The Power of Saying No: a guide in breaking free from obligation and into freedom.
No, the hardest word in our language to say and yet only two letters. A word that brings with it the fear of abandonment, denial, and even a bit or resentment. But it is one of the most important words we must learn to say.
This week, we are talking about the power of saying no. We discuss how to say no to:
- Your Family
- Your Friends
- Your Spouse
- Your Church Circles (for those of us still in church)
- Spiritual Authority
But don’t worry, it’s not all a bunch of rejection! We also talk about how to know when to say “no” as well as when to say yes and how to tell the difference between wanting to do something vs. feeling obligated.
Cody Johnston 1:21
Hey, everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody, and my name is Elaine. And this is Episode 80. We are on episode 80. That’s insane. Okay, sorry. Let’s take a moment there. Episode 80. And today, we literally have no agenda at all, other than just talking about something that Elaine and I both had on our hearts separate from each other. And so a lot of these solo episodes are like what’s been on our heart this week? Right? And, and this was one of those things where Elaine came in here like ranting and raving about something to me today. And I was just like, hey, funny actually wrote something down about that we should talk about it on air, and then put it out to all of you amazing listeners
Elaine Johnston 2:01
are synced to like that.
Cody Johnston 2:03
Yes. And so what is that great topic? No, it’s probably gonna be the towel, so I can’t leave it as a mystery. Okay, so we’re talking about saying no, and the power of like, literally the hardest word in? It seems like our entire language is just two letters long. So we’re going to be talking about that what it’s like to say no, when to say no. And the actual good that comes of it. And we’re about to get right into that. But first, a couple of quick things. If you’re not on our email list, you’re missing out. Come on, what do you do it? No, seriously, hop over to the reckless pursuit, calm forward slash subscribe. And I just did a forward slash with my with my hand as I did that. And you can get access to all of our final five exclusive content, all of that good stuff goes on over there. And also, we want to hear what you have to say. So we want to invite you to nomads. It’s a pretty happening place. And it’s a good, awesome place for you to come express your questions and hear other people’s perspectives on on what’s in your mind. So Elaine, do you have anything else? You have to say? Okay, cool. No. All right. leave me hanging fine.
Elaine Johnston 3:16
No, I don’t have anything else to say.
Cody Johnston 3:19
Okay. You have anything you want to plug yet? You might have heard of her podcast? Or plugin stuff? Yeah,
Elaine Johnston 3:23
I guess I can plug my blog, the prodigal daughter.com, where I will house my podcast, but that’s not until November. So we’ve got some time. You can leave them hanging on that one. Okay, cool.
Cody Johnston 3:37
Let’s start talking about how to say no, no, rude. All right, everyone. So I’m sitting here with the queen of know herself, Elaine Johnston, Elaine, how are you?
Elaine Johnston 3:49
I’m good. How are you?
Cody Johnston 3:50
No, seriously, Elaine is so good at saying no, almost too good. It’s ridiculous. I am a person who has by I don’t know if it’s, it’s by nurture. I don’t think it’s by nature. I like seeing people happy, but not that much. So it’s gotta be by nurture. But I have grown up like with all of the stuff with my mother, and all of that, like, saying yes. or trying to make people happy was almost like kind of put on me. And then of course, when you go into ministry that kind of just flows from that. It’s like, Oh, well, you have to say yes to pretty much everything. Even if that’s not directly said to you, it’s kind of implied like, you know, we’ve all kind of heard the idea of like, Oh, you can’t say no at your job. Like, if you say no at your job, then you’re putting your job on the line or like, you’re going to get fired. Like there’s this this, this stigma with this two letter word that if you say it, people are going to take offense, and or retaliate against you for saying so Elaine, what is your experience with no share a little about who you are with that amazing word? because me and you were not on the same page? Now?
Elaine Johnston 4:57
See what I did there? Oh, yeah. Okay, great. I mean, I don’t know how I got so good at it honestly, like, sometimes I feel that I say know too much. And I’m too selfish with my know, sometimes. But that’s something that I’m working on. I guess a lot of my experiences with know have been in church settings, people trying to volunteer me, not me volunteer, but other people volunteer me to do things. And one of the things that I can remember is trying to get volunteered to watch three year olds, for some event that was going on at the church. And there are certain kids that I’m around that I like, but for the most part, I don’t like kids. And this person, I guess, didn’t know this. I wasn’t that close to this person. And I was like, you know, I just don’t think that I really want to do that. And yeah, and a lot of other experiences with know, have just been people wanting me to do things for them. And I’m just like, No, I don’t want to that sounds very brash. But sometimes I say, hey, like, I don’t feel like doing that. Or even if I don’t I completely explain my case to that person. I’m just like, Hey, you know, I can’t.
