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Can You say NO?

September 25, 2016


Too often we try and please others rather than go for the goals that would please ourselves. By taking on other people’s agendas, we leave little time for what we really want to do or intended on doing.  We start out with good intentions but often our lives overflow with things that have no relevance for us.  I am reminded of the floods we are now experiencing in Wisconsin.  We see all the silt, garbage and pollution that comes down stream with the flood waters.  The same things can be said for our lives as well.

How do we define and refine our goals and our dreams to focus our lives so that we can to set out and accomplish our goals?  There are many time management tools that can help us accomplish tasks but first you need to know what we want to accomplish.  There are many ways to do goals and brain storming which will set our lives on a path that will lead us closer to our goals yet first we need a vision.  Too often we set out on a quest only to wind up deciding that isn’t the way to go and maybe we can back track or find another way to get to where we thought we wanted to go.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

I have a hard time saying “NO” to people when asked to help or do something.  I wind up on their journey and not on my own.  I don’t want to disappoint others and wind up disappointing my own dreams.  It is clear to me that we need to know what we want and where we want to go and then proceed to get there.  Our NO’s and our YES’s only make sense if they are true to who we are.  We can help others and in turn that can help us.  If we don’t listen to what our ‘gut’ tells us and we do it anyway, we will get indigestion and a sick to our stomachs!

When our son was in high school, a farmer friend of ours invited him to come for the summer and work on the farm. Ever the practical one, he said “Why would I want to do that?”  The response was about to goals of learning all the processes on the farm– care of animals, growing crops and learning to use the machines – all very good things.  His response, “And what part of my life do you think I would need that information?”  His NO wasn’t that the summer wouldn’t bring him loads of information but that he wanted to spend his time in another direction all together.

I do not always see so clearly nor am I able to substantiate my “no’s” at the time of someone is asking me to help them.  The offers are good.  The people are good.  The opportunity is great.  Yet it if isn’t in the direction I really want to wind up moving towards, I might be taking the wrong road and winding up in a place I had not intended to go.


I have such a hard time saying NO.  When I say it my stomach going into knots.  Yet if I don’t say no , my stomach aches for a much longer time.  Sometimes as I say NO, I begin to think outside the envelope and see how I might share other ways of getting something done and focus the person onto other resources that will help them get to their goals as I can proceed to mine.


I love that the roads don’t let you see the end at the same time as the beginning.  We need to travel by faith.  We need to travel by sight.  We need to let our “gut” help us and direct us.  We need to listen and care and share.  Good luck on your travels.  May you be able to say NO and YES and even MAYBE.



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  1. I agree that it can be hard saying no… but sometimes we have to so that we have make time for ourselves.. I love that Frost poem too xx


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