The Power of No

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"The power of no" by Rakhi McCormick (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Rakhi McCormick. All rights reserved.

A few years ago, the Lord placed Mary’s fiat on my heart – her yes – being open to all that God was asking of me with an open heart. Being a people pleaser and conflict hater, I embraced the word with gusto. If a good thing was asked of me, surely that would be God’s desire.

Several years later, the word is still on my heart. In that time, we have said yes to two more children, a new home, and parent care, and experienced a few losses. We have taken on new responsibilities with work and ministry, we have changed jobs entirely – all with the desire to do as God asks.

Only recently has it also occurred to my people-pleasing, conflict-hating nature, that part of giving my fiat, part of saying yes, is the need to say no – even to good things. We (or at least I) cannot do all the things all at once. That means turning down an exciting ministry opportunity, or custom order, or travel plans. It means really surrendering and drawing close to God to hear what He wants of me in THIS moment. A good yes often requires an honest no.

Saying no, while it gives me knots in my stomach because I don’t want to disappoint people, frees me up to give more care to what God has asked me to say yes to today. Yes to my family. Yes to making a comfortable and inviting home. Yes to sitting with a friend who is grieving. The fact is that when I say yes to all things, I end up disappointing people anyway because I do not give them the care they deserve.

This is still a new skill I am learning, and the heart of it is making time for discernment. It needs silence and prayer and time to listen to where God is calling, and what God is anointing in my life. It requires me to be attentive to where there is fruit and peace, and where there is discontent and fear. Sometimes, it will require me to let go of things I love to do, so I can pay attention to what needs doing. Then I can return to the things I love with greater peace!

How do you decide what to say yes and no to in your life? How do you help your children make those decisions as they get older?


Copyright 2018 Rakhi McCormick

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About Author

Rakhi is a Catholic wife and mother who works in parish communications part-time while trying to keep up with her husband, three young children, and a growing creative business. She is a convert from Hinduism and spent many years working in young adult and campus ministry. Rakhi’s blog and artwork can be found at The Pitter Patter Diaries, where her mission is to share the love of Christ with the world.

2 Comments

  1. I am a pleaser too. As a middle child, I learned conflict resolution was doing what everyone else wanted. I agree with your message and try to be more deliberate about what I agree too. I think it gets easier the more we practice!

  2. I try not to respond to requests in the moment. I too am a people pleaser and don’t think very well on my feet. I always would give an immediate ‘yes’ and after contemplation, sometimes regret my ‘yes’ or just plain overextend as a result. Giving myself 10 minutes, an hour or two or even sometimes a day to decide has been such a blessing to my anxious self as well as to my family.

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