Cody Johnston 6:23
Okay, so let’s, let’s, let’s start with this. Why is saying no, such a hard thing to do?
Elaine Johnston 6:31
Generally speaking, people want to please other people, whether that’s because they want to see those people happy. Or maybe it’s a selfish thing of if you’re always saying yes to somebody else in need. If you’re a need, you feel like that should be reciprocated. Or you just generally don’t know how to say no, and even if you really don’t want to do whatever it is that they’re asking you to do. You can’t say no to people, because you just want please people, you just want to make them happy? Or maybe they’ll leave you alone. If you you’ll just keep telling them Yes, keep giving them what they want. Or sometimes it you’re afraid that you’re going to look like a bad person. If you say no,
Cody Johnston 7:14
right? I think that we have this stigma that if we say know that people are going to take this offense, and it’s going to be this like negative way they view us right? Like, oh, if I tell this person, no, I can’t do that, then we instantly feel guilty, that we are singling them out or that we are denying them of something in their life that they need or they want. And we typically people want to see other people succeed. And I know that’s like a lot of people are, you know, they don’t want most people who say yes to things for sure want to see other people succeed. They want to see other people happy. Sometimes we base our emotions, like you were saying in those other people. And I think that we have this this idea that if I tell the story person no, then I agree that like what you were saying that, oh, maybe they won’t be there for me, but also at the same time that they are going to look down on me as a person, they’re going to like be little me, they’re going to think that I am less than because I’m not willing to. And the other truth of the matter is, there’s a lot of people out there who are really bad at saying no, there’s also a lot of people out there who are really good at manipulating something to get their way. And this is just a wild thing. There’s quite a few little areas we can touch on with the whole idea of saying no. But before we get into all of that, I kind of wanted to touch on like what we talked about a lot here like okay, so church settings, faith settings, like what is saying no look like there. We were at a lunch a little while back, and I overheard a conversation. And this gentleman said, I don’t like saying no. And I’ve convinced myself that saying no is a sin because God doesn’t say no. And I’ve just realized that saying yes to everything. Maybe I’ll get the opportunities I’m meeting. And then in the same breath wanting to complaining about how tired they were and how overworked and burnt out they were, in their establishment that they were serving at their faith establishment. They were serving it. And I was just felt so bad because I very well could have been that person at one point. Like there was a time in my life and that person. Yeah. And there was a time in my life where I literally would be that I would just I was there. I said yes to every thing. I would say yes. Before thinking on something that would just be the first word that came out. Sure I can do it. I can do it. I can do
Elaine Johnston 9:39
it. Did you want to be that? Yes, man? Or was there ever enzyme it that came from having to possibly say no to somebody? Did you think you were going to lose your job? Like why did you say yes,
Cody Johnston 9:51
all of the above. So it started with? Whenever you’re putting a situation where you are enabling someone and that’s what na na na is? Even if you’re not saying the word yes or no, you’re enabling some, someone else to do an action, right. And so with my mother, a lot of times I would enable her, or we would enable her being my family as a whole. Because it was easier to deal with her whenever she was enabled. It’s hard to say no. And here’s just a really good example. As I got older, more people, my father and I made the conscious decision to start saying no to my mom, or No, you cannot. Like we’re not going to be or you can physically do this. We can’t stop you from doing it. But we’re not going to go give you money to go buy liquor. If you want that you’re going to have to get a job and work for yourself. You’re not gonna I’m not going to go to the store and buy you cigarettes I like I had to say that no numerous times as I got older, like, No, I’m not going to do this. No, I am not going to take you to the liquor store. So you can buy a beer. No, I am not going to come and pick you up whenever you’re walking down the road. So drunk out of your mind. And then like the police come, I did that so many times, I showed up for my mom over and over and over again. It’s so hard