Friday 16 March 2018

Saying No

 By Jenny Glazebrook

I watch my 10 year old daughter lie on her bed and create stories, page after page of words and pictures as her imagination runs wild and she escapes to another world. 
And I remember when I used to do the same thing. 

Some of 10 year old Clarity's creations

I remember back to when I loved writing. Before I was officially an author.
Presenting a school writing workshop
I’ve been so busy helping others write the past few years that I’ve had no time to write. I’ve run workshops, mentored young writers, been on committees for writers’ festivals and conferences, done free proof-reading, written reviews, given inspirational talks … and in it all, lost my love of writing.

I have to ask myself, when did it become a chore? When did it become another ‘should’ in my busy world?

This year I felt that the Lord wanted me to pull out of all my voluntary roles. It started when I developed a painful condition of my wrist (De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) with associated radial nerve damage – a result of the type 1 diabetes I was diagnosed with at 8 years of age. I am waiting for surgery. I can no longer use a computer mouse without a lot of pain. But free-flow typing is fine.

My 'No!' button
I don’t find it easy to say ‘No’when people ask me to help. In fact, my mother bought me a ‘No’ button to help me with this issue. When you press it, a deep, masculine voice says ‘No’ in many and varied ways. My kids love it and have a good giggle when they use it to answer a question I ask them. And sometimes I get a shock when it’s buried under a pile of papers and I accidentally lean on it.

But I have to ask myself, why is it so hard to say ‘No?’

Is it because I don’t value my work and see other peoples’ gifts as more valuable than the one God has given me?

Is it because I have this warped idea that helping others will make them like me more?

Is it because I’m afraid to fail? What if I focus on my own writing but it’s not good enough?

Is it because my pride says I am able and more willing to help in these areas because I do the job properly, putting my heart and soul into it?

Is it because my default is to rescue others at my own peril?

Is it because I feel I have to prove my worth to the world, to prove I am valuable and deserve to be here? And that by pouring myself out for them I am making their lives better and therefore am valuable?

I have had a good, long, hard look into my heart and I believe it is actually a bit of all of these. Particularly, the last two.

But they are lies of the devil.

God does not need me to rescue people. That is His job and He does it way better than I do!
And despite the fact that I am on a government pension because of family health issues, I do not ‘owe’ it to the world to prove my worth.  God, the King of the Universe, has made me His child. And the government pension is not so that I can wear out my mind and body rescuing others … it is so I can care for myself and my family.

Pop in 2005
I recently spent a day with my 90 year old grandfather in hospital.
Several times he spoke to me of his regret that he didn’t write more down over his lifetime. He kept saying, ‘But Jen, now there’s just not enough time …’
And it struck my heart that I don’t want to be lying on my death bed regretting that I didn’t write more, that I didn’t do what I love and bless others through it. I wish Pop had written down the things on his heart, the lessons he’s learned through life, his spiritual insights. I wish it was here to hold onto when he’s gone. But now his memory is failing and at times he is too weak to even speak.

My time is now. The time to love my family, to live in the moment, to express my heart through writing, to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary did and stop being a Martha. I am troubled by so many things. A couple of nights ago I went outside and sat looking at the stars while our dog laid his head in my lap and our pet goose made gentle honking noises, trying to get my attention. And I just breathed and soaked up God's presence as I remembered what it means to be alive.

And so, to regain my joy in using the gift of writing God has given me, to receive inspiration and strength from Him, this year I say ‘no’ to all the shoulds and instead,  I will enjoy being a wife, a mother, a writer, and most important of all, God’s precious, valuable child … just because I breathe, because He made me in His image and He loves me.

May we never lose the joy of using the gifts God has given us. May we never get so tied up in the business and responsibility of being an author that we forget to write. May our inspiration in Christ be endless, our imaginations set free and our love for God and others grow stronger with every passing day!

Much love to you all, my brothers and sisters, my fellow writers.


Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She is currently working on her next series with publisher, Breath of Fresh Air Press. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker, a chaplain, and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day.  
Jenny’s website is:


  1. Jenny, thank you. It is interesting that when we learn to say no, others seem to have a hard time accepting "NO" as an acceptable answer. One way I have discovered to help this anonomy is when I ask someone something I preface it with "no is an acceptable answer." I get stares and weird looks so be it. Nevertheless some have been so grateful that I have not heaped an unwarranted expectation on them. Others who can't say no end up overwhelmed and fall in a heap from what they consider people expect of them. People will be people, eh! We humans are indeed a peculiar kind.

    1. I love that idea of prefacing with 'No is an acceptable answer'. I'm going to take that one on board! And yes, we are a peculiar kind : )

  2. Thanks, Jenny, for sharing (again!) in such a real and honest way. Saying no always seems just a little impolite to this people-pleasing-inclined person, but what a good reminder as to its importance. As I get older I think I am getting better at saying no, perhaps because I’m recognising and valuing God’s purposes in my life more; regardless, it’s necessary for my sanity! Praying for many days of free-flowing pain-free writing for you!

    1. Thanks Carolyn. I'm so glad you've said no to other things and have focused on writing recently. I, (and many others) have been so very blessed with the way you are using your gifts.

  3. I'm hearing you, Jenny! Well done for making the decision you have made for this year, to focus on your family, your writing, your own well-being etc and to say no to those other 'helping' roles for now at least. It's so easy, isn't it, to kind of lose ourselves in running around doing everything--and to lose our close connection with God in the process. God bless you as you write--and may that op come soon for your wrist.

    1. Thanks Jo-Anne. Yes. It's interesting that already I have seen God's hand in ways I haven't had the time to notice in past years. When we sit at His feet, there is such healing to be found. I'm discouraged that it seems to take something drastic (such as illness or pain) for me to stop and connect with God more closely. My son recently said, 'Mum, do you think prosperity can actually be a trial?' I answer that with a resounding 'yes', because true treasure is found in the times we have nothing left but Christ and we realise that He is our everything and always was. Health, goals, busyness, possessions ... they are all a distraction from the joy of knowing He is all we truly need and were searching for.

  4. Jenny, thank you for yet another honest and thought-provoking post. I always look forward to reading your posts, because I know you'll both challenge and inspire me.

    I'm someone else who finds it hard to say "no" (and even harder when I'm not even asked, just voluntold and handed a roster with my name on it!). Now I'm reading and rereading your questions, wondering which ones apply to me, and what applies to me that you haven't thought of.

    1. I'd really like to know if you come up with other reasons, Iola. I'm a master of self-sabotage and still haven't worked out exactly why. I'm sure there are other people who have other reasons, too. That's really hard to be 'voluntold' ... much harder to say 'no'! I can see why people want to 'use' your gifts as so many of us have been greatly blessed by them, but I figure God gave them to you and He's the one who shows you how/when/where to use them, so it's not fair of others to be deciding that for you. May God give us all His firm, gentle spirit as we fix our eyes on Him and His purposes!

  5. Thanks Jenny, I really needed to read that post too. I've found the several 'shoulds' that consume time and push us too far out of our comfort zones are some of the things that steal the joy of actual writing, as you say. And I'd love a NO button like yours 😉 Thanks for inspiring and challenging us, as usual.

    1. It is a fine line, isn't it Paula, to know when being pushed out of our comfort zone is God, and when it is the world placing its demands on us. I truly believe we are in a spiritual battle with our writing. God gives us words and stories that can touch so many, but it seems so hard, so discouraging to actually get them out there and see the value of what we do. Please be assured that your writing has been a great blessing to me and to so many others. I loan out your books so often I've had to get second copies. As writers we so often don't get to see the impact of our work, not like a speaker who looks out and sees the tears running down the faces of the audience. But God knows and that is why He's given us this love of writing for Him and the joy of seeing our finished product going out into the world. You and your writing have been such an inspiration to me. Thank you for writing!


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