Setting up boundaries in your life may reveal some people, things, or opportunities that you need to get comfortable with saying “no” to. Dr. Shannan Crawford, licensed psychologist and CEO of Crawford Clinics, discusses below how this uncomfortable but necessary exercise will help keep you aligned to God’s will and plan for your life, leaving no room for regret to creep in.
You can listen to this entire conversation with Dr. Crawford on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.
Can you share a personal example of when you said ‘no’ to good, not really knowing what that GREAT thing you were going to say yes to even was yet?
Absolutely! One of my biggest passions and accomplishments in life is getting to be an adjunct professor. I really love educating and helping future therapists. I got my dream opportunity to teach at The Kings University in South Lake, Texas, and got to serve as an adjunct professor for about six and a half years. And then I felt the Lord saying, “Okay, now you need to go into sabbath and take a break.” A little surprised, I said, “Okay, I’ll take a sabbatical and then go back at some time.” But I realized it felt like He was actually telling me that I would be stepping down.
The frustrating thing for me was that I didn’t really get an answer from God on why He was telling me this. As embarrassing as this is, I went on a prayer walk with the Lord after my last night teaching and told Him, “Lord, this is a really big loss. I love this position.” He didn’t come to me in a burning bush and tell me He’s exact plan behind this change. I only heard Him say, “Just trust me.” So I chose to trust Him, after my tears.
Over time, I started securing a lot more speaking engagements, more podcast guest spots, and a lot more teaching at a larger scale. As much as I loved teaching, it really did take a ton of bandwidth. So God took me from being able to have an impact on a handful of people each semester to being able to share with and educate a much broader audience than I ever could have hoped for. I had to learn that whatever is fruitful, God will prune. He may ask you to step aside and allow a pruning to help something grow into an even more productive opportunity.
Pruning doesn’t mean you’ve messed up or done a bad thing. Saying ‘no’ to something now will help you have the capacity and bandwidth to be even more fruitful. I love in Hebrews where God says, over and over, that He’ll keep His promises. He promises that if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. I love how Jesus told the disciples that if you’re willing to leave you mother and father and home to follow Him, He will give you so much more in this life and in the life to come.
If you’re reading this and wondering why you have a hard time saying ‘no,’ you might just be trying to avoid grief. I want you to know that what you’re feeling is normal. I just want to remind you that God loves you more than you can hope, dream, or imagine. All He wants is to hear you say that you want to be in relationship with Him and that you want to do life with Him. Once you make that decision, saying ‘no’ to later say ‘yes’ will feel so much more natural.
Is it dangerous to second-guess saying ‘no’ to something?
I think so. Regret is a monster that you can never quiet. When you second-guess, you’re creating mistrust within and toward yourself, as well as mistrust toward God. Regret means you’re tethering yourself to the past. Another way to think about this is to imagine that the Enemy is hitting pause on the story of your life. He’s pausing the movie at the worst points so that he can points out and condemn you for all the “shouldn’t haves” in your past. Freezing you at the worst moments keeps you tied to the past, and it keeps you from advancing into the future.
Instead of allowing that, try switching your mindset from feeling regret to instead just telling God, ‘Here’s my mess.’ Like a parent wiping chocolate off the face of a child, He will then tell you that you belong and you are wanted, even in your worst moment You do not have to live in regret. When you get ahold of God’s extravagant love, you can’t help but praise, and that praise helps you get back up and choose the right direction. God is still writing your story. I had a lot of years where I purposefully sinned and made bad choices that hurt my life, and I felt like I was way off in left field and way past God being able to use me. But then the Lord showed me that He has a timeline and He can realign me and put me back on the trajectory that He has for my life, and for yours. He can and will redeem you and will put you in the positions where you can have the greatest influence for good.
Dr. Shannan Crawford is a licensed psychologist and the CEO of Crawford Clinics where she and her incredible team of counselors provide innovative psychotherapy services using a holistic Christian approach tailored for individuals, executives, couples and families. She is the host of the podcast Unlock U with Dr. Shannan Crawford.
As the innovator of the Restoring Self-Cohesion (RSC) approach, a hybrid of psychotherapy and faith-based inner-healing models that facilitates deeper healing than talk therapy by identifying and resolving the unconscious roots producing personal, relational, spiritual, and vocational symptoms.
Dr. Crawford weaves RSC into her work as an Executive Coach helping leaders and influencers overcome areas of self-sabotage, imposture-syndrome, procrastination and self-limiting beliefs undermining enjoyment in their calling. As a conference speaker, Dr. Crawford speaks for a variety of audiences on topics such as, emotionally healthy leadership, business, anxiety, trauma, marriage, resolving childhood wounds and traumas etc. She has spoken nationally and internally including Singapore, Indonesia, India, Brazil, and Bangladesh. Dr. Crawford loves serving as an adjunct professor at univeristies such as The King’s University in Southlake, TX.
Passionate to see the end of human trafficking, she serves on the board of untrafficked.org. She is working on a trilogy book project; an allegory fiction adventure that explores the nuances of the internal world through the story of espionage and romance.
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