The Most Powerful Word in the World

by James L. Rubart

“Want to know what the most powerful word in the English language is?” 

My friend Scott had a thin smile on his face when he asked me that question ten years back.

“Love to hear it.”



“Yeah.” Scott turned and glanced at me as we drove toward his home in San Antonio. “No.”

He went on to explain how saying no brings great freedom. How we’re pre-conditioned to say yes, even when no part of our plate is visible they’re so full.

“Sure! Toss another dollop of potatoes on my plate. It’s only seven feet high at the moment.” 

Scott talked about how we say yes out of obligation, or fear of rejection, or because we’re worried we’ll miss out, and a hundred other reasons. But the result is the same. 

Feeling like we can’t breathe.

Where Do You Need to Say No?

  • A critique group?
  • A guest blog post?
  • Another Facebook group?
  • Volunteering at a conference?
  • Read a manuscript for possible endorsement?
  • Agree to look at a friend of a friend’s novel attempt?

Don’t misunderstand, all those things can be wonderful, but are we sure we’re doing it for the right reason? Did God tell us to say yes to all the things we’ve agreed to? Did we take time to ask him, or did we just dive in? 

Too often my mode has been just dive in. I haven’t asked the Lord; instead I’ve almost automatically said yes to things that sounded fun at the time, but later I realized it wasn’t where God was leading.

Remember, if we’re doing A, we’re not doing B. And B might be the better (and God ordained) choice. 

Do you say yes more than you want to? Why? Have you discovered the power of no?

 James L. Rubart is the
best-selling, Christy award winning author of six novels. His seventh,
The Five Times I Met Myself, comes out this November

During the
day he runs a marketing company which helps authors make more coin of
the realm. He lives with his amazing wife in the Pacific Northwest and
loves to dirt bike, hike, golf, take photos, and still thinks he’s young
enough to water ski like a madman. More at