Sometimes a step toward changing the world means taking the risk to do that big thing, knowing you could fail but facing it anyway. Other times, changing the world comes from saying no, bowing out, staying seated when it seems like you should stand. If yes were a building, no is the back door. Because for every brave yes, there is also a no that comes right along with it. And sometimes saying no takes more courage than saying yes ever did.

We run into some of our most overwhelming problems when we fail to realize that our yes’s live in the same basket as our no’s. And so we must be confident enough in our decisions that a narrowed eye from a fellow school parent doesn’t sway us; that pressure from the Bible study leader at church doesn’t force our hand; that a harsh but well-intended word from a relative doesn’t derail our priorities. Believe in your yes, hold fast to your no. Don’t let the easily offended critic set the agenda.

People may love you, respect you, look up to you, want to be with you, but they will not say no for you. They will let you work and volunteer as long as you are willing. They will let you lead and be strong and move ahead if you want to. Don’t get mad at them for letting you continue to say yes. Only you know your boundaries. If you don’t, might I encourage you to find them out. Because yes can be brave, but it can also be bossy. It can become an addiction. Before you realize it, all of your yes’s are to obligation and duty. And because of those obligated yes’s you are forced to look passion and intention and desire in the eye and say No, I don’t have time for you.

Protect the goal. Carve out margin. Create space for your soul to breathe. Weigh the cost your yes will have on your spirit, your soul, your body. You may have to search for your brave yes, but you will have to fight for your brave no.

Read 31 days to Change the World from the beginning. Subscribe to Chatting at the Sky for free.