As I was making my morning commute through the dense fog that surrounded downtown, I was crossing over the bridge and listening to Christian radio when they started discussing Lysa TerKeurst new book "The Best Yes". Clearly, the Lord was ready to speak to me this morning.
I am a "yes" girl. I try to say yes to everything and everybody. It's one of my biggest downfalls. You ask me to do something, as long as I don't already have something planned in that exact time frame, I'm most likely going to try and make it happen. I could have a mile long list of things to do on the day you need me, but I'll squeeze every minute out of every hour of that day to make sure I can please the person that has asked me to do something.
It's a dangerous trap to fall into, one that I feel pretty certain when I say, we've all been there before or are there now. Lysa said on the radio this morning there were three things you needed to evaluate before saying "yes":
She indicated that if you feel any of these three things immediately after being asked to do something, go somewhere, participate in something, you need to seriously consider your answer. As far as disappointment goes, if you feel that you will be disappointing someone by telling them no, it's important to evaluate whether you will be able to handle that disappointment better than you would handle the disappointment in other areas of your life if you said yes.
BAM. Right in my face this morning. I have never thought of my yes or no decisions in that manner, but I can promise that I will from now on. She said something else that struck another huge cord with me this morning. She said that if you tell someone "I'm not sure, let me think about it" but you're pretty certain that you are going to tell them no in the end, you are allowing that person to get their hopes up and lowering their chances of being able to find someone else to commit to whatever they need. Oh, I am so, so guilty of this. I put off the "no" because I can't bring myself to say it right when someone asks something of me, even though I know it's something that I don't want to do, or don't have the time. But I drag it out, until the very last minute, and it eats me up. It truly does. Not only does it not do me any good, but it certainly isn't doing the other person any good either. If I'm upfront about my answer, whether it be a yes or no, the other person has certainty one way or the other about their needs.
"Find that courageous yes. Fight for that confident no." -TerKeurst
That quote above I need to write EVERYWHERE so that I can see it all day, everyday. My confidence in making decisions about what others ask me to do is embarrassingly low. I don't like disappointment, I don't like pressure, I don't like conflict and for some reason, in my mind, I think that saying no brings all of the above things. The truth is, there are plenty of things that I have time to say yes to, but in the same token, there are plenty of things that I need to say no to as soon as I'm approached.
This morning, Lysa reminded me that there are plenty of ways to graciously say no. I would never want a no that came from my mouth to be malicious or make the person asking feel like their project or request isn't good enough. Graciously saying no means saying, "I appreciate you thinking enough of me to ask , but I know that right now I don't have the time that you need to dedicate to x, y or z, to make it great and I know that if you ask someone that has the time, they will do a great job for you."
Whenever I'm spread too thin, it is clear to me that the time that I spend with the Lord begins to waiver. It goes without saying that I don't need to let that happen. And if it takes me having to fight for a confident no to protect my quiet time with the Lord, then I'll have to find my courageous yes.
I think, for me, it will take one good time of being upfront about my yes and particularly my no, when a request or situation arises, where I can exercise this way of approaching decisions; then I will know that I'm capable of not putting myself through the dreaded "I'll let you know" and the days that follow of me mulling over how I'm going to tell the person no, but instead being forthright with my decision and being clear and concise, right from the beginning.
I know this is going to be very hard for me, but it's something that will greatly benefit me. And after hearing Lysa this morning, I think her book would be a wonderful one for me to add to my collection. Any help I can get in this department, I don't need to pass up! It's funny that this message was on the radio this morning, now that Josh and I are Youth Directors at church, as you can imagine, we get a lot of requests to do things. And we simply can't do everything. If we are continuously saying yes then our marriage suffers, our time dedicated to the youth suffers, our personal time suffers. Everyone needs a bit of time each week that isn't filled with anything except quietness and rest.
Lysa tweeted a plethora of fantastic quotes this morning on the Proverbs 31 Ministries twitter page. I encourage you to go check them out, they have truly refreshed me this morning. Here are just a few of my favorites:
There are plenty of things that I can say yes to, things that I am excited to say yes to. But, I can't and won't ever be able to please everyone. There's power in a firm no when it's needed. Through a little evaluation and confidence in your decision, there lies freedom.