When to Say “No” to Good Opportunities

Here’s your current dilemma—someone you admire just offered you an amazing opportunity. This is literally the opportunity dreams are made of. Saying “yes” seems like an easy decision, but is it the right choice? When should you say “no” to good opportunities?

Start with your purpose

To make a good decision, you have to know your purpose. If you haven’t defined what you want to do and why you want to do it, you have no guidelines for decision making. Literally, you could say “yes” to everything and justify your decision, only to end up overwhelmed, exhausted, and probably angry.

Good opportunities are intoxicating. When others acknowledge our strengths or compliment us, our ego is boosted and we feel good about ourselves too. We thrive on compliments and encouragement. Don’t be ashamed, it’s natural. We long for affirmation.

God created you with a unique collection of gifts and a distinct purpose. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, believers are described as individual parts of a body—each with a distinct purpose but designed to work in unison. You have a distinct purpose in a greater story. Thus, not everything is your job, even if you wish it was.

Start with your purpose.

When To Say No To Good Opportunities
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Differentiate good and right

You can exhaust yourself doing good things. Every time you say “yes” to something, you’re choosing to give your time, energy, and gifts away whether you realize it or not.

Good things are helpful. Sometimes they’re sacrificial. In many ways, they make your home, your church, your children’s schools, and your community better. Good things take advantage of your gifts and abilities to solve problems and help people.

So, why not do all the good things that come your way?

Because they may not be the right things for you. Your right choices are the ones that coincide with your unique purpose. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?” (1 Corinthians 12:17)

For example, you’re good at organizing, should you host a bible study in your house? Maybe or maybe not. Stop and ask yourself these questions before you decide. Is God leading you to teach? Has your family been called to open up your home to others? Are your gifts best used to support others as they teach or open up their homes?

Notice the difference? If your gifts are best used helping others, teaching and hosting may not be right for you. What if, you are supposed to be the one behind the scenes putting out food, running errands, or staying late to help clean up? Everyone’s part is important.

Photo By Smart On Unsplash
Photo by Smart on Unsplash

When should you say “no” to good opportunities?

Before you decide whether or not to take that opportunity, ask yourself these questions. Does this opportunity align with my purpose? When I say “yes” to this opportunity, what am I choosing to forego? If I say “yes,” am I stealing someone else’s right opportunity?

Not all good things are your right things.

There are times when you need to decline good opportunities. Even if no one else seems interested in stepping up, you can say “no.”

When you say “no” to good opportunities, you are making space to say “yes” to your right choices. Offering a confident “no” is a mark of maturity, trusting that God has something even better in mind for you.

Your next steps

Define your purpose and give yourself a framework to make decisions. Download my simple 1-page Purpose Guide to get started.

Once you’ve defined your purpose, what is one good activity you need to reconsider in your current schedule?

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