to say no to someone you love, especially when they put themselves in the line of danger, right? And really what it became is like this attention grabbing thing of whenever I wasn’t giving her the attention she sought after she would act out knowing that I would run to her rescue. There was times that I had to get her out of like, you know, cops would pull her over. I would have to go and find her car because she would drive it somewhere. She was so drunk she couldn’t even get home she would wreck it that happened. You know, last year right before she passed away. she flipped her car up on the side of the ditch because what happened and what did I have to do? She came to the house and like I’ll just go ahead and show the store. It’s kind of a hard story to share, but I’ll share it. Like we come to the end of the road. My mom’s cars flipped over on his left hand side full of water in a ditch. It was pouring down rain, or just finished pouring down rain. It was on its side in the ditch. She was literally hanging by her seat belt. We went we got her out my grandmother like like bad, jumped into the things suede in there. Got her out because my like I don’t know what she was she was like whoa, sis
Elaine Johnston 12:10
knew what she was doing. Yeah,
Cody Johnston 12:11
she’s she’s, she’s been to this rodeo before, sadly enough. So she jumped into the into the drain digital wing got her out, we tried to get her home and, and she walked back and she just like grabbed the keys from my grandmother and took off running right back to her car and locked herself back in this car that’s up on its side and sort of flooring it trying to get out of the drainage ditch. And I had an option right there. As a matter of fact, let me tell you how I had an option, I had a guy pull up and he’s like, I don’t want this girl to you know, I don’t want her to have to go to jail. Like, you know, let’s just try to get her to your house. And let’s just pull the car out of the ditch. And I looked at him and I said, No. And it was like the hardest thing because I’m like, I have the opportunity to save my mother from getting a DUI to say my mother from going to jail tonight, I had the opportunity to let her keep her car to try to just smooth this all over with my I knew my dad was gonna be furious when he found out obviously because you know, he paid for the car like that she just wrecked and of course, like the tension between like your spouse drinking and having to deal with all that struggle. And I looked at him the gentleman offering a quote. And I said no. And I called the cops. And the cops got there. And they looked at me and they said we’ll do you want to take her and I said I will not take her, I will not babysit her anymore. There had been at least five other occurrences in my life. I said, Sure. And I took my mom home, and I sat with her all night long, making sure she didn’t cause problems. I wasted hours upon hours of my life babysitting someone else who did not care enough to try to care for themselves. Who could not say no to something else, mind you just a whole other thing. She didn’t know how to say know, to her addictions. And she didn’t know how to say no. I’m not going to give into this. I’m going to allow myself to feel she didn’t know what to say yes. To what to say no to. That’s what got her in this position in the first place. Right? And so why am I going to be the carrier of her lack of being able to say no, it’s not my responsibility. And it was and I can go this much further. God did not want me to do that. And I had the most profound thing told to me one time, and I will never forget it. And I had a person tell me that whenever I enable my mother, and this woman had a very similar upbringing, and it was just it was, it was profound when she told me this. And she said, whenever I enable my mother, I am trying to be God to her and who am I to play God to someone else who might have tried to control someone else? You know, I’m doing this out of my own fear. I’m doing this out of my own reaction. I am trying to control her circumstances. Because if I can control her circumstances, it makes my circumstances a little better, because I’m the one to have to deal with it. Right? Ultimately, it’s selfish. And I had to step away and not allow her to make her choice on whether her yes bs or her no be no to her addictions. I couldn’t carry that for her.
Elaine Johnston 15:24
So how did that make you feel? Like, obviously, in the midst of everything, I’m sure you felt bad, because of all the times you’ve said yes. And then just the repercussions of what happened. But the following days and weeks like did you feel at peace with the Did you feel like that was the right thing to do? Do you? Did you feel strong? And you being able to say no, despite the situation?
