Just Say "No"!

Why it might revolutionize your life.

My life hit the fan one ordinary weekend.

I was in the midst of running errands when it happened. I'd just settled into my car seat when I realized I'd forgotten the bills I intended to mail. As I dashed inside, the phone rang.

"Hey, Mona," my friend said cheerfully. "I haven't seen you in ages. Want to get together today?"

"Uh, sure, what time?" I said, distracted by my "to do" list. We set up the time and place, and I hung up the phone.

Then, on my way back to the car, I did something that startled even me: I sat down on the big rock by my driveway and cried so hard, I couldn't catch my breath.

Later that night, after my three-year-old was tucked into bed, I pondered why my friend's phone call had brought me to tears. My emotional meltdown showed me how stressed-out I was by life's demands—many of them self-induced. I needed to take better charge of my life. After all, God hadn't created me to run around constantly "chasing the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14)—which was exactly what I felt I was doing!

The answer to my problem narrowed down to a simple word: "No." But the problem was that "yes" rolled off my tongue so easily that "no" seemed cumbersome … even embarrassing. So if someone needed snacks for the office, I'd bring them. If my child's playgroup was meeting, I organized not only the activity, but the crafts too. Add all this to working full-time, or full-time-plus when a rush project came along, and it's no wonder I was exhausted. Eventually I taped a neon "Just Say NO!" sign to my phone. Once I'd said "no" a few times, my lips began to form the word more confidently. It's still not easy, but I'm gradually gaining more balance in my life.

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