The Importance of Saying No to Good Things

saying no

Saying no isn’t really popular these days, is it?

We’re so focused on all the things we want/need to say YES to; saying NO seems like a bit of a downer. In our society of “do all the things! be anything you want! put yourself out there and be brave!” saying no comes across as lame. Maybe even lazy.

But in reality, we all say no multiple times every day. Every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another. And sometimes you need to say no to good things in order to say yes to the best things.

Last month, I came across a Planning for Fall workbook. I have a very big life change coming up this fall called baby #4. I’m also homeschooling my 2 older kids (K5 & 1st grade) and supporting my husband as he works in ministry and begins his 3rd year of PhD classes. Those are the 3 main things going on this fall that I’m saying YES to. The most helpful part of this workbook was the section where I listed out what I was going to say NO to this season. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off,


  • R E C O V E R      
    • [from giving birth to baby girl]
  • S A V O R             
    • [the unique life stage of a newborn]
  • L O V E                 
    • [my husband & children, though my hormones will be crayzeeee]
    • [God, through the way I think & use my time]
    • [this season of life, instead of wishing everything back to normalcy]


  • I expect this will be a time of temporary upheaval for our family – especially for me as I adjust to a plethora of changes in my body, personal time, sleeping patterns, and energy level. My husband will go through changes as he adjusts from 3 to 4 kids as well as an extra tired & hormonally imbalanced wife. My 3 older kids will need to adjust to Mommy’s new needs as well as having a new sibling requiring so much attention.
  • I expect God’s provision physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually to be increasingly evident.
  • I expect God’s grace to be incredibly abundant.

And it’s focusing on that last expectation that causes my heart to be at peace instead of freaking out at the expectations ahead. I expect some pretty big changes to take place this season. Some of them I know about; others I don’t. But I know – know – that God already knows about them. He’s the One Who planned them. And He’ll give grace to go through them in a way that glorifies Him. What confidence there is in resting in our grace-filled, grace-giving God!



Here are the things I plan to say no to this season:

  • feeling rested & comfortable [hello, nursing]
  • lots of personal reading time
  • regular blogging
  • creative, varied meals
  • lots of time out of the house
  • big birthday parties for my 3 big kids
  • looking like I didn’t just give birth

Let’s pause for a minute, shall we? Check out the 4th thing I’m saying no to this season: “creative, varied meals.” At first glance, this may seem like a lazy statement. “What? She’s not cooking different meals all the time? She’s not even making that a goal??” To put it frankly, no – I’m not.

Different seasons call for different pursuits. The season of new motherhood calls for the pursuit of physical recovery – not just from giving birth, but from the logistics of adding another tiny human into our family. Since I’m quite familiar with the taxing nature of such a proposition, I’m choosing to focus most of my energy into this little person and the rest of my family instead of the art of cooking. We will still eat, albeit non-creative or super varied meals. I’ve done some freezer cooking to try to make up for that dearth (here and here are some recipes I use) and I think my family will fair pretty well during this season of no to creative, varied meals. Is it a good thing to cook healthy, varied meals for my family? Of course! But sometimes you need to say no to good things for a season so that you can focus on the main thing God has for you. In my case, it’s a new baby. In your case, it’s probably something else.


Have you taken time to think through your next season of life?

Even if you’re not expecting a huge life change, taking time to pray and write out goals for the next months can be a very grounding experience as you prepare for upcoming responsibilities, potential changes, and holidays. As you think through what the Lord has given you to accomplish during this next season, take time to pray through what He wants you to say NO to…even if it’s a good thing. I can’t tell you what to say no and yes to, but I’ve found God to be true to His Word in giving wisdom when we ask for it. Go ahead – take Him up on that promise!


thanks to Jess Connolly for creating the Fall Into Freedom workbook.
If you want to plan through your fall like I did, you can snag a workbook [it’s free!] from Jess here.

One comment

  1. Kristin says:

    I love what you say about meals. We had our 6th baby in January and though I now had 8 people to feed (7 eaters, 1 nurser 🙂 ), I had to give up the creativity part. More specifically, I needed to give up the TIME it takes to be creative. Add to that the fact that we discovered the baby was intolerant to cow milk protein in my breastmilk which meant me limiting my dairy consumption. My solution was to write up a simple 1- month meal plan. There were lots of repeats and easy ideas, but it took all the thinking out of cooking and grocery shopping. We used the plan for May, June, and July, and we modified if for August because we had grown weary of eating a few things. 😉 That’s the jist of it, but if you want to see more, I did write about it on my blog:

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