Cody Johnston 15:47
I feel like I had everyone’s worst case scenario with my know. Because ultimately, when you think of No, you’re scared to say no, because you’re scared of losing something you feel you have to please someone else in order to keep them in your life. Right? And so by saying no, no, is a word that that invokes fear, it shouldn’t. Because people who aren’t mature enough to take a no, aren’t mature enough to ask the favor. They asked in the first place. I told my mother No. So she went to jail. She got a DUI, she’s lost her license for six months, that started her down this really rough spiral to drinking heavier and heavier and heavier every time we ever said no to her, it pushed her deeper into alcohol, it seems but that’s not on me. But it’s hard. I had to tell my mom know, whenever she would call me whenever she would come visit. You know, my grandparents live just not very far from us when she would come visit them. I had to say no, if she tried to come around me and my wife, I had to say no, every time she would try to knock on our door, or she would try to text me or call me I had to block four months, I think two months I blocked her. Until finally I allowed her back in just a little bit. And even up until in mind you this all happened, what four months before she died. You know, this all happened in February, right? And she passed away in July. So March, April, May, June. So four months before she passed away. This all went down. And when she died I had to deal with some of those burdens of did I calls this? Did my no calls her to go out and start drinking heavier because she didn’t have a car. She didn’t have anything to do with her time. She didn’t have this. She didn’t have that. No, I didn’t do that. I have to tell myself No. And that’s a whole other point. Maybe we should make that a point right now. Sometimes you got to know how to tell yourself No, I had to stop myself scare myself down and say no, Cody, you did not cause this. All you did was save your marriage, you save your house, you create an environment of peace that you’ve never had. And you drew a line a boundary, you put up a boundary saying no, you’re not going to bring that negativity implanted into my life anymore. Because by allowing her to come in by allowing her to come over when she’s been drinking, driving over drunk, doing these things coming over trying to claim Oh, I did, I wasn’t actually drinking blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all these different lies all these different half truths, which is, you know, half truth, the whole lie. You’ve heard that before, right? She was planting these ideas into me, which was ultimately causing me anxiety and stress. And it was bringing out bad characteristics of me, which in turn was reflecting on my wife like, I can’t allow this vicious cycle to keep going. I had to say no. And I had to tell myself, no, you’re not going to take that burden. Now that she’s passed away. She said no. She said yes to so many things that it killed her. Okay. Now, you’re not going to start saying yes to taking all that guilt and shame. You’re going to say no to it and be strong, bigger than she was.
Elaine Johnston 19:01
And one of the biggest things that I want to tell people who struggle with saying no, we’re who we’re learning to say no is that know is a form of self love. And, you know, self love isn’t selfish, saying no, in the right light isn’t selfish. And whenever you start to take ownership of you and your responsibilities, you are able to guard your heart. And if people see you as the yes person, but take advantage of you. And then once you learn to say no, you’re able to start guarding yourself and protecting yourself and your family, your marriage or whatever the situation is. And that is a form of self love. You have to be able to love yourself before you can love others. And I know that that sounds selfish, especially within like religious places and church because it’s like, well, dad, yourself daily sacrifice for your brother and all that stuff, which Yes, that is important. And there’s
Unknown Speaker 19:56
Elaine Johnston 19:57
There’s a time for that. But there’s also a time to put yourself first because if you are not taking care of yourself, whether it’s mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever, how can you pour to somebody else? How can you pour out from an empty cup? How are you able to love somebody else? If you have not learned the for the art form of know, because you’ve always been the yes person. And honestly, if you’ve always been the yes person to keep to a certain person or a specific group of people, and they recognize that you’re always saying Yes, they’re going to take advantage of you. And whenever you allows me to take advantage of you knowing that that’s what they’re doing that’s damaging to yourself and your soul.
Cody Johnston 20:42
Well, and and honestly, it’s sinful, right? That is a sin nature, in essence, like you’re allowing someone to damage you, you’re allowing it to go on. You’re, you’re literally inviting in self harm. You’re saying yes to so much that it’s causing you to hurt and to suffer? For one I don’t know where this whole notion that know is I’m biblical comes from I don’t understand. I kind of get I kind of understand. But Jesus said no. And if you want me to kind of like go into that, what did he do right before he was dying, he went alone to the garden to pray. He took his time to himself. That’s okay. Whenever people were coming, saying, We need you to feed us again, how to perform more miracles perform more miracles. What did he do? He said, No, let’s go get in the boat. Guys. We’re going across the UK, we’re going elsewhere. We have other places to go. This group’s had theirs. If all they care about is a loaf and a fish then they didn’t get the memo. No guys, we’re out of here. Jesus said, No, it happened. So we need to quit. I like identify, Oh, Jesus never said no to what
Elaine Johnston 21:54
Jesus doesn’t want yourself to allow people to take advantage of you. Jesus doesn’t one that Jesus doesn’t want you to constantly be saying yes, because you are putting your value in what other people have to say instead of what you know the truth about you of what God says about you, God wants you to focus on him and focus on yourself. And sometimes that means saying yes, for people like me and saying, Okay, well, you’ve said no enough. Can you give a little bit? You know, like, there there is the other side of constantly saying no, because then what are you saying? Yes. Do you like what beautiful things? Aren’t you saying yes to so there’s a balance, but especially within church culture and religion, it’s always say yes, because that’s what Jesus would do. Well, no, Jesus didn’t always say Yes,
Cody Johnston 22:41
