Saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes.” Throughout the majority of my life i used to struggle with saying yes to everything until I had something to stand for. These things i stand for would be morals, integrity, and my own personal convictions. If i were to say yes to everything there would be times where I’d commit a crime to myself by not keeping my commitments. My goal for this post isn’t to convince you to being a person who says no to everything driving yourself into isolation, my goal is to open your eyes to keeping your life balanced with work, play, and rest.
At my job I am on really good terms with my boss. I made a commitment to myself that as long as I am with this company I will keep pursuing a higher position. Right now i am on track to moving up and Just waiting for a few interviews to happen. One of the reasons I feel my boss and I are on really good terms is because I make myself available to help her and I’ve proven to be dependable. Sometime last year, while i was developing this track record with my boss, I said yes to everything. When someone would call out of their shift I would come to work for her. When there was extra work that needed to be done such as a store set up or cleaning I’d volunteer as tribute. While i was developing the reliability of my name I was also hurting myself. I gave myself no time for rest, no time for fun, and no time for studying. I now have set a personal practice of not over prioritizing work.
This past summer and fall I was a freshly released graduate. I spent the previous three years on a nonstop busy schedule jam packed with school, practice, studying, work, and more studying. Over the summer i got into a bad habit of a late night video game schedule and a terrible sleeping pattern. When the fall came and the school season didn’t start for me i became lost. After the constant busyness of a School of Ministry schedule it was weird to have nothing to do, so with the help of all the great fall releases in video games i retreated to hibernation with my Xbox. I soon came to the realization that I made this an idol so i stopped gaming for a while to re-prioritize my life. Along with that rut i fell into the laziness spread to my sleep. For the majority of my life I was a person who’d always be awake before 7 a.m. Any later than that was really rare. Over this last fall i found myself in bed until 2 p.m. and I was extremely mad at myself. These things opened my eyes to all the things I’ve said yes to and all the things i need to say no to.
It’s too easy to say yes to comfort and laziness. I want to challenge you to say no to a comfortable life. We’re often told “take more risk” but the risk being something like chop your hair off of jump out of a plane. We’ve reduced risk taking to be an event where the most valuable reward is a memory that stops after that moment. I want to convince you that taking risk shouldn’t be a hallow event but it should be a meaningful decision alters the direction of your life. One great risk I took in my life was going to a school of ministry. My father wasn’t for it and my finances weren’t the best, but I took the risk completed the school and it helped turn me into the man I am today, I am joyful, motivated, and inspired all because of how that great risk changed my life. The three years were definitely not comfortable, I rarely had a clue on how tuition was going to get paid and how money for missions trips would come in but it did and I’ve learned to live uncomfortably. Now I am growing comfortable because I am living with my aunt and uncle semi-grown up. So I pay rent but that’s as far as my responsibility goes. I am currently in process of living out my no to comfort by searching for a place to live and move up to a different position at my job. I recently took a risk of trying to become an insurance agent and I ended up having to back out of it because I learned it wasn’t for me. It was a great opportunity to be able to work alongside one of my best friends make some money and wear nice clothes all the time but I had to say no because the studying was killing me and affecting my performance at the job i know I am supposed to be at in this current season.
I know i went off on a tangent about risk but the main point i want to get across is that your “no” is just as important as your “yes.” Develop boundaries with things you stand for, things that are nonnegotiable in your life and say no to things that try to compromise that. Say no to things that have a negative effect on your life and health. And say no to the mediocrity of a normal settled life. Keep climbing.