Your entire life story can be narrowed down to whether you say 'yes' or 'no'.
Every day, every conversation, every meal, every game you play, each picture you post, they all require you to say yes to something and no to something else.
I love it when people say yes, because that means you are opening a door to a new experience. But I also love it (maybe more) when people say no, because that can mean you know what you want and [this thing] is not it.
Let's talk about YES.
The bad, the worst, and the best.
The bad side of yes is when we are afraid of what others will think of us if we don't say yes.
So you accept the job you're not made for, you hang out with those people that aren't life-giving, you stay in that relationship that's not healthy, all because if you say no 'they' might think poorly of you.
The worst side of yes is when we are comfortable with the easy decision, the way it's always been done.
So we keep saying yes to a destructive rhythm of life (and lack of good sleep), we keep eating food that is poorly made and mindlessly consumed, we keep engaging with our addictions instead of asking for help to get out, we we keep watching the Bachelor, or the Walking Dead, or any other show on TV consistently getting worse in quality - unlike Survivor which is only getting better in it's 34th season! (personal bias acknowledged)
The best side of yes is when it is not based on the mass, fictitious opinion of 'them' but the trusted, caring advice from your few. (Side note, if you don't have these 'few', find a tribe soon).
Shauna Niequist, in Present Over Perfect spoke about how the worst yes almost drove her crazy. But the best yes allows us to be fully present.
Saying Yes means not hiding. It means being seen in all your imperfections and insecurities. Saying yes is doing scary things without a guarantee that they'll go perfectly. Saying yes is telling the truth. Even when it's weird or sad or impossibly messy. Saying yes is inviting chaos. And also possibility. Saying yes is building a new future. Regardless of the past. Saying yes is jumping anyway.
When it's right, "YES" can open a door to a new experience that could change everything.
It could be choosing to commit to that new job that will likely be a career in what I'm passionate about and will help this world.
Today, it could be engaging in conversation with someone you typically avoid. Maybe it's walking by (or scrolling past) someone in need and stopping to share what you have.
For parents, on a nice day it could change everything if you choose to go for a walk to the park with your kids instead of having a nap while they watch tv after school (maybe they'll let you just sit on the bench there watching them...heck, ask them to put on a show for you).
The best yes opens up possibility for something new to happen.
A couple of years ago, we chose to say no to the comfortable routine we were in. I went from being a Youth Pastor in a great church for 10 years to...nothing. I had no job lined up, no income, but one thing I had wanted to do for a long time was to go back to school and get my Masters. This seemed like the right time - though, is it ever really the right time to get a Masters degree, man that's a lot of work. I said yes. I jumped in, and I kept saying yes.
This past semester I had the opportunity of doing school full-time and finishing my degree, but doing so would mean I would have to say 'no' to other things (more on that next time). I couldn't see the benefits yet, I still don't know what a Masters in Theological Studies will 'do for me', but I opened the door in front of me and now I'm done. We walked through that door and it feels like it's time to say yes to something else.
The joy of yes is seeing what adventure the next chapter holds.
For more about my journey into that semester, listen to episode 30 of the Made For This podcast.
The best yes is not a choice made not because of what others will think. The best yes is a choice made to help lift others up - even if step one of that goal is going to school for a few years.
I wonder, what opportunities are in front of you today that are just begging you to say yes?!
Next: we'll talk about the joy of saying no.