If you haven't had the chance to read, "The Power of 'No' Part 1, take the time to do that as this will be a continuation/gear change of the common phrase. Follow the link below to find part 1.
I have been raised to serve. My grandma is a great example of serving people, even if it's to her own discomfort of capabilities, time or energy. I was raised to help people no matter what. If I was present to see or hear the need, I jumped in right away. As I've grown older, my need to do that has only increased. I have found myself jumping in outside of my comfort zone to perform service where needed. I have found myself serving without others knowing as a sense of "feeling good" about myself regardless of what others might see. I have also found myself doing acts of service outside of the "norm" to show my authenticity and sincere love and concern for those I serve.
I would like to switch gears a bit and discuss why saying 'no' to opportunities to serve is beneficial. Here me out....I promise it's worth the read!
(Disclaimer: I am NOT telling you to be selfish and say NO to every call for help, that's just plain rude and self-centered!)
Ok, now I have your full attention if you've read this far to explain myself further. How often have you been asked to serve and it was a sacrifice? To me, service isn't always convenient or fun for the giver, but gratefully accepted by the receiver. The kind of sacrifice I'm talking about is a sacrifice that shouldn't necessarily be made.
For example, constantly serving your family members financial needs in spite of falling behind on your own bills just to be the "nice one". What about making time to serve scrumptious meals for those in need while serving a bowl of cereal, or the likes, out of sheer exhaustion in fixing another meal for your own family? What about bailing your child out of every consequence for their mistakes because it would mean you have to stay in for the night to enforce them? What about helping someone move into/out of the neighborhood when you have a back problem and they can clearly afford a moving company? (Hank Smith, So Happy Together Conference)
This is the 'No' I'm referring to; the presence of boundaries. What boundaries do for you and those you set them with is create better opportunities to selflessly serve in a way that better serves the receiver. What does that mean?
If we constantly give acts of service that harm our well-being, whether it be physical, spiritual or mental, we are not in fact serving the way we were intended to or taught to. The power of 'No' teaches the receiver that they have the ability, at times, to solve their own problems. If they constantly rely on you to bail them out of the natural consequences that come with their choices, the need to change the situation is not present, therefore change will not happen.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE understand that I am not encouraging you to be a ruthless individual who doesn't care for others. I'm not encouraging you to not sacrifice your own comfort to serve other people. I'm not asking you to shirk at the responsibility of caring for your friends and family. I am asking you to reevaluate boundaries that you do have, or create some!
Without boundaries, we eventually lose the desire to serve. Without boundaries, the receiver will take advantage of your kindness. Without boundaries you lose the excitement of serving, whether known or unknown.
It's okay to say NO people! Your'e not any less Christlike because you have boundaries in place that will protect your well being.
In fact, the more boundaries you have, the clearer your intentions are with others and they know they can count on you. With boundaries, your priorities are in line with taking care of yourself so that you can better take care of others. With boundaries, you're creating a powerhouse of strength that will become contagious to others. With boundaries, you're limiting the acts of service that you perform to be seen and ready yourself for the service that God needs you to perform that day.
"Each day we have a choice to be ordinary or extraordinary. Make the choice to be extraordinary." -Denise Burchard, HPX Co-Owner
When I first purchased the book "Boundaries:When to say Yes and How to Say No To take Control of your Life" by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend, it was more out of curiosity. I was anxious to hear what that title entailed. As I read further and understood the power of 'no' to create more opportunities for 'yes' later, I was ambitious to give it a try.
It definitely wasn't easy at first, because I didn't have too many boundaries on my service. I would say 'yes' to everything and sometimes would feel empty from the service. The more I learned to say 'no', the happier I felt when I did serve because it was out of complete desire and not just need.
Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of our God."
God wants us to serve His children. More importantly He wants us to teach each other by our examples of helpful service; helpful to our spirits and helpful to the needs of the receiver. If we are constantly giving up our well being to serve others, we lose the real need for the service in the first place; lifting others. We can't lift others if we're low ourselves. This is NOT to say that we shouldn't serve if we need service ourselves! What it means is that we must set boundaries to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.
Understanding how to say 'no' isn't a selfish endeavor. It's learning to say 'no' to open opportunities for 'yes' later.
Like Part 1 implied, when I am told 'no' or that I can't do something, it only makes me want to find out why or try harder for the thing. Essentially if we are appropriately using our boundaries, we will create that desire in others as well!
Check out the 3 books written by Dr. Henry Cloud & John Townsend, all coming from a Christ-centered approach on Boundaries.
"Boundaries in Marriage"
"Boundaries with Kids"
"Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life."