About the Author

Grace P. Cho is a Korean American writer, poet, and speaker. She believes telling our stories can change the world, and desires to elevate women of color’s voices in the publishing industry. Learn more at @gracepcho and gracepcho.com.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for sharing, Grace! 🙂

    The reality of life is that we can’t possibly say yes to everything.

    I love how you started your response with gratefulness – “Thanks for thinking of me, friend!”

    I want gratitude to infuse every aspect of my life. Thank you for the encouraging reminder!

    Have a beautiful day, everyone. 🙂

  2. Oh how your words ring true. It is hard to put my needs first. Like you, the first words I usually say is “sorry” and really there is no reason to feel this way. I never thought of Jesus facing this and needing to place limitations.

    • I pray that this aspect of Jesus comes to mind the next time you need to put your needs first and have boundaries, Madeline! And may any unnecessary sorry’s melt away!

  3. Thanks, Grace, for sharing this helpful post. I, like so many women, am also a lifelong apologizer. I love how you sifted through your thoughts and options and chose the best of two good choices…and how you are learning to put forth a grateful foot without apologies. Cheering you on, and aiming to be more thoughtful in my own spur of the moment replies.

  4. Thank you for your words today!
    I remember years ago when a mentor friend of mine told me “you don’t have to excuse your no”. Let no be no! That thought has helped me through many times when I felt I had to explain why I couldn’t do this or that. We don’t excuse our yes to things and most people, if not all, are really OK when you just say “no, I am not able to do that.” Sometimes if you excuse it the excuse makes the no sound lamer and you keep digging into that excuse hole and before you know it you do feel guilty and wish you’d have just said yes. As Jesus said “let your yes be yes and your no be no!” (my paraphrase) Matt 5:37
    God bless your ministry Grace!

  5. As a people pleaser, saying no has always been hard for me. It’s the lie we are taught as women that we can do it all and we can have it all. Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and stress is one of the triggers so I’ve had to learn to say no and listen to my body more.

    I loved how you responded with words of gratitude and grace.

  6. Yeah, always say YES to God.
    God will grant us wisdom to say Yes or probably No to others even our loved one❤️
    Thks for sharing

  7. I too have a hard time saying no, more so around work, if I am asked and see something needs to get done and if I can I will but I try to leave Sundays open for church.

  8. SOOO needed to read this as I battle to say no to a really inconvenient, expensive but would be really fun gathering…the inviter’s expectations are not my priority it is choosing what is God’s best for my family. He can deal with the imagined fallout that may only be in my imagination. Yeah God!!! Thank you for this reminder!

  9. This hit me on all sorts of different levels! I feel this way so often when I say no to something, and I really had to learn to think exactly the way Grace did when she went to say no and then immediately started to apologize. It’s been a long time coming, but I think I’m finally getting there, so this really spoke to me!!!

  10. Didn’t sleep well last night because I said “no” to someone who asked what she thought was a “small” favor of me. I’ve always been a “giver” and love to help others, as I thought God would want me to, but for awhile now I’ve been feeling depressed, hurt and taken advantage of especially by my family, because they are treating me poorly. Through my visits with God lately, I’ve been learning that I need to stop always doing for others unless I can do without any expectation. So I thank you for your words…..I feel that God has used you this morning to help me stick to my “no” response and to move on today without guilt.

  11. Grace, this is so wonderfully expressed! Thank you! I often feel torn this way, and you broke everything down for us to examine dilemma from all angles. Thanks for keeping on with what you do so well. May you be richly blessed!

  12. Thank you Grace for talking about this and for showing a way through. Thank you for reminding me that taking care of myself and staying focused on The who/what/where of God’s path for me is exactly what Jesus would do.

  13. I can so relate. Trying not to disappoint others over my own needs or what I need to do. My husband once counseled me that a yes made out of guilt is not a true yes without consequences. And boy is he right. Trying to not be motivated by guilt.

  14. Grace,

    Lysa Terkeurst states in her book Your Best Yes “Saying yes to everyone & everything won’t make you wonder woman. It will make you a worn out woman”. Worn out women have nothing left to give anyone. Jesus, as you pointed out, took time to rest & recharge. We should not apologize for not doing everything. We all have busy lives with family, work & church responsibilities. Taking time for yourself is essential to maintain your health & well being. True friends will understand if we have other obligations that need attending. Good for you for using grace first in your text. Taking care of yourself & family is of utmost important to God.

    Blessings 🙂

  15. I resonate with this so much, Grace. Truly grateful for your words here today … and for the words yet to come. Thank you for being faithful to the work God has called you to do and for modeling what it looks like to follow Him, acknowledge competing emotions, and ditch the guilt. Love you, friend.

  16. “[Jesus] He wasn’t everyone’s friend and didn’t meet all the needs around Him.”

    Wow, those words really resonated with me as I read them! Great reminder to concentrate energies where they are best served. — sometimes that means it’s spent on ourselves.

    Wonderful and timely piece of writing.

  17. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart today. This message was right on time!

  18. Thank you for your post it is something that I struggle with. Having a chronic pain disease,sometimes mean I have to say no to doing things. I tend to apologize for my illness and that just makes me feel worse. So I am going to work on that. Thank you for your inspiring words

    • Sending hugs, Kathleen. Yes, you don’t have to apologize for your illness! Praying that saying no brings more freedom and less guilt from here on out!

  19. May God help us to prioritize our needs and responsibilities. Thanks for the encouragement.

  20. I really needed to read this and will remember this message. I too have trouble saying no and am always burdened with guilt following to a good friend.
    Thank you for sharing such a great message.