Why You Should Say YES to Saying NO

When Helping Others Isn't Helping at All

Do you struggle to say NO—especially when people ask you for help? I do. As a Christian, I think it’s even more difficult because, after all, aren’t we called to be like Jesus and serve when moved with compassion?


The problem is this: when we let other people’s priorities write our story, we end up with a jumbled tale that no one would ever want to read.

And here is the harsh truth: it happens because we let it happen.

Do You Have the Faith to Say No?

When Doing Less Requires More Faith than Doing More

The writer of Ecclesiastes said there is a time for everything. Unfortunately, I tend to think that I have time for everything.


When I stepped out from my role of running a Christian school in Ohio several years ago, we went for almost a year with no income. I tell more about the story in my book A Story Worth Telling, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t easy.

Six kids to feed, a beautiful wife to provide for, a mortgage to pay, and nothing but the belief that God had called me to write and minister to His Kingdom-at-Large.

Eventually opportunities began to surface as I kept moving forward, stumbling and learning as I went. We moved to Atlanta to position myself for maximum effectiveness.

And it all began to come together.

Now I have a different problem.

What happens when you move from having nothing to do to a place where you have so much to do that you feel overwhelmed?

The Question of When to Say When

That’s the question I’ve wrestled with for the last many weeks.

Untitled-8As you may have noticed, I took August off to focus on the Ziglar Family project. I’ve sent you a few emails of late to be the first to experience the new course and to  give you an opportunity to help your family at a significant discount.

But August turned into September. And now it’s October. And I am still feeling over-committed.

I have a few key projects on my plate in addition to the Ziglar Family effort. I LOVE what I do and more people need more help than ever.

I confess, it’s intoxicating to know people need you. It certainly is better than the year I spent wondering if I would ever be of any help to anyone ever again.

But here is one thing I’m in the process of learning–it takes faith to say no.

I really do not like saying No to anyone.

If I can help, my auto-response is that I should help. I suspect that is partly due to my personality and mostly due to a mindset that infects much of Christianity–a misunderstanding of service.

We tend to pour ourselves out for others–and think that the more spent we feel, the closer to God we are. But it just isn’t true.

When we spread ourselves too thin, we actually help less than we could have, because the quality of our help declines. The people we’re called to serve the most–our families– suffer the most.

We think we’re doing more, but we’re actually doing less–and none of it is as good as it should be.

The tough truth  I struggle to embrace is this: I can’t do it all.

I know that may seem an obvious truth, but I often think that I CAN find a way to pull it off.

But the truth is that Jesus came to the world for one purpose. His ministry remained focused on his purpose. And the same is true for me and you. If we’re not clear on our purpose, we will end up scattered and ineffective and overwhelmed and–quite frankly, worn out.

What I’m Doing about It

When I recognized my struggle with being overcommitted, I reached out for help.

I enlisted the guidance of my life coach who steered me well through my transition several years ago.

516txpkm6l-_sx332_bo1204203200_He recommended I start by reading a book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I HIGHLY recommend it if you have every felt overwhelmed by life (I suspect that is everyone).

I ordered it from Amazon immediately and had read it within two days of receiving it. Then I began to re-read it. Powerful and effective book.

I put up some boundaries. I set up an autoresponder in my personal email account to let people know I may not be getting back to them ASAP because of the projects on my plate. I didn’t like doing it, but it is reality. If I don’t protect my time to write and create, no one else will. And I will fail to fulfill my calling.

I enlisted the help of my wife. My wife is a guardian and better able to tell people no–or at least to tell me to tell people no. So I’ve enlisted her help with planning (an area of strength for her), which also increases accountability.

I began telling people no. I do NOT like turning down projects or telling people I can’t help them. But I began to do it. And guess what–the world didn’t end. (Ok, I confess I am still afraid that it might, but….)

I refocused on my relationship with the source of all wisdom and strength. When we get busy, one of the first things to go is our time with God and His word. I got intentional about protecting that time–and expanding that time to meditate, pray, and think.

I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that I cannot do it all. I am realizing that if I am to keep the main thing the main thing then I must turn down a lot of really good opportunities. But it is still very much a work in progress.

If I am to live a story worth telling, I must choose certain, specific paths and not try to explore all of them at once.

I believe that to be true. Now I need to act on what I believe to be true.

I’ll let you know what I discover, just in case you’ve ever felt overcommitted and overwhelmed.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve ever felt this same pressure to please and overcommit.

I’m hoping I’m not the first person to struggle with saying no.

Why August Will Be a Quiet Month

A Few Things that Might Interest You

Well, it’s August. And that seems to always be an incredibly busy time of year for me. When I ran a school, it was back-to-school time. Now it just seems a lot of things come together in August that require my creative attention.


So if you were wondering why I haven’t released any new podcasts or posts recently, there you have it. Life has gotten extremely busy.

You may be interested in what I’m doing.

First, I’ve partnered with the Zig Ziglar group to help launch a new venture called Ziglar Family. Our aim is to build on the timeless faith-based wisdom of Zig Ziglar to apply his principles to today’s families in fresh, relevant ways.