right. And that’s the biggest reason we have such a culture of burnout that we have right now. is everyone’s we love to start things. We love to start things love to start things, but we don’t like to maintain things, right? So we keep doing all these new things, right? Hey, we need volunteers for this, hey, you’re good with this. We’re going to put you over here. Sometimes people volunteer in your acts, sometimes you’re just throwing into things like, hey, you’re going to do this. One of the things I was told one time is sometimes whenever I ask I’m actually telling you what to do. I’m just being polite. That was one of the biggest times where I had to say, No, that’s one of the biggest times where I actually had to walk away from a lot of my ministry stuff was because I had to, I had to say no to some things there were some times I’ve had to say no, because I wasn’t given the opportunity to consult with my wife first. And I knew I had to talk to her first. And there have been times I have said yes. And it has cost me mentally. And it has put stress on us relational Lee, and I’ve had to get better about saying no. But talking a little bit for a second about what you were saying there, Elaine is how there’s, there’s a time for Yes. And a time for know. And how do you distinguish what each of those are? Right? So obviously, we’re talking about like, Oh, we don’t are like you need to be able to say no, you need to be able to guard yourself, guard your heart, whatever, however you want to put it. But there is a time for Yes. You know, there’s the whole Bible verse of like, who would withhold from their children or what have you? There’s a lot of times to say yes, anytime you can help someone else, and give of yourself freely like you should be able to say yes, freely. But you also have to realize that there is a balance to that. And I want to just kind of share something that has really I read it a little while back. And it was super powerful to me. And it was this saying no, doesn’t mean I don’t have the time, it means I don’t have any more of myself to give right now. And I think that’s the hugest thing is like when we realize that if we say yes to everything, if you think oh, I can just squeeze it in right here, squeeze it in right here. Sooner or later, you’re cutting out every bit of time you’re giving all of yourself to things to works. And there’s no time for your faith, there’s no time for your, your own health, your own mental health, your own physical health, whatever it is, you rob yourself, of any kind of free time to recuperate into rest. And you get so busy doing work that you burn out.
Elaine Johnston 25:09
And one of my favorite books, which is essential ism, he actually talks about this more in like the workplace of taking on assignments and projects. But one of the things that I loved about the book is how he said that when people are constantly employees are constantly saying yes to other employees, or their bosses or clients or customers or whatever. Yeah, you may have the time to do a bunch of little things. But you’re not going to be able to give yourself fully you’re just doing a bunch of mediocre jobs just because you want to please other people. But when you realize what are some essential things that you know, that you can pour your heart out to? It’s not? I’m gonna say no, because I don’t care about people. It’s I’m going to say no on this thing. So I can my whole heart on this thing. Yeah, and even to build on that like, absolutely, like when you’re giving yourself to something that isn’t your passion, or whatever you’re doing, you’re doing a subpar job. But then think of it this way, when you say yes to someone else, just to try to fill in that gap that you don’t have a passion for. And this applies super heavy, like spiritual stuff, right?
Cody Johnston 26:25
Like to those of you who out there who are still in church really like this is one of those key things that like we want to give you. If you are constantly saying yes to things. Oh, yes. I said yes to the children’s, I said yes to running this thing, or running sound or blog, whatever these things are, you’re actually robbing someone, of fulfilling their purpose, doing what they love, and you’re doing a mediocre job just to get something done, instead of allowing something to be as beautiful as God would have designed it to be. Yeah, so you’re actually filling in a void, but you’re not even the right. It’s kind of like the whole square peg in the round hole, right? There’s corners missing, you’re not filling that gap. And sooner or later, things are going to start falling through the cracks. And then it’s going to make you look super bad, right? And that kind of goes to this whole this whole next little bit here. And I’ll just, I’ll read this from my journal. I wrote this today. And this is why I was saying like, we were kind of on the same on the same wavelength whenever we were both talking about our nose. And so I wrote this down Oh, well place to know, save so much heartache versus a strung along maybe or a lying. Yes. Think about it. You tell someone, hey, I’m going to do this. But then you don’t? What does that do? Just because you were scared to say no, even sometimes just because you have a hard time saying no. Well, now you’ve come out and you have put someone’s hope in you and then robbed them of it. Just to bring someone along with a maybe. How are they supposed to know if they’re if they can find someone else to fulfill the need in their life or to even if it’s just hanging out whatever it is this person, you’re not valuing their time, you’re not valuing their their value, you’re not valuing them,
Elaine Johnston 28:09
you’re wasting time you’re you’re wasting resources, you’re putting a stress on whoever the people are that are involved, you’re creating stress for future events, future things, because if you aren’t capable of saying no, but then you don’t show up or you just kind of string people along, then you won’t be held reliable when it comes to the bigger things. And and yeah, it may seem silly or stupid. If you say, Hey, I’m coming over and a little bit and then they never show up. Because they were afraid of saying no, or they didn’t know how to say it or whatever happened, then the next time, you may not want to invite that person over. Or you may not think that they can be reliable with the big thing that you were really needing them to show up for. And it’s all a mental game, whenever you’re trying to please other people, those people are still going to love you. Even if you say no, and sometimes that is why people love you. Or sometimes people love you that much more respect you that much more because you’re able to say no, because they’ll be like, Okay, thanks. I’ll ask you again. Some other time, I already had somebody else mine, but I just wanted to make sure. And then you kind of go on with life. Well, and so this is one of these things it like, just really hits home for me too. If you for one, if you say notice someone, and it makes them leave you as a person, if a no is enough to drive someone away from you completely. That is not a relationship you want in your life because that person is trying to use you.
