7 Reasons to Just Say NO!


When was the last time you said “no?”

Remember when you were a child and you dared to proclaim “NO” with gusto even though that choice often resulted in some form of correction?

That tiny, two-letter word is much harder to say now – even when you really want to say it.

Over the last few years, God’s been working on me. I’ve gotten better at saying no even to good opportunities – tempting opportunities. In the past, I would not have said no. I would have stretched myself thin and made myself crazy just to not miss out on what could be.

Looking back and taking note of the reasons I’ve agreed to take on additional responsibilities, projects, or opportunities in the past I’ve learned some valuable lessons. The desire for significance, wanting to please others, or not wanting to miss out on an opportunity have all been driving factors.

To be honest, sometimes my “yes” was out of a desire to feel important, to make someone else happy, or to avoid disappointing others. Other times I felt obligated – after all, I had the skills, I liked doing that thing, and the biggest of all – there was a need. Yes, the really needed me!


Rather than finding my significance or identity in what I do, God wants me to find my significance in Him. He wants me to build my life around Him. He’s whispered the word structure to me. He wants to be my structure.

Structure or a framework provides form and stability to a building, a bridge or, in my case, my life. Structure makes it possible to resist stress and strain. Without God as my structure, my life will be unstable and prone to sagging or collapsing under stress. Without Him as my framework, my identity will be fuzzy causing me to say yes when the better answer is no.

Has saying “yes” led to frustration and a strain on your life? As a result of saying yes, have you actually gotten further from where you hoped to be; where God desires you to be? Has your original vision gotten muddy? Are you too over-committed to pursue what you were truly meant to be or do?

Consider these positive reasons to practice the art of saying “No!”

1. Your Plate is Full Enough!

People like you know how to get things done. You’re capable. You love a challenge. Making a difference brings you joy! And if you are like me, there are a wide variety of projects, leadership roles, activities, etc. that you get excited about. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to do everything you are capable of doing. Your capacity is limited, so be selective. Choose to take on only what…

  • You truly enjoy
  • Best utilizes your strengths and personality
  • Aligns with your values
  • You believe God has called you to do/be

When you limit what you take on it frees you up to devote more of your energy in fewer responsibilities so that you can have a far greater impact. Not only does taking on less teach you to be more satisfied and grateful, it also enables you to be more creative. Plus, it allows you to make more of the opportunities you already have and that’s a good thing!

You don’t have to do it all!

2. You Get That Less is More

When you learn to say no to opportunities that are not right for you or not the best use of your time, it allows you to have more focus on what you are supposed to be doing. That increased focus makes you more effective and successful.

And, have you ever considered that saying no opens the door for someone else? Someone who might even be a better fit or that will benefit from growing and developing through the experience?

You are more successful when you invest your limited capacity in fewer responsibilities.

3. You Desire Balance In Your Life

The more you take on, the more you need to invest in activities that refuel you. For me those kinds of activities would be…

  • Spending time with God
  • Exercising/preparing healthy meals
  • Connecting with family and friends
  • Reading
  • Activities that make my heart happy – I call those activities “my ♥ things” which I try to do something every day that brings me joy
  • Relaxing – enjoying down time

When life gets too full with too many responsibilities, the activities that fuel you get squeezed out upsetting the balance in your life.

Remember you are more than what you DO. You also need time to BE.

4. Frees Up Time to Dedicate to Your Purpose

Are you able to state your purpose in a concise phrase or sentence? Being crystal clear on your purpose naturally creates a filter for the options that come your way. Without clarity around your purpose it won’t guide you when someone asks you to take on something new.

How are your responsibilities connected to your purpose?

5. Stay True to Your Season

The temptation is to believe that if you don’t take advantage of an opportunity right now, it will never come your way again. Sometimes you even force things to happen rather than waiting, ignoring the ramifications of stepping into an opportunity prematurely. Often times, those choices lead to consequences that linger long into the future.

