Saying No to Stinginess
It’s my most frequent answer nowadays. In a busy household, saying "no" to volunteer responsibilities and extra activities helps me keep things running smoothly. In fact, I’ve gotten so good at saying “no,” it’s often my first answer:
- Sit down and play a board game with the kids? No, they have chores!
- Do something fun with my husband? No, too much housework.
- Need a shoulder to cry on? No, work is more important.
- Want to help with a ministry at church? No, not enough time.
The funny thing is, I began this quest of saying “no” to make space in my life for what’s important—generously sharing my time, my energy, my attention and even my money.
Somewhere along the way, however, saying “no” morphed into stinginess. Instead of making room to really listen to my kids, I absent-mindedly “Mmm-hmmm” my way through their stories. Instead of finding energy to pay more attention to my husband, he’s relegated to a business-like arrangement of running our household. Instead of having a few extra dollars to share with someone in need, I fearfully sock away every penny for a “rainy day fund.”
What began as meaningful boundaries has become stinginess. “No’s” were useful in helping me focus on what’s important. But when I began to say “no” from a stance of “not enough,” I was hoarding time, effort, attention and money.
When I saw the abundance in my life, however, I was able to become truly generous. When I finally admitted that I waste a couple hours each day watching TV, I was free to generously shower time and attention on my family. When I caught a glimpse of how I am uniquely created, I could generously use my talents for an important cause. When I saw the over-the-top material blessings in my life, I was motivated to write a check to help a family in need.
When I began to see how much I really have, I could start saying no to stinginess.
Lord, even as I say “no” out of necessity, help me to see your abundance. Help me say “no” to stinginess.
Written by Esther Feng