it to ours. Does it match? No? Then maybe we should walk away.

What God has for you to do is not the same as what He has for me to do. It is okay to say no. We can’t possibly do everything. We just can’t. If you have no peace about it, it’s not worth it. Say no. That’s the beauty of life! We can try different activities for a time and then try something else. We can drop an activity and choose something new. It might just be the exciting gift you’ve been dreaming of! It’s not a failure to make a change. It’s wise.

Whose voice will you listen to?

I found this chart somewhere. I think it is helpful for us all, but the younger you learn it, the better your life will be.

God’s voice stills. Satan’s voice rushes.

God’s voice reassures. Satan’s voice frightens.

God’s voice leads. Satan’s pushes.

God’s voice enlightens. Satan’s confuses.

God’s voice forgives. Satan’s condemns.

God’s voice calms. Satan’s stresses.

God’s voice encourages. Satan’s discourages.

God’s voice comforts. Satan’s worries.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect you agree. You want to listen to God’s voice not Satan’s. You want your children to listen to God’s voice, not Satan’s. Flee from the lies!

Choose to get off the broken hamster wheel

Oh, precious friend, please choose this day to take control of your life by choosing what is best for you right now. Weigh your decisions. Ask what is it that God would have me do? Then follow in that path. If you are feeling rushed, frightened, pushed, confused, condemned, stressed, discouraged, worried—that isn’t the life God has for you, and it isn’t the life your parents want you to have either.

Be free! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Not everything is good or helpful for you. Not everything is beneficial (See 1 Corinthians 10:23).

Let’s destroy the broken hamster wheel and rest in the peace that comes from choosing what God wants for us for this time. Let’s say no when we ought and teach our kids it’s okay to say no when too many yeses have caused them to stress.

What change do you want to make today?

For more on this topic, visit https://www.michellekaderlywelsh.com/choosing-college-career/

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “It’s okay to say no

  1. As one who finds it hard to say no, I thoroughly agree, Michelle. It took me into adulthood to accept that, and admittedly, I still struggle with it at times, but for the most part it has saved me from a lot of nervous frustration because I couldn’t “do it all.” Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Yes, it can be difficult for us to say no. I hope we can help others to avoid the stresses collected from not taking time to assess priorities before committing. If our young people can embrace this at a younger age, perhaps it could bring fewer frustrations and more peace to them. We would all be happier if we tended to be more God-pleasing than people pleasing. Thanks for sharing, Donna. I hope you have a good week.

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