Two Little Letters


Photo by: duncan c

Two little letters…


What is your history with the word NO?

Maybe it’s a memory of your mother telling you to stop pulling your sister’s hair…Or, maybe it’s your current experience of repeatedly telling your grandchild to stop kicking your dog…NO! Two little letters is all…but with potential to be quite a powerful word!

One way to look at the word is that is carries a negative connotation. Duh, you say! If I hear NO enough times, I might quit striving to do my best. Instead, I end up arranging my life so that I won’t hear people say NO to me…I don’t step out of the circle…I don’t dis-please Mom and Dad, my boss, my spouse, my teenage daughter. But taking no risks is risky…To quote a line by Andy Crouch that I’ve used before in this blog and often in my conversations:

True flourishing is always found

on the far side of risk …

But there’s another way to look at this word NO; in a positive light. When do I NEED to say no? Sometimes NO is good…

Someone has said,

There is no innocent YES…

What is meant by this is that my YES carries with it consequences – not always good ones. Saying YES will always mean I’m saying NO to something else; something that may actually be more important than what I’m saying NO to. Learning to say NO…to myself, to my kids…It can be risky…saying NO to a business opportunity. Saying NO to MORE. For me, saying NO to the 5thand 6th(or is it the 2ndand 3rdJ) cookie…Well, I guess that’s not risky…

Just this week, I said YES to too many things and ended the week utterly exhausted…I didn’t know at the start of the week that I’d said YES to too much. I didn’t know then the importance of saying NO this week. Only after the fact, with the benefit of hindsight, did I know how important it would have been to say NO to at least one or two things. There is no innocent YES. I was so exhausted I ended up in bed at 8:30 Friday night…Learning (and it is a learned behavior) to say NO takes time and effort, just like going to the gym.

Speaking for myself,

I need to build the muscle called NO.

IF I do, I think I’ll be glad I did…So will you!



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