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I love the kind of friends who are willing to call you out and call you up, even when it hurts sometimes. I cherish and pray for these relationships and work to be this kind of friend. So, when I had shared with a friend that I was struggling with saying no to things, especially because many of them were good things, and sometimes small things, and because I feared the people I was saying no to wouldn’t understand, or even sometimes pushed back when I said no, she sent me a picture of a page she was reading in the book The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst.
“If they get upset, just step back and think about what’s really going on. You said no because saying yes would invite crazy into your life. And you’ve been telling yourself over and over, No more crazy. If they push back when you say no, that’s disrespectful on their part. And if you play along, it’s dysfunctional on your part.”
Ouch – I responded to my friend saying, “I’m dysfunctional!” And later that day I downloaded The Best Yes on my Kindle and got to work, reading and highlighting, and digesting. This book made a lasting impression on me. So many great nuggets of truth, getting at the heart of the decisions we make. “The decisions we make, make the lives we live. If we want to live better, we’ve got to decide better. Yes and No. The two most powerful words.”
I love the kind of friends who are willing to call you out and call you up, even when it hurts sometimes.
I pride myself in being a minimalist. I currently have three empty drawers and six empty shelves in my kitchen. I hate clutter. If there isn’t a spot for something in my house, it doesn’t stay. Sometimes even if there is a spot in my house, it still doesn’t stay (don’t get me started on junk drawers and mismatching pens lying around). I purge things on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. It comes naturally to me, and I find joy in simplifying and creating margin. You’d think that type of mentality would translate to other areas of my life, but it most definitely doesn’t when it comes to my decision-making. I tend to commit, take on, create crazy, and then get burnt out, and so say no to everything, until I am bored and then commit, take on, create crazy…and the cycle repeats…
This has been a pattern in my life I have come to recognize, so I have worked to create balance. I set up boundaries and limitations and then I find myself ignoring those, and usually for the reason of people pleasing. So when I read these words by Lysa I really resonated, and I wonder how many other women do too.
“You need me? You got me. Because I’m too scared or too cowardly or too busy or too something to just be honest and say, “I can’t this time.”
In this great day when most women wave banners of authenticity about our pasts, we crouch back from honesty about our presents. We’ll tell you all about our broken places of yesterday but don’t dare admit the limitations of today.”
“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”—that one stung. I often say yes calling it love, when really it’s people pleasing and it wasn’t my best yes.
So what is your best yes? I love the title of this book and the concept. There are lots of good yeses, some great yeses, but God has created you for a purpose that’s unique to you—that’s your best yes. My biggest takeaway from this book is understanding that not every yes is my yes. Lysa writes, “Not every assignment is my assignment. Notice that doesn’t say no assignment is my assignment.” I started to think about my current assignments and my biggest one happens to be the raising up of young children. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who has high capacity, thrives off of staying busy and juggling a full plate.
When it was just me (and my ever-so-patient husband) I could do that, but kids were a game changer. I want my kids to think back on their childhoods years from now and use words like fun, peaceful, laughter, quality time. I want them to remember slow meals and good conversation. I want them to remember snuggling in bed and not rushing from thing to thing. When I fill up our day, sometimes even with “fun” things for us to do, I really need to consider if it’s the best yes for us all. Does it allow enough time so I’m not yelling at them to hurry? Will this allow all of us to get the rest we need to have patience with one another? It might be saying no to a fun playdate at the park because what my kids really need that day is one-on-one unrushed time at home with me. It’s often going to be looking at all the other assignments I could have (jobs, relationships, ministry opportunities), and really praying through what I can take on while maintaining a successful parenting assignment (and I’m confident it will be less than what I’m used).
There are lots of good yeses, some great yeses, but God has created you for a purpose that’s unique to you—that’s your best yes.
I appreciate that Lysa explains how to learn what your best yes is. It really comes down to wisdom, and gaining wisdom really comes down to your relationship with the Lord and time spent with Him. I have found since reading this book that my best yes is often discovered daily. In my early morning, quiet moments before the kiddos wake, I try to meet with the Lord and seek out wisdom for that particular day. I ask, what is my best yes that day? In addition, are there any other large assignments I need to lay at the Lord’s feet and seek wisdom on? I don’t think parenting is my only assignment, and I believe assignments come and go, so just like I de-clutter and create margin in my home, I need to do the same with my yeses. I don’t want to be so cluttered that I can’t respond to my best yes. Which means, “…a best yes will require having the courage to say no to other things. That’s the only way to ensure there’s space to run and take that leap of faith toward the best things.”
Can you imagine if everyone sought out their assignment—their best yes? Without wishing they had someone else’s or saying yes to things they can do but weren’t created to do? How much more effective could we be for His Kingdom, if we all were focused and sought out wisdom to our specific roles? The Best Yes will be one of those books I return to frequently to sharpen my skills as I seek to be what God has created only me to be.
Interested in reading The Best Yes? Check it out HERE!
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Image credit: Matthew Paulson, Creative Commons