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 it boldly even though it often resulted in some form of correction? Today, that tiny, two-letter word is much harder to say – even when you really want to say it.

Last week, I said no to something. It was a good something – a tempting something. A few weeks earlier and I probably would not have said no, but God has been working on me. He has been teaching me things and revealing bits of me that I would rather not see.

He’s asked me to look back and take note of the reasons I have agreed to do things in the past. Things like desiring significance, wanting to please others, not wanting to miss out on an opportunity. Sometimes my yes was to make someone else happy or to avoid disappointing them. 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.

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

Structure, or 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 boundaries will be fuzzy causing me to say yes when the better answer is no.

Has saying “yes” led to frustrating complications 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 over committed?

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

1. You already have enough

Leaders like you know how to get things done. You are capable. You love a challenge. You like to make a difference. That does not mean that you need to do everything you are capable of doing. Be selective. Choose to do only the things that you really enjoy, that best utilize your strengths, and that you believe God has called you to do. Learn to be satisfied and grateful. Get creative. Make more out of the opportunities you already have.

2. Less is more

When you can learn to say no to opportunities that are not right for you, it will allow you to focus more on the few things you know you are supposed to be doing. Increased focus translates to increased effectiveness and success. Saying no opens the door for someone else who may be a better fit or that can grow and develop by the experience.

3. Live in alignment with your values

What criteria are you using to evaluate the opportunities that come your way? If you have clarity around your values, then you can use them to help determine which options are best. Compromising will make you miserable. Better to just say no and avoid potential pain.

4. Allows you to focus on your purpose

Can you state your purpose in a concise phrase or sentence? Being crystal clear on your purpose naturally creates a filter that allows you to sort through the options that come your way. How hard have you worked to work to make opportunities fit God’s purpose for your life?

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 unfortunate circumstances 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).

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 things will bring powerful opportunities and blessings. Saying no often requires you to trust God – trust that He will take care of you and orchestrate things in keeping with His promises.

7. Allows you to confront your fears

Ultimately, it is fear that causes us to say “yes” to the wrong things. Saying no forces you to face your fears. The more you say no, the more you will realize just how empowering that little word can be. It creates more space for the “right” opportunities, boosts your confidence and focus, and you will be able to pour more into the things that will ultimately matter.

After saying no I had peace. I was also given the chance to take advantage of the same opportunity later, when perhaps the timing and situation will be more favorable. I anticipate other positives popping up along the way as a result of saying no – things I would not have been able to see at the time.

How easy does saying no come to you? How would your life or leadership 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?

Struggling to clarify your values, purpose, or season? Why not partner with a Certified Christian Life Coach? I’d be honored to partner with you!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / aquir

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas

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


  1. Avatar 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 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. Avatar 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 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. Avatar 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 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. Avatar 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 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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