Cody Johnston 29:50
Right? Yeah. If you say, No, I don’t want to serve in this area. That’s not my passion. And that person needs mad never asked you to do anything else again, or never gives you another opportunity. Screw them. They’re not your people. All they’re trying to do is use you if you have a friend that they’re always trying to take and take and take. And you are a family member, like in my instance, right? Sooner or later, you’re going to say no, and if that makes that person retract away from you, they’re using you. You’re just a tool to them. And you don’t want that relationship anyway. But if you want to see a way to truly kill valuable relationships, say yes, is when you intended to say no and don’t fulfill or leave everyone hanging all the time with your maybes with your I don’t knows, or I’ll get around to it, and make people have to hunt you down or have to try to fill in the spots, you know, think of like, easily have any scenario like hey, I’m moving, can you come help me? Maybe? Well, I need to know like, I have to do this thing.
Elaine Johnston 30:53
I need a truck like I need something. Right?
Cody Johnston 30:56
And so like if they’re like an even giving relationship, you know, maybe you should kill a solid answer. And that’s a I think that’s the biggest and kind of like it’s an oxymoron, really, when you think about it, because our biggest fear was saying no is we’re going to push someone away. But by saying no, you are actually keeping those who are valuable close. Because then when you’re yeses, yes, it’s truth. And you’re pushing away the ones that are just using you misplace
Elaine Johnston 31:22
you’re keeping that respect alive because of those friends or family members or church members or whatever situation that you are in whoever those people are, when they know that they are abusing you and using you and using your resources and your talents. Because they know that you can’t say no, you don’t want those people in your life. For one those relationships aren’t valuable to you. You’re not losing anything if that’s what the people are wanting you to but there’s no respect in that because if they know that you’re always going to say yes and that’s the only reason why they asked they don’t have your respect,
Cody Johnston 31:57
huh yeah, I wrote this down also the other day it says saying no is not a sin but people pleasing is and that I don’t remember where I was sitting when that came to me but I had to like jot it down real quick because I was like, man that is so powerful. Like saying no is not a sin but people pleasing is how is people pleasing sin, because you’re doing it out of selfish you’re doing it, you’re serving someone else, someone else just to control your world, control your environment, if I do this for person, x y&z, then they’ll stay around, you’re trying to take control of everything, you’re trying to manipulate your environment as a whole. And that’s, that’s not living free at all. That’s that’s very, a very hard way to live. So let’s transition a little bit here. And let’s talk about when to say no, and when to say yes. How do you know when to say no, you? I,
Elaine Johnston 32:52
I think it depends on the situation. For one, it’s, you can easily detect the people who are just using you, because they know they can. And so just kind of understanding that person and the situation. And if it is going to put you in danger than absolutely say no, if it is going to hinder your mental health than absolutely say no. If it is going to cost you more in the long run. I feel like that’s a way to say no. And if you are just going to feel completely drained, that’s the time to say no.
