Just Say No | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
August 2015

Just Say No

By Sara Palm

When I was in elementary school we were expected to participate in the D.A.R.E. program. If you are unfamiliar with the program, D.A.R.E. stands for Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education, and was implemented as a program to get us to Just Say No to drugs. To our suburban selves this seemed pretty obvious. This idea of just saying no was really easy because it wasn’t ever a temptation. Nobody we knew did drugs, no one offered us drugs, so it was pretty easy to just say no.

As we get older we find saying no gets harder. The evils that threaten to hold us back aren’t just inanimate things like drugs and alcohol that they warned us of in school, but sometimes our own selves. We get so wrapped up in our busyness and our desire to please other people that we find it impossible to say no. We were empowered as children to say no to things that external things that could harm us, like drugs, alcohol, strangers with candy, but we are not equipped to say no to things that we wrestle with internally.

Here’s the thing, as we start to say yes to everyone around us, we tend to say no to God. We think we are doing good things by serving on every philanthropic board, church committee, and volunteer project, and in lots of ways we are. The work of God is going on in these places, which is why we feel drawn to them, but sometimes we become over extended and feel we can’t say no to anyone.

God calls each of us to different places in life, my call isn’t the same as yours, and that’s the way it should be. Some of us are great at multitasking and can do all kinds of things at once, and if you aren’t that person, it might be tempting to try to be like those who are. But maybe God is calling you to put your energy and talents into one thing, or person, because you excel and caring for one person at a time.

If you are over stressed and neglecting your own health, spiritual time with God, or family, then you may have said yes to too many people, or too many things. However, the beauty of our diversity means we weren’t created to do everything. God is calling you to something specific, and if you are too stressed because you’ve said yes to everything in life around you, then you may not be focusing on what God is calling you to do.

So take some time to say yes to God, even if you have to Just Say No to some of the things of this world.

Questions for Reflection and Study: Are there things in your life you wish you’d said no to? What could you do to start backing away from at least one of them? Is there another calling on your life that you can’t say yes to because you are too busy? How could you restructure your time to fit this calling in, even if it means saying no to something else?

See more devotions from Sara and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself, at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.