The Power of Saying “No”

There, I said it…

Those 2 little letters have gotten the best of me for a lifetime.

John Kenneth Gailbraith’s housekeeper never had a problem saying no. One day President Lyndon Johnson called the Galbraith house wanting to talk to the great economist, who had lain down for a little shut-eye. “He’s taking a nap and has left strict orders not to be disturbed,” said the housekeeper. Johnson replied, “Well, I’m the President. Wake him up.” The response: “I’m sorry, Mr. President, but I work for Mr. Galbraith, not for you.” Click.

Been on vacation for this past week – staying at a great little bungalow on Clearwater Beach.

5 objectives:

1 – connect with my family

2 – disconnect from the world

3 – relax

4 – finish re-reading the CS Lewis classic – The Screw Tape Letters

5 – evaluate life

Packing up tonight, I’ve accomplished 4 of the 5. Number four almost happened!

#5 was a big one.  I have realized that my business has diluted my effectiveness.  So at midnight tonight, after a long walk on a longer starlit shoreline, I rinsed off the sand from my most favorite shoes…errr…sandals in the whole world – Sanuks, and sat down to type out this email:

Hey Bro,

Will you hear my heart for just a moment?

I have spent the past week of vacation taking a look at what I am doing, within every commitment.  I don’t need to tell you that I’m pulled 1,000 ways – you are too.  But after a week of reflection and then a two hour walk on the beach alone tonight, I am certain that I am not to lead a small group.

I must ask you to forgive me.  I told you yes because I love you.  I told you yes because I love Grace.  I told you yes because my heart hurts for those young men who face a life full of challenges.  But I should have not said yes.  I had begun to dilute my personal giftings and effectiveness with doing good things.  I have not been as sharp this past year because of begin stretched too thin.  If nothing else, this vacation has opened my eyes to this very fact.

So:

Will you please forgive me for saying yes, then saying no?  I only know one speed and that is “all out”, and those young people deserve more.

I hope you understand and still love me.

-roy

That was so hard for me.

But they deserve the best of me….

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for this post, Roy. Too often we forget that the most important ministry we have is to our families. I had to say “no” to leading a small group this past spring, and in fact, I’ve had to say “no” to participating in a small group this fall because I’m already in an even smaller discipleship group weekly with 3 other men (including our senior pastor).

    Even more encouraging is that our pastor MAKES us say “no” when we have too much on our plate…

  2. Saying no will afford you the opportunity to say yes to the 5 most important people in your life. Hard, I know, but definitely well worth it.

  3. Posted by Gravesland on August 28, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    I’ll use the words you sent me last week….

    “Love you bro…”

  4. Posted by Mom on August 28, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    I am proud of you my son for I know that this was hard for you. Mom

  5. Posted by mattmaldo on August 28, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    Well as sad as I am for not being able to attend this meeting every monday, I’m still happy i know your doing it for the right things =]

    P.s. I still get to see you like everyday =] I’m lucky enough to learn from the wisdom God has given you =]

  6. It’s always difficult to say no “good things”. But the truth is, we have a limited amount of time and energy to spend and sometimes “good things” can distract us from our highest priorities. Thanks for reminding us to focus so we can be most effective. By the way, great picture of you and your girls! Miss you and your family!

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