We had looked forward to our family fall break getaway for weeks. We were headed to Hilton Head Island and had a magical 3 day vacation all planned out. We couldn’t wait to bike ride all around the island, to surf the waters (that would be my husband and daughter doing the surfing with me cheering them on, of course), to eat at fun restaurants, and to take long walks on the beach.
But as it turned out, things didn’t go quite exactly as planned. The day before we left we got a call from the school nurse that our daughter had a fever and was not feeling well at all.
After carefully thinking it through, we decided to still go ahead with our trip but we definitely had to scale it back considerably. Instead of biking and walking and building sandcastles on the beach, we were pretty much resigned to just sitting on the beach and taking it real easy—a mode that we weren’t really accustomed to and quite honestly don’t always do well.
However, sometimes the quiet moments can be exactly what we need to transform a weary soul and that is exactly what I began to discover as I basked in the sun, the sand, and the still.
As I began to slow down in those moments on the beach I began to realize just how tired and worn out I was, and it didn’t take much soul-searching to realize why. For just in the past three months, we hosted over a dozen sets of guests at our house, I spoke/sang at 12 ministry events which all involved travel, the school year began with all of those responsibilities and activities, I had continued writing and preparing for speaking events, we had helped with my parents, and the list went on and on. All wonderful things that we felt led to do, but when combined all together it added up to an out-of-control schedule and an overwhelmed heart.
Somehow, despite my best intentions, I had seen everything as a yes and hardly anything as a no.
But I love how even when allow things to spiral out of control, God will lovingly reach down and meet us where we are at. And that’s exactly what He did for me during those two glorious days at the beach.
I quickly realized that it was no mistake that I had grabbed a book that I had been wanting to reread—a book that had challenged my heart once before and a book that God would use again to speak into my scattered life.
In The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst navigates through this struggle of getting to our Best Yes and here are a few of the powerful truths that washed over my soul:
- Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman. It will make me a worn out woman.
- Not every assignment is my assignment.
- 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.
- A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.
- The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.
- Find that courageous yes. Fight for that confident no. Know it. State it. Own it. And move on without all the complication.
- I will not let the awkward disappointment of others keep me from my Best Yes appointments with God.
While all of these points most definitely impacted me, what spoke loudest to me was right in front of me.
These two. I love them fiercely and they have my heart forever. And the truth is:
Every time I say yes to everything else, I am often saying no to them.
Not a literal no. I hardly ever do that. But here’s how it plays out for me—I make sure that I am always there for them, but I stay up late to work on everything else I need to get done and get up very early in the morning and work feverishly all throughout the day when I am not with them to finish everything I have signed up for. And quite frankly, this is what can take its toll and wear me out making me tired, frustrated, and not my best for anyone.
So what’s the answer? How do we figure out the quandary of what to say yes to and what to say no to?
I will be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t always get it perfectly right. But here’s what I do know—as I shared last week, I want to choose well each day and make every moment count in my relationship with God, my family, and to those He has placed within my path each day.
I don’t want to highjack my schedule, my focus, and even my heart with so many commitments that I miss out on God’s best assignments and plans for me. That is why it is so important for me to remember that sometimes the path to the Best Yes involves exercising a beautiful no.
I admit—I’ve got the yes thing down pat, it’s the beautiful no that can trip me up. And I have a feeling I am not the only one. For some reason, we can all feel guilty, uncaring, and even unspiritual saying no when the reality is —saying no can sometimes be the most healthy thing for us, our families, and for finding God’s best for our lives.
But on the other hand, I don’t want to swing to the other end of the pendulum and always respond with a quick no and miss out on God-ordained moments to help and make a difference. I often wonder what if my parents hadn’t chosen the best yes that day as they stood on my family’s doorstep? What if they had dismissed the gentle nudge from the Lord to get involved in my family’s pain? My life would have been so different, my story would not be the same. Because they said yes, the course of my life was changed forever.
So, what I am learning is that there really is no cut and dry answer. There is no exact formula for knowing when to say yes and when to say no. The ONLY way to figure it out is to get on our knees and to passionately seek God’s face each day asking Him to direct our EVERY step so that every moment of our lives is not overflowing with OUR plans but is only led by HIS BEST for every area of our lives.
A man’s heart plans his ways. But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9