Shannon Sue Dunlap teaches music to her adorable young students in Houston, Texas. But she uses the pen name Shannon Kent to create sweet and funny romances. She loves singing with the worship band at her church, drinking Dr. Pepper, and watching Korean dramas.
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What’s wrong with No?
Susanna Kelly, the heroine of Decoy Valentine, is a small-town girl, receiving creepy, heart-shaped notes from a stalker. The obvious solution? Enter a fake relationship with her gorgeous, childhood best friend.
I live in traffic-jammed Houston. My last date was pre-COVID, and my valentines consist of adorable, scrawly messages from my elementary students.
Yet, I had more in common with Susanna than I imagined.
The revelation came after another writer reviewed my story and zeroed in on my heroine’s difficulty saying “no” to favors. Decorating for the town festival? She’s there. Flyers need folding? Right away. Dog sitting? No problem!
My critique mate wondered if I suffered from the same inability, and my reaction was a swift denial. Of course not. I was a strong, independent woman who had no trouble …
Then I asked myself the question: When was the last time I turned anybody down for anything?
Light bulb moment!
Does anyone else get roped into all sorts of jobs you loathe because your answer is always “yes”? Perhaps we like feeling important. Everyone knows how talented we are. That must be why they ask. Or maybe it feels like the Christian thing to do. Aren’t we supposed to be servants and help each other out?
If you find yourself on favor-overload, I’d like to encourage you with that old slogan from the 80s.
Just Say No.
It’s wonderful to be a blessing to others, but piling your plate too full can lead to unnecessary stress.
Here are three steps I hope will help you on your journey:
- Pray that God will show you which requests to accept or deny. James 1:5 (NIV) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Not all favors should be turned down. It’s okay to say “yes” to the important things. The trick is deciphering the difference. Take full advantage of God’s all-knowing power. He doesn’t hold it against us when we ask for His advice.
- Start with one “No”. It’s hard to change a lifetime of agreeing to every request. Take a baby step by saying “No” just once and see how it goes. You might be surprised.
- Don’t waste time feeling guilty. If you worked up the courage to turn someone down, try not to second guess yourself. Your true friends will still love you. I’m glad to say mine do.
It’s okay to keep more time for yourself. Not every minute of the day has to be filled. And it’s easier to hear that “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12) from Heaven when our To-Do lists are shorter. Unlike the questionable requests of everyday life, it’s safe to say “yes” to our Heavenly Father every time.
More about Decoy Valentine:
CAN OMINOUS VALENTINES LEAD TO TRUE LOVE?
When Susanna Kelly returns to her hometown of Sweetheart, Texas and its quirky, lovable citizens, her peace of mind is shattered by heart-shaped notes with sinister messages. Daniel Sheppard, bestselling author and her childhood friend, offers to play the role of her boyfriend to discourage the stalker, but Susanna resists. Pretending to be a couple? Who would buy it?
The note writer’s mind games force her to reconsider. Susanna accepts Daniel’s crazy plan, but her heart acts up whenever she’s near her decoy valentine. Comfortable, uncomplicated Daniel has turned into a full-grown man who makes her senses spin. As she tries to sort out her feelings, the make-believe romance has the opposite effect intended. Harmless notes turn into life-threatening accidents, and Daniel and Susanna must find out who’s behind the attacks before they can decide if their temporary relationship is a heaven-sent gift meant to last forever.
Shannon has graciously offered to #giveaway one copy of Decoy Valentine (e-book or print copy, winner’s choice) to one lucky commenter.
Winner will be chosen Tuesday, June 28 and announced on June 29, 2022.