Saying No to Good Things

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to play violin in a local musical ensemble — fulfilling a goal I’ve had for a long time! This was great news! Right?


When it came down to it, I absolutely had to say no, despite how badly I wanted to participate. Sad? Maybe — maybe not.

But why?

A quick conversation with wife brought me some much-needed perspective. All she said was, “What activity will you stop to make room for this?


I didn’t know what to say, because I really enjoy all of my current activities. They are all very important to me right now. And there is just no room to add anything else to my already-overflowing plate. We’ve been so — prepare for that hateful word — busy, and there’s no sane way I can commit to this.

(And sleep, eat, work, and see my wife for the next six weeks, that is.)

Plus, we’ve been talking more and more about creating margin and being intentional about our activities and commitments… and this wasn’t exactly a major priority until it was suddenly available as an opportunity.

So that was my answer.

Despite having to turn down a great opportunity — a depressing thought by itself — it did feel good to know I had made the best, most intentional decision available. Hey, no one ever said being intentional was easy! Turning it down was just what needed to be done. Committing would have been the mistake.

Thus, Team Ralon is learning how important it is to say a firm, resounding NO — even to good things.

Honestly, I’m really glad this opportunity came along so I could remember how important my current goals are and how excited I am about them. There’s nothing like a shift in perspective to clarify priorities.

What good things have you had to decline? How did you make your decision?