The Best Yest Study: Yes to Presence

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Friends, bear with me.  I feel like I’m sliding in here at the end.  I’m a little behind what with all this Christmas wonder :)

Today we’re on Chapters 14 and 15 of The Best Yes study, and we’re moving from how to say no to how to know when to say YES!  Wahoo – the yeses!

This wisdom laid the foundation for the insight to come: “We want big directional signs from God.  God wants us to pay attention.”  (p. 170)

It’s true, right?  We often seek out some big clear signal that the right yes is staring us in the face when often the answer is more subtle, but the answer can be just as clear if we’re centered and willing to pick out the indications along the way.

Lysa quotes the optimistic and insightful Bob Goff from Love Does, “The brand of love Jesus offers is more about presence than undertaking a project.” (p. 172)

What should you say yes to because it requires you, uniquely you?  Your presence.  What should you say no to because it requires you to add to your ever growing to do list and any human could be substituted for the job?  It’s a project.  Think about the things that require your presence.  Being a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a colleague, a whatever it is, fill in the blank.  Doesn’t that help you get a little clarity over your best yes?

Be present with a heart bent toward love and daring to look at what’s been placed right in front of you…Refuse to get tangled up and held back by what you don’t know.  And most of all, know who you want to be and take the next step that points you in the direction of that character quality.

I close with some of the beauty from Chapter 15, The Thrill of An Unrushed Yes.  I don’t know if you welled up reading Lysa’s reminiscing over moments with those she loves most and her unrushed yes, but I did.  She’s right.  Sometimes it is the smallest yes that can make the most impact.  Tonight my kid’s exclaimed, “this is the best day ever!” because I served crackers and cheese and apple slices with our cowboy stew.  Y’all, I just made dinner and a pretty basic one.  I came home early and didn’t even have time to make cornbread to go with our stew because I was baking for the school Christmas party.  But we sat there to the simplest meals and talked about our days, and it was the best yes I’d offered this week.  I had a competing offer.  I could have been elsewhere.  I would have missed that.  One more of their “best days!”

Lord knows I do miss plenty of that.  I didn’t miss it tonight.  As a Type A planner girl, I’m actively changing my focus these days to build space in my life for the unrushed yes.  The best yes.

Lysa sums it up like this, “This isn’t natural to me. I’m a task girl. I like accomplishing things. I like the thrill of moving forward, creating momentum, and getting stuff done. But the more I choose to pause and talk and really connect, the more I discover the thrill in the sacred spaces of relationships. Leaving room in my life for the unrushed yes strengthens the fabric of my relationships so they can better withstand the wear and tear of everyday life.” (p. 181)

What about you?  What best yes can you offer in this season that is all too often filled with frenzy and lists of things to do?

The Best Yes Study: From Worn Out to Wonder

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This is the bottom line of Chapters 12 and 13 – when we accept one invitation, we decline another.

Have you found that out yet?

I’ve run into that all too often that year.  And the funny thing is, invitations don’t come in order of priority in your life.  Right?  So the best yes opportunities don’t always come before the better-say-no opportunities.  If you don’t spend time thoughtfully considering each invitation, and the trade you make when you accept it, then you foreclose the possibility of accepting certain future invitations.  We need to leave room to: (1) breathe and rest, and (2) have availability for best yes invitations.  {===>Click To Tweet}

In Chapter 12, Lysa reminds us that saying no can be hard and awkward, “In between where you are now and where you want to be will usually be a pathway of awkwardness. A crowd of potentially disappointed people… As hard as it is to disappoint a person in order to keep your appointment with God, remember on the other side of awkward is a promised land you don’t want to miss.”

If you have any people pleasing in you, then those nos can sometimes present some prickly challenges.  But as we learned last week, there can be power in a small no.  It can free you up for a big yes later on.

