By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain
Friends called my daughter.
Being a good mother, I understood her need for privacy, so I washed dishes while I listened. (I don't think the ploy fooled Sarah). They wanted her to go to a party. Everything in her body language indicated stress: she twirled her hair with her fingers, frowned, licked her lips, tensed her shoulders.
After five minutes, Sarah asked, "Mom, can I go to a party tonight?"
Being the indulgent mom I am, I gave the only answer possible. NO.
Instantaneously, her body language changed. Sarah relaxed, flopped back in her chair, and a smile played around her lips.
Her voice defied the apparent relief when she resumed her conversation. "My MOTHER said no!"
When she hung up, she hugged me. Peer pressure made her want to turn down a party that would've involved no adult supervision. In addition, alcohol and boys would be involved. She had an excuse all teens understood--an unreasonable mother.
From this incident, I've learned key lessons in saying no:
Blame it on someone else.
How to say no:
- Blame God. In all your endeavors, you need to pray. That is understood in all my blog posts. However, if God has called you to do something else, or to forgo this particular request--tell people, this is not God's direction for you. This isn't a cop-out. It's obedience.
- Blame a spouse or parent. Of course, I'm not implying that you lie. My husband always admonishes me to stop taking on too many activities. Because my first priority is Neil, I listen. He's wiser than I give him credit for most time, and more correct than I. Sometimes I can turn down an activity because "my husband would be unhappy."
- Blame yourself. We all have gifts. Mine are with youth--birth to early twenties. I love working with this age group. Although everyone says I'm extroverted, I'm not. It's the teacher in me who can push through discomfort being on display and enjoy interacting in an extroverted manner. I'd rather sit on the sidelines. Choose ministries that enhance your personality.
Probably all of this comes back to "blaming God."
Remember: we are not saved by works. Jesus admonished Martha for overworking even though every thing she did was good. Mary was "lazy." She only sat at Jesus's feet. That's all we have to do.