By Paddy Elkins
Valley Bugler Columnist
Today, I am writing about the powerful word, “No”.
If you are a young person facing a difficult decision and nothing is clear, you can ward off potentially devastating future regrets by simply refusing to take any action right now: Just say “No”.
If you are being pushed into something you’re not ready for – your first kiss; an unwelcome situation; a date with someone you’re not sure you can trust – you can use the simple word “No” without hesitation or explanation to perhaps save yourself a truckload of stress. It is powerful, this word “No”.
If your friend is being bullied, you can come along side your friend, look the bully right in the eye and let them know you mean business, cross your arms and say “No”! Then stand with your friend until the bully backs down. (Or knocks you BOTH down, which will take considerably more effort than to just knock your friend down. But at least your friend will know you really care about them!)
To the persistent phone solicitor who calls at dinner time to offer you vinyl windows (AGAIN) or three days and two nights in the Fiji Islands… Just say “No thanks” and get back to chicken tortellini with your family without feeling guilty.
It is far easier to say “No” to a pushy vacuum-cleaner salesperson, a door-to-door religious duo who wants to argue with you about how to interpret your Bible properly, or an annoying neighbor who always wants to borrow this or that but never returns anything. Saying “No” to a much-loved child or grand-child or even a spouse or best friend who is humbly asking you for something they want or need, is harder. But sometimes, to protect them or yourself or someone else, it is still necessary. Perhaps their request is even reasonable, but the timing is not right. A variation of the word “No” could be “Not right now” or “Can we talk about this a little later, honey”?
When I was five, I lived with my family in a restored World War II apartment building in New York and I asked God for a horse. He answered my prayer. He said “No” Although I was disappointed at the time, I have come to appreciate His “No” answers as much as I love His “Yes” ones. Truly, He knows best. I have learned through the years that I can trust Him. He does have my best interest at heart. And yours, my friend.
So, if you need to say “No” to someone in your life, I hope this will give you the courage to speak up. Even if you’re shy and not usually prone to confrontation, there are times when you SHOULD speak up, and times when you MUST. Pray for wisdom and grace and then do what you must do. At the end of the day, you will respect yourself for taking a stand, and even if those on the receiving end of your “No” don’t like you for a while, they’ll at least respect you, too. And there’s a lot to be said for that.
Paddy Elkins invites your feedback! You may Email her at:
or call her at 360-751-5231.