Knowing yourself, No-ing Others
August 25, 2021

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

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Knowing yourself. No-ing others.

by: Tres Garner - Resource Director

“No no no no!” is — unfortunately — a recurring theme in our lives right now. We have a 15 month old baby who has decided to let my wife and I know what she wants and doesn’t want. It’s frustrating because, being an adult, I know what’s best for her(!) and what is even more frustrating is that there’s not a place for dialogue between us. My daughter doesn't have the proper vocabulary so she can let me know why she is saying no. 

Saying no and receiving a “no” have their own complexities, but here we’re going to focus on saying no to others—hopefully better than my 15 month old right now. 

Saying “No” is healthy. 

You have permission to say no to others. We’ve let bad habits, bad friends, or bad situations control what we step into next. Waiting on permission from things that aren’t good for us. You have permission to say no. When you say No in a healthy way, it allows the right Yes to step up. Anytime you lift something heavy, someone corny will always say “Don’t lift with your back, lift with your legs!” Saying not to lift with your back isn’t saying your back is weak, but getting you aligned to use the proper muscles for the job. Saying no is a decision towards a healthy mental and physical space.

Saying “No” creates space. Jesus did two things really well that I know I don’t do well, (1) He got alone and (2) He put people in their place. Not to mean that he shouted down at everyone and “PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE!”. But he did categorize his ministry—and even his friends! He had 12 disciples, but he also had The 3 (Peter, James & John). He intentionally placed these people in his life to create space, health, and wisdom.


Saying “No” will be necessary. So how do you say no? We all have responsibilities that can’t be ignored. I don't turn my head away from my daughter screaming my name—I instead turn to her.

(1) Honor Up. (2) Provide a Yes. These two things help me say No. 

Honor Up: I don’t say no to someone I want to build up or a responsibility I’ve committed to.

Provide a Yes: If I say No, I immediately provide another option or suggestion to say Yes to.

[Request] “Yo! Could you knock out some screens to the branding you just did—I want to promote it this Sunday.”

[My Response:] “Ayy! Thanks man, that project was super dope—love how it turned out. Right now, we have several weekend deliverables—however if you get some specifics together I can try to knock it out end-of-week or next week, does that work?”

This shouldn’t be an anthem to shutting down your coworkers, teams, or family but an exercise to help everyone have a better work-life balance. I’ve sat in the seat of a pixel-pusher and a project lead—both require the ability to say No in a healthy way. 


Yellowbox exists to equip churches and creatives with everything they need to build a healthy culture. Let us know if this perspective relates to you and helps you navigate the creative space in church.