Last month I read a book by Lysa Terkeurst called The Best Yes.
So good. So GOOD.
It gave me a much needed perspective shift.
You see, by nature, I’m a worker.
I like to call it being “efficient”, but what I really do is try to do at least 4 things at a time. At any given moment I may be helping my kids with their homework, cooking supper, unloading the dishwasher, responding to emails, listening to the news, and planning the next morning’s workout in my head.
I don’t know how to relax, and up until recently, I didn’t know how to say “no”.
I have suffered from the disease to please and I think this was a big part of why I tend to always say “yes” when someone asks me to do anything.
My husband and I used to laugh about how we are “yes-ers” meaning that when we are asked to help with committees, program coordination, volunteering, organizing, or helping, we tend to say YES immediately. ‘Yes’ without forethought other than that we didn’t want to let anyone down. And truth be told, a lot of my worth and identity was tied to how much I DID…tied to how many people needed me or my help…tied to the list of things that I am in charge of.
In Lysa’s book, she wrote about this and said, “here’s the reality of our current technique: other people’s requests dictate the decisions we make. We become slaves to other’s demands when we let our time become dictated by request. We will live reactive lives instead of proactive. And reactive lives get very exhausting, very quickly. We get requests. We fill up our schedules all the way to the limit. We leave very little white space. We live lives that exhaust us…”
Slowly, God has been showing me another way.
Lysa teaches that the decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep dictate the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls. So, this isn’t just about finding time. This is about honoring God with the time we have.
You see, I believe that God created each of us with a purpose. He has a work for each of us to do- specifically each one of us…Work that our Original Design can uniquely fill.
And when I’ve got my sights set on ANY good work, I miss the BEST work. By saying yes to every GOOD thing that comes along, I never get to say ‘yes’ to the BEST things.
There are 168 hours in a week.
When you go through and calculate all of the tasks that you are required to do (work, carpool, sleeping, eating, cleaning, etc.) there are precious few hours left. And if I fill up those few hours doing tasks that I should have said ‘no’ to in the first place, I have no room, no margin left to say ‘yes’ to the best things that He has for me to do.
Lysa wrote, “It isn’t about selfish ambitions or vain conceits…it’s about letting out that cry of passion that God entrusted to you. It’s about letting it all the way out so as to touch others, help others, and bless others.” And as I’m starting to really determine the unique calling that God has given me, I don’t want to get sidetracked with other things.
So, the girl who always says ‘yes’ has started saying ‘no’.
And you know what? It gets easier each time.
When people ask me to participate in committees that I don’t feel passionately called towards, and that will take up the extremely few precious hours I have right now, I say ‘no’.
I’ve turned down invites to things I really wanted to be at, but knew that my kids needed me at home more. I’ve decided against amazing professional opportunities as it would take away from the areas God has called me to focus on first. I’ve cancelled all Saturday workouts as I know that as much as I like leading them and my ladies like coming, I need margin and time at home with my family.
I’ve had to start saying ‘no’ to things that cost me financially, also. Are they things that we could afford if we felt like we should? Yes, but by saying ‘yes’ to every invite to ballgames, concerts, dinners, and trips, we are going to have to say ‘no’ to our BEST ‘yes’ and what God may have for us to do instead.
Tonight I had an event out of town that I had been looking forward to for months. But I knew in my heart that I needed to be home tonight. After a challenging week, the only place I needed to go tonight was home with my family.
So here I sit at 4:30 p.m. My kids are enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, we all have our pajamas on and our big plans for the evening are to snuggle and watch a movie.
Am I sad to miss out on the event I was supposed to be at? Sad, yes, but grateful. I know that for me to be able to pursue whatever calling and mission God has me on, I can’t do it with a half empty tank.
So I rest when I know I need to. I spend time in the Word and in prayer asking for direction and wisdom as I try to find the BEST ‘yes’ and to not jump for every good ‘yes’. I seek counsel from wise women that point me right back to Jesus when I need the perspective shift.
And I keep walking ahead.
Sometimes saying ‘no’ will be hard. And that’s okay. We know that with every ‘no’ we have to utter, we are one step closer to our best ‘yes’.
And that, my friends, is worth pursuing.