Discernment – The Other Secret to Success

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

We all make goals and plan what we need to do to end up where we want.

The side to success that we know and focus on is the dos on our lists. To accomplish those dos, we use discipline.


1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.

That means we go out to run at the end of day when we just want to sprawl out on the couch.

We eat almonds for an afternoon pick me up.

We read from the books on our list.

We sit down to study for our test.

What’s on our list, we do. We need that discipline and progress to succeed.

How often do we end up overwhelmed and burned out? Exhausted and emotional, not knowing how we can do it all? Maybe we trek along okay but don’t find ourselves succeeding as much as we think we should.

There’s more.

There’s another important component to success and achieving your goals. That is not doing. This means learning to say no. We must have the maturity and wisdom to see our life as a whole. Realizing that all the pieces of our life are intertwined and knowing that saying yes to one thing will affect our ability to say yes to something else.

Saying no is as important as saying yes/do.

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

This requires discernment.


: the ability to see and understand people, things, or stituations clearly and intelligently

That means saying no to the great deal.

Saying no to the plate of cookies. (Or seconds or thirds.)

Saying no to staying up late.

Saying no to signing up for that class.

Saying no to things those around you are pressuring you to do.

Decisions must be made with discernment and intention, remembering the end goal.

The ability to say no to the good so we can say yes to the best, to those things we are focusing on in this immediate stage of life, is hard. We want to do more, be more, say yes more, not miss an opportunity.

Discernment: The Other Secret to Success. We need more than discipline. We must know what to say NO to.

It takes strength, wisdom, maturity, intentionality, and discernment to be able to say no. This ability, even just understanding the need for this ability, is harder to learn and get a grasp on than the discipline of doing and saying yes to those items on your goals.

If we don’t learn to say no, we sabotage our ability to succeed, our happiness, and even our health.

This means saying yes to what is best for us (and our goals) and whom God want us to be and no to things that that look good, things we might even want to do, so we don’t waste our limited resources of time, energy, finances, and emotions that we need to reach our goals and focus on where God wants us to be.

Linking up to these fun parties!

25 thoughts on “Discernment – The Other Secret to Success

  1. Jessica@ramblingsofamommy

    This is so true! I have been trying to get better at saying no, but there are definitely times where I still feel guilty about it, or I say “yes” to something and completely overwhelm myself. Thanks for the reminder!! 🙂

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Me too! Why do we let ourselves feel guilty. Normally when I say yes to things I probably shouldn’t have end up stressed and regretful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Tara Newman

    Hi Deanna – this is an excellent point. I talk about learning how to say no and tying your priorities back to your vision and purpose in life. I like your choice of the word discernment.

  3. Chrystal @ YUM eating

    Saying no can be so difficult. I firmly believe there is a wrong and a right way to say no to those who constantly push. Soft no, warm no and an aggressive no! There are some people I have to get aggressive with, especially when working from home. It can be hard, but I have to say no in order to take care of myself and get my work done! Stopping by from the Lets Get Real party!

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Yes, it can be very difficult. I like how you use different types of no for different people. So true that each individual responds differently. There are people I know that really try to convince you even after told no, so I should be more aggressive and blunt from the beginning.

  4. Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life

    Hi Deanna! I’m stopping in from Let’s Get Real today. This is the kick in the butt that I needed to get things going. With 4 kids, there are a lot of activities to juggle and it is hard to say, No. I like to do things all the way so when I volunteer, I’m not comfortable doing things half way. I’ve come to terms with that and am starting to make better decisions. Your post really reminds me that making good choices is what is needed rather than simply running myself down trying to do it all.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      I can only imagine! I grew up one of 8 and my mom did good limiting a lot of activities. I only have two little ones right now and life already seems too busy. Hope that pairing down and being more selective even in the good helps you simplify and enjoy life more!

  5. Liz @ Our Everyday love

    Alex and I have REALLY had to work on saying “no” recently, since life has been a little crazy with wedding planning. We’ve had to prioritize the things we really want/need to do. It’s been an interesting exercise in discernment and a good reminder that it’s better to give myself to something 100% rather than trying to spread myself too thin!

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Very true! Some of us struggle with it more than others. I think that each year I learn better how and what to say no to. I normally end up regretting it when I say yes to something I probably shouldn’t have.

  6. Mel Caldicott

    This is such a great post. I’m convinced that we need both discipline and discernment to have an intentional controlled life. Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings, Mel from Essential Thing Devotions.

  7. Piper

    Thank you for this… stopping by from Titus 2sdays. Discernment is tough.. and saying no is too. This is such a hard lesson to learn. But so is saying no. Most recently the Lord showed me that it is not the BIG THING that I seem to be waiting on Him to ask of me…. its the little things that He has placed before me. The opportunities I have missed along the way, because I was praying and waiting for Him to tell me what I am supposed to be doing. I ask now for my eyes to be open to what He places before me each and every day. Discerning and seeking wisdom for the HARD things.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Yes, it is so important to see even the little things and day to day as opportunities and memories waiting to be made. Learning to discern what to say no to is hard. I think it is an area we are all continuing to grow in. Thanks for stopping by and your comment.

  8. Sarah Mueller

    Absolutely – you have distilled the process very nicely. I have tons of lofty goals but if I don’t have that discernment as well, I’m going to crash and burn very quickly. I needed this message today.

    Thanks for sharing at Family Fun Friday. I’m featuring you this week 🙂

  9. Pingback: Family Fun Friday {Week 58}

  10. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    I wrote about the same thing this week. It is so important to choose carefully when you say “yes.” Thanks for linking this up with Let’s Get Real. Hope you’ll come back again and link up tonight or tomorrow.


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