Remember how Abraham chose to conceive Ishmael with Hagar rather than waiting for Isaac? Ishmael turned out to be the son that scripture describes as a “bucking bronco of a man, a real fighter, fighting and being fought, always stirring up trouble, always at odds with his family.” (Genesis 16:12 MSG).

No forcing! Every season of life is different. What’s best for this season?

6. Stretches Your Trust in God

Thankfully, Abraham had many other faith-filled moments, like when God called him to leave his home and venture to a new land or when God asked him to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac. Saying yes to the right activities brings powerful opportunities and blessings.

On the flip side, saying no often requires a tremendous amount of trust in God – trust that He has your best in mind and that He will take care of you and keep His promises.

Do you trust Him enough to say no?

7. Encourages You to Confront Your Fears

Ultimately, it’s fear that causes us to say “yes” to the wrong things. Fear that we will miss out, fear that we will disappoint someone, or fear that we won’t achieve success. Fear that______________ – you fill in the blank!

Saying no encourages you to face your fears. The more you say no, the more you realize just how empowering that little word can be. You’ll be surprised at how saying no brings you a sense of purpose and peace. Saying no creates more space for the “right” opportunities, increases your confidence and focus, and you’ll be free to pour your energy into what ultimately matters most.

Fear is only powerful if you give it permission to rule you!

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself…

How easy does saying no come to you?

How would life and work be different if you said no more often?

What most frequently drives you to say yes when you should say no?

What perk would saying “no” allow you to enjoy?

Originally posted on 2/3/15 – this post has been revised & updated just for you!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / aquir


Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Vicki on February 4, 2015 at 10:59 am

    This is a really timely post for me, Marvae, as I am trying to make a decision about involvement in a wonderful ministry that could be as vast or as small as I determine. Or, I could say “no” to all of it. This is huge for me right now, and I appreciate your nuggets of wisdom! I especially love what you shared about God wanting to be your structure! I need that too!

    Bless you!


    • Marvae on February 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

      So delighted to hear that this post was timely for you! It is so easy to get lured into what seem like great opportunities but are not the best opportunities for us for whatever reason. He does want to be our structure… our motivation for our choices. Praying that God shows you whether this ministry is right for you.

  2. Victoria Mininger on February 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Great post Marvae – Stopping in from Christian Women In Business – I love how you took us back to childhood and learning to embrace the “no” again. Maybe we stopped saying no because we became too afraid of the correction or imagined backlash? Very thought provoking for me. I have been working to say No to a lot more things in my life as part of simplifying and getting back to basics. Love this post and plan to share it over on the Simplified Life Facebook page today! Thanks! ~Victoria

    • Marvae on February 11, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Victoria – Delighted you stopped by! No is definitely a part of simplifying. If we keep adding and adding to our life things get messy and complicated. Maybe more than punishment we fear the disapproval or disappointment of others or even what we might miss out on by saying no. That sense that we are sure of who we are, and being content and satisfied makes saying no much easier!

      Thanks for sharing the post on your Facebook page!

  3. April on February 12, 2015 at 2:35 am

    Your insight into the potential positives that can result from saying “no” are a fresh approach and have made me stop and think. Beyond the question of filling my plate too full of good things, is the opportunity in line with my values and my focus for this season of life? As I shared on an earlier post, my word for this year is “focus.” You’ve pointed out one more area in which I can and should do exactly that. Thank you!

    • Marvae on February 12, 2015 at 6:49 am

      No is a fabulous way to focus! Delighted to hear this post made you stop and think.

  4. Linda on February 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Hi there! Great insight you have there. I say no a lot… at least I do now. Nothing is better for me then inner peace, taking the time to be with me, so… But I also say YES YES YES…. when I mean it, when I want it , when I love it. Yes has so much more energy, when no can be said… 😉



    • Marvae on February 14, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Thanks for stopping by Linda. Saying no helps to make space for the things you really want to say yes to. I appreciate that you pointed out “really mean it” as well!

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