Cody Johnston 33:27
And if it’s going to affect your spiritual life, then I think that’s a big time to say no, if it’s something that you know, you’re just there’s a big thing when like working in church where like when you work so much doing so many things for God, you forget to actually pursue God yourself, right. That’s why I think theologians work in churches much because they’re in the pursuit of learning. They’re not in the pursuit of doing right now, don’t get me wrong. I know there’s places for all of that. But the big thing I would say of like trying to learn when to say no to a specific person or a specific event is does it put pressure on your life? Is this person pressuring you? Think of like scamming car salesman, right, or infomercials? They just seem over the top. It’s like, I have to make a decision right now. I need you to do this right now. And I’m not talking like these little decisions like, Hey, will you come over later? Do you want to, you know, catch a movie or something like that? It’s these pressure decisions, like, Hey, I really think that I need you to go and do this thing, or I think I need you to go and buy this or I think you need to go and you don’t need to be with that person. Right? Like, okay, for instance, we have a friend who was telling us about how they he had a he had friends who were married, and a prophet, air quotes here on Prophet came into their church in told them both that they weren’t meant to be together, and they need you to go and get a divorce. And they did it. They went and got it. It was one sided, completely one sided. And like, we won’t throw genders or you know that because that doesn’t matter. But it’s, it was a one sided thing, the one person listened and it left the other person devastated. And at the point now where they just cannot stand, the idea of religion might push them completely away. Because someone in some kind of weird, lustful, jealous, whatever this was, was like, Hey, you need to, you need to get broken up, right? Because they carried some level of like air quotes on again, you know, here authority or spiritual authority or what have you. It, they listened. And it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from. manipulation is manipulation, it can come from the lowest form from, you know, a toddler trying to get their way to the highest form a president a pasture, a congressman, even, you know, a family member, manipulation, is manipulation. And whenever you start realizing that people operate out of two, two spectrums, they’re either operating out of fear, or comfort, right. And so these people are operating out of fear, trying to control trying to get trying to gain at your expense. And so if there is pressure involved in it, if it doesn’t set, right, it feels like a burden, it’s against the natural flow, then absolutely say, No, do not go with that. But sometimes they say, Yes, we are a community. Ultimately, that is the ultimate purpose. That is what Jesus’s mission was, is to commune together we are united spirit. And so, of course, we want to strive to help. We’re not sitting here saying like, say no to everyone. What we are saying is, if it’s a big decision, will for one, let’s back up, if it’s a simple thing, and you know, you can do it and it sounds, you know, if it’s something you’re you want to do to help someone there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s not people pleasing. If it’s something you’re doing out of obligation. Now you’re getting into people play. obligation is a dirty word. It is a word that we use to trap people in the snares of Yes. And so like, oh, you’re obligated to your parents. you’re obligated to your family, you’re obligated to your church. No, you’re not. No, you’re not. You are obligated to yourself, you are obligated to God, and you are obligated to try to see the best in people and to try to show love the best you can. But you’re not obligated to do anything else. This whole obligatory thing where we are trying to put people in the snares the shackles to force them to do stuff has got to stop. And if you’re sitting on the other end of this, and you’re like, man, I just, I have such a hard time saying no, just realize that you’re not in a you’re not can you’re not trapped, right? Like you’re you’re not doing anyone any justice by constantly saying Yes, everything, you’re actually hindering yourself, you’re making yourself better you’re making yourself angry. The more you pursue the constant saying of Yes, the more people that are actually going to just it’s like an attract people like when you don’t know how to say no, it attracts people that want to use and abuse you.
Elaine Johnston 38:17
So some examples of knowing when to say yes, is maybe you know, you were going to go watch a movie or do something fun, but somebody come up to you that you knew or maybe you don’t know, and said, Hey, like I ran out of gas, can you help me push my car to the parking lot, you know, you were already going to be doing something that important. And you’re like, Okay, I, you know, I’m able to give my time. Or if it’s something that you want to do, just because you want to see that person succeed, you want to help them. And it might even sound fun to you, or you’re super passionate about making cookies for or the youth drive or something you know, and you want to be involved that you want to help other people succeed. Those are great examples of knowing when to say yes, if you have a family member that’s in need, and you know that it’s not just because they know you’ll say yes, but if it’s something that you were able to give, and you were able to give freely, then that’s an indicator of Hey, maybe I should say yes to this.
Cody Johnston 39:20
And the biggest thing though, is is knowing you know, you’ll know when to say yes, because it’ll feel right. Yeah, it’ll feel right in your soul. And I hate just like not giving like a tangible like thing you can physically touch. But it is something you can feel a correct yes. Always feels right. In your spirit. It’s it you know, it’s the right thing to do. But uh, yes, that is done because you’ve been pressured into it, you’ve been backed into a corner.
