For some of us learning to say no is a difficult thing. I know not everyone has this issue, but for me it is a reality. The issue becomes even worse when you have to say no to a great opportunity. The truth is that every time we say yes to something, we are in return saying no to something else. We only have so many hours in the day, and so many days in the week. As I see it the real danger comes as we keep saying yes to more and more. When we do this we typically end up saying no to things that should really be a priority in our life. We only have this one life to live. We can’t go back and redeem the time. This is why it is so important to learn to say no, but even more important than that is setting priorities. When we are asked what our priorities are in our life, or even what we want to be known for we can give a list of what we deem to be important. Our relationship with our spouses, our children, and family members usually top the list. Also our relationship with God (if you are into that kind of thing) also makes the list. We say we want to give back and contribute to society and help those in need. Yet in the mix of all that we say yes to why does it seem that the very things we set as a priority are the very first things that get cut from our schedule.
Now I’m not making a case for being lazy. We shouldn’t say no to everything. In fact sometimes we need to say yes and get off our butt and go do something. This is more about taking the time to understand what our priorities are in life and then saying yes to making time for them. There are moments and situations when we do say yes to something but understand that something else will need to be said no to. What we must not say no to are our families and relationships. We can’t say no to our relationship with God either (once again if you are into that sort of thing). We can’t say no to serving and giving back. Living a disciplined life means saying no to really great opportunities. There is no way we can do it all, though at times we try. We end up burned out and have no time for the things that are really important in life. This is something I must constantly remind myself about. At the end of my time here on earth I want to look back and know that I did the best I could with my time. It is easy to identify the things we waste our time on, but it takes diligence to identify the good things we sometimes need to let go of. This is not so we can have more leisure time for TV, internet, vacations, sports and all the other things we fill our days with. Not that those are bad things. Rather it is about having the time to give to those things we say are a priority in our lives.