I encourage you to get connected with this effort by asking to join our closed Facebook group or by claiming a free eBook and adding your name to the email list. We’ll keep you posted, get your input, and offer some discounts and other cool stuff.

The first course for families is coming together now. Exciting stuff. Here is the logo and a course visual:

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 7.22.06 AM

Families need support, now more than ever. Which brings me to my second item.

My latest book You Will Be Made to Care: The War on Faith, Family, and Your Freedom to Believe is now available on audio CD.

Click the image to check it out. The attacks on families are increasing. And the coming elections offer no hope of any change thus far.

Lord-willing, I will offer some perspectives on all of it when podcasts and posts resume in September. I appreciate your patience and understanding. Follow me on Twitter for my most current perspectives on the political scene.

Which brings me to the third item. In addition to the Ziglar Family project, I am collaborating on a few more book projects that I believe will be a benefit to many.

I am also planning a new course to help Christians figure out life direction and make wise decisions about what God would have them do next.  So a few things going on. Oh, and I am launching a new business.

Your prayers are much appreciated in this busy season.

I have received so many questions from so many readers of late that I am running a little behind in replying to you all. Please forgive the delay but know that I pray for each of you as soon as I receive your emails.

I’m looking forward to addressing them in posts and resources going forward.

So until next time, walk by faith, my friend, and I’ll see you out on the trail!

The War on Faith Forces Pharmacy to Choose: Conscience or Compliance

Interview with Business Owner Kevin Stormans and Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom

A few weeks ago, the United States Supreme Court declined to consider a case on appeal from Washington State. As a result, a family pharmacy run by the Stormans for generations must choose between conscience and compliance.

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Episode 25 of The FaithWalkers Podcast addresses a recent attempt to force Christians to put their faith in a box.

I bring you up to speed on the recent ruling and why it matters, then share an exclusive interview from last year in which I spoke to Kevin Stormans, an owner of Ralph’s Thriftway in Washington state.

He is joined by his legal counsel, Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of legal services for Alliance Defending Freedom.

It is one of the most chilling religious liberty cases out there because it is unthinkable that anyone could be forced to participate in what they believe to be murder.

Episode 24: The Challenge of Walking by Faith in the Here & Now

An Interview with Morgan Rogers of Campus Outreach

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to keep walking by faith when you’ve almost reached your destination. In spite of God’s previous blessings, why is it the mountain in front of us in the here and now always seems to be the biggest one we’ve ever faced?

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In this episode, I share a conversation with Morgan Rogers, a young lady whose life has been transformed in the last several years by the Gospel. As a student heading out of college with a business degree, she sensed God calling her to serve with Campus Outreach.

What to Do When Your Spouse Disagrees about Your Calling

7 Reminders to Help Get on the Same Page with Your Spouse

You think you know the direction God would have you to go. You believe you have clarity about your next steps to do what God designed you to do. You may even want to leave your current job and step out in a new direction. But your spouse doesn’t see it. What do you do?


A reader actually sent me this question recently. It’s one I receive fairly frequently from Christians trying to figure out God’s best for their lives. And it is an important one.

Episode 23: What Limiting Beliefs Keep You from Enjoying God’s Best?

5 Areas of Life Where Limiting Beliefs Live

Sometimes I think God doesn’t tell us how great heaven will be because we wouldn’t believe Him. Seriously. What keeps us from experiencing God’s best in life—from stepping out and walking with abundant faith—are the limiting beliefs we allow ourselves to embrace.

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In this episode I take  a more casual approach, sharing what’s on my heart in connection to the things we all believe that keep us from moving forward.

One Thing You Can Always Expect When Stepping Out

Why the "Open Door" Method of Determining God's Will Doesn't Work

Stepping out before you know how it all turns out—that’s what faith is all about. But many Christians embrace the false notion that it should be easy, or at least simple. And if it’s not, God isn’t in it.


But when we look at Scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there is one thing we know we will encounter every time we change direction in life—resistance.

Episode 22: Why Unplugging from Everything Helps You See the Main Things

5 Lessons Learned from Taking a Vacation

I finally did it! I did the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the seemingly impossible—I took a vacation. And I lived to learn a few things from it.

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I recently unplugged completely and took a week off with family at Disney World. It was my first vacation on at least 3-4 years.

How to Kill the Green-Eyed Monster of Envy

5 Ways to Stop Envy Before It Starts

It’s been called the green monster. Invidia in the Latin texts. A deadly sin. And a common one. Envy.

green eyed

I confess to falling for it at times. Far too many times. No matter how much success I experience, it’s never enough.

The book launch could have been bigger—like hers. The traffic could be higher—like his. The number of speaking engagements could be more—and so it goes. More. Always more.

As we strolled through our neighborhood last night, my wife and I noted features we liked about other houses, and I felt envy creeping in again—even though we have a beautiful home with more room than we’ve ever had before.

Envy, you see, is not rational. It doesn’t make sense when we think about it. But then we usually don’t think about it. We just go with the feeling and end up in a bad place.

But usually by the end of each day we’ve encountered more than a few people who appear to be enjoying success. More than we’re having, at least.

And that’s all it takes. We see it and we want it for ourselves.