Elaine Johnston 39:50
feel bad if you don’t
Cody Johnston 39:52
you feel heavy, you feel that sinking feeling that’s not proper. And so it really comes down to you. There’s not a yes and no, we can give you there’s not a black and white we can give you all we can say is fill out those moments. And if it’s a big thing, and you need a second, that’s okay. And if anyone tells you you have to make this decision right now, that’s a good indicator that it probably needs to be a no
Elaine Johnston 40:14
unless maze dying. Like, I can’t think of something that’s right now,
Cody Johnston 40:20
right? It’s like, there’s a difference is like, hey, help me flip this car off of this person that’s crushing them. That’s reactionary. What I’m saying is like, someone’s like, Hey, you need to go and divorce your wife, because the Lord told me to tell you this. For one, you probably shouldn’t have to think about that very long. But if it’s something you’re even contemplating, maybe you should stop back and say, oh, about that. Because a lot of times people are good at manipulating, right? It’s what happened to Adam and Eve in the in the original, you know, story. People are good at manipulating manipulation is a real tactic that’s used against people to feed and kind of parasitic Lee latch on to our weakness. And our weakness being that we want to see other people do well, so all this to say, guys, we’re not as kind of just a compilation of things. And it’s not the most spiritual, it’s not the most literal either. It’s just a practical little thing saying, hey, it’s okay to say no. And if you have a hard time with that, I understand I get it. Some people like Elaine are just more instinctual of their nose. And there’s people like me who have to fight with it. But just realize that a a proper know is more life giving and more respectable than a yes, done out of obligation or a yes, done, where it builds our intentions in you. And I guess maybe that’s the last point is when you say yes to too many things that you don’t have the passion for you don’t have the desire for you don’t get that good feeling. It builds up resentment and you toward other people, because you haven’t been able to draw those boundaries. And now you begin to resent those people asking, and that’s a whole other problem, because that leads us into manipulative tactics as well. So as a recap, it’s okay to say no, watch those emotions. If you’re ever feeling pressured, that is not a proper thing to say yes to that is a definite no pressure is a tactic used out of deception. And all of that to kind of lead to our final question. And I think that would just be what have you struggled saying no to you? For me, it was saying no to my family. And there was some you’ve struggled saying no to you, just to be like, open and honest on the air.
Elaine Johnston 42:47
I would say family too, because that is one areas that I’ve kind of realized, like, I am not able to say no to, you know, for the most part, I can say Hey, no, I don’t feel like doing that. Or hey, like, I don’t like the way the situation is being played out. I think I’m going to step out of this or whatever. But I never really realized until this year, I guess with specific family members, I’ve been better with it. But for the most part this year, I kind of realized like, yeah, I’m great at having boundaries. Yeah, I’m great at saying no, but there comes certain circumstances, especially with my immediate family, where I’m just like, it’s really hard to say no right now, because I really want to say yes, or I feel like I should say yes, out of obligation out of obligation. And I’ve just kind of realized, like, even with families even as something as intimate as family, it’s still okay to say no.
Cody Johnston 43:49
And that’s respectable. And just to tell this one little thing I know we already we already know a little rascal question. That’s okay. We’re going to tackle this one more thing. It’s okay to say no to your spouse. Because I love Elaine enough. Whenever we say hey, I really, Hey, can we go and do this? Or can we go? Can we go do this today? Or can we go help out? so and so? Or can we spend money on whatever like because we always Can we try to consult if it’s over, like about $30? We try to consult on each other when we’re doing like bigger purchases and stuff. And sometimes the answer is no. I wanted to buy a new mixer for doing audio. And the answer was no. And whenever we got around to finger I was like, You know what, we probably didn’t need to buy that right now. There’s been numerous times where Elaine has had things that she has came to me with and I just had to say like not right now. And am I saying that like I’m controlling her decisions don’t talk about joint things we do together as a married like couple as a unit. But we respect each other’s yeses and noes and that’s okay. Because that’s what healthy relationships are is respecting each other’s mental state enough to to to give the Joe that level of respect actually gave each other that word through it. So anyway, we want to hear from you guys head over to nomads a safe community for Christians to ask unsafe questions, you can find it in the comment section below. I had a podcast episode go live for itinerant biblical history beyond the Bible Thursday, so if you haven’t caught that so far is on the Egyptian plagues. And it was one of my favorite episodes, right? If you haven’t done so thus far, go over there and hit that subscribe button and leave an honest review. It helps us to know how to serve you guys better what you guys like. And as always, we love you. Be brave, be bold and be reckless. We’ll talk soon
• What have you struggled saying no to?
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