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Over the past month, I've been reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst, and oh my stars…I could not put this one down! I rarely give a book 5-stars (I'm one of those super picky readers), but when there's a book I can't stop talking about, I want to shout it from the rooftops!!
If you're part of my VIP email list, you probably heard me mention this book a time or two. But I finally decided it deserved it's own post on the blog. See, I told you I can't stop talking about it!
In the shortest overview I can give, The Best Yes is all about making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands. If you hate saying “yes” all the time, yet feel powerless to say “no”, this gem most definitely belongs on your bookshelf.
I took so many notes—in my journal and also by scribbling along the margins of the book—that I finally narrowed my takeaways down to seven critical lessons. These are things I want to remember anytime I'm adding a new activity to the schedule, and I hope they are encouraging to you too!
Lesson #1: Your Decisions Determine Your Schedule
You know who is in charge of our calendar? We are. And yet we forget this very important factor when someone asks us to put one more thing on it.
Lysa gently reminds us, “You won't ever be able to keep up with unrealistic.” And it's so true! If we're cramming our schedules full of things that are not our “best yes”, then we lose out on amazing opportunities because we're emotionally shot by the time they come around.
The point is, we have to give ourselves margin, and that means saying “no” to good things…as uncomfortable as it might be. But this is only so we can say “yes” to the very best things later.
Lesson #2: Don't Say Yes…Just to Impress
I don't know about you, but the word “yes” (or some form of it) is constantly on the tip of my tongue. Need three dozen cookies by tomorrow? Sure! Want to have lunch next Tuesday? No problem. Have a project that needs an extra volunteer? I'm your girl!
I have the “disease to please” and it gets me into lots of trouble.
If that's you too, remember that YOU are the one ultimately affected by the decision. If you're afraid of disappointing someone else, yeah..it stinks. But walking away from the conversation feeling like you sold a part of your soul is even worse.
Lesson #3: You're Not Always the Right Person
One of my favorite phrases from Lysa is this, “Not every assignment is my assignment”. Do you know how incredibly refreshing this is to hear? Just because we're asked to do something doesn't mean we're the right person to do it.
Recently, Joseph and I were asked to be part of a church ministry, and we honestly wondered if we should say yes. But after praying about it for a few days, we knew this particular ministry wasn't our assignment right now. Instead, we decided to focus on the ministries we were already doing, rather than stretch ourselves too thin.
Don't get me wrong—saying no isn't an excuse to be selfish. It's about balancing your time and emotional limits with your “best yes” assignments. This takes time, and practice, for sure, but I promise it does get easier!
Lesson #4: Don't Delay Your Decisions
I hate admitting this—but when I don't want to say “yes”, and also don't want to say “no”, I'll say, “I'm thinking about it.” Then get back to the person in a couple of weeks.
All this does is give the other person hope, and prevents them from making other plans. Both are not respectful of each other's time.
If you need a couple days to truly think about the decision, go ahead, but don't put off the inevitable simply because you don't want confrontation. Honesty right up front is the best policy. Plus, the conversation is over a lot quicker!
Lesson #5: Give a Gift With Your No
Saying “no” is totally awkward…at least at first. But a gracious way to say it is with a small gift of encouraging words.
Recently, a blogging colleague had a project she wanted to partner together with, but it just wasn't a good fit for Creative Savings. I emailed back letting her know how proud I was of her accomplishment, and was sad I couldn't accept. Then I asked her if I could forward her email to a few friends that it would be a good fit for.
She was thrilled I would even offer! Even though it was a “no” for me, it was also a small gift to her, and a possible “yes” from someone else.
Lesson #6: Don't Always Say No
You might be thinking, “I finally have permission to say no!”
Well, kind of. Just be careful not to let the word “no” replace all the things you would've normally said “yes” to.
One of my friends (who is an amazing graphic designer) created a printable that I can't wait to put up in my office. It says, “Heck Yeses Only”, and is such a good reminder to save those yeses for the times you really want to say it!
Lesson #7: There is No Perfect Decision
As someone who wants to make the right decision all the time, this is the lesson I struggle with the most! But it's SO TRUE. There is no perfect decision.
We can think, pray, belabor, and write a huge list of pros and cons, but ultimately, we have to make a choice. Sure, there are good decisions and bad decisions, and then there are good decisions and good decisions.
But with no perfect decision, you can free yourself from the fear of making a mistake.
Wow…so much GOOD STUFF, right?
Honestly, I feel like I've only scratched the surface of The Best Yes. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book so you can refer back to it often. It's one you definitely want to keep on your bookshelf…or better yet, your nightstand!
When have you felt guilty for saying no?
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