Oh, and then friends, we get to Chapter 13 where we’ve all been: what if I say no and they stop liking me.  Listen to this wisdom:

If the person you are trying so hard not to disappoint will be displeased by a no,
they’ll eventually be disappointed even if you say yes.
The Best Yes, p. 159

Hear that?  If you’re worried you can’t make them happy right now, then you won’t ever make them happy.  You will tap dance around their feelings but eventually hit a landmine.  I have HIT those landmines.  They smart.  They can even leave scars.  Realize that you can not make everyone happy all the time, and then move on.  Do the best you can.  Give as graceful of a no as possible and then leave the rest in God’s hands.

What about you?  What are you being called to say no to?  How do you deal with awkward situations and disappointments when challenging offers come your way?

Let’s all try to remember what Lysa cautions at the end of Chapter 13:  You won’t ever be able to keep up with unrealistic.  Resolve to make decisions based on what is realistic. 

Meaning in the Mayhem, Vlog Part 1

So I’m going to try to do a little video blogging this season (“vlog!”).  It’s super professional (ha, ha): Me and my iPhone as I wander through Houston doing Christmas stuff.  The reality is, this season can be a frenzied blur.  And I’m trying to stop and remember what really important and capture the sweet moments.

Today’s short little entry, our first, is from our excursion to The Nutcracker at Wortham Hall in Houston.  This is our second experience at the Nutcracker and it is always so fun.  This year all five of us got dressed up and went, and when we finally got downtown, parked, and through the lines, I stopped us in the lobby to find a little meaning.  We were together.  We were given tickets to create a special family memory.

And in the end, as the kids said, we remember what we love most about Christmas – enjoy:

 

 

The Best Yes – The Space Between

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I wish I had more energy to give Chapters 10 and 11 of The Best Yes the attention they deserve because boy were they good.  Did you catch this quote right off the bat?  Did it ring as true for you as it did for me?  Every yes comes with expectations and if we haven’t identified them before we offer our response, we could be in for a world of hurt.

On p. 119, Lysa asks a lot of smart questions that I am going to start employing before deciding – it feels thrilling to say yes now but how will it feel in a couple of months, could this yes be tied to people pleasing, are there facts I’m avoiding…  Take that list with you.  And in her words, “evaluation eliminates frustration.”

Then in Chapter 11, I found extraordinary insight in her take on “The Power of a Small No.”  Oh y’all, I am really learning how to practice this technique this year and it is still hard.  “Early on, expectations and disappointments can be managed better with a small no.  But the more we let things develop and progress, the harder the no becomes.”  (p. 127)

I am so incredibly thankful for the requests for lunches or coffees or advice or speaking that have come in this year.  I am nothing special and I’m honored that people trust me for advice which I just pray every day that God directs me wisely if people seek counsel.  However, the most important people are my family (and then my friends and my clients).  There was no way I could say yes to all the requests but I didn’t say no.  So I would prolong the inevitable and invite a series of, “I can’t now,” or “ask me when my schedule dies down.”  The reality, and I knew it right away but delayed it anyway, was I didn’t have the bandwidth in this season.

This is how Lysa says no despite her people pleasing heart, “While my heart wants to say yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.”

There are times I need to say yes.  There are responsibilities I have to give back in the way so many before me gave to me.  But that reserve is not unlimited.  So I chose ways and people to invest and give back, and there are others I can’t connect with during this nutty time in my life.  So I will often say how truly honored I am to have been asked, {considered, invited, thought of} for a coffee, {lunch, meeting, event}, I just do not have the ability to connect individually right now.  It is a hard line for me to even type in this blog post, so even more so when it connects with a person, but I am learning that a small no, especially one that offers a suggestion or counsel in response, can be the wisest course of action.

What did you find most useful in these chapters?  Are you enjoying the study?

The Best Yes Study: Release The Clutter To Receive Peace

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Are you loving this book?  Is every chapter revealing something new to you about how you’ve been setting boundaries in the wrong places?

Well, it certainly has for me.

And Chapter 8 on Considering the Trade nearly knocked me over with its insight.  You see, I’m a life hoarder.  I’m very sentimental and keep things that have “meaning” even if it means we have an attic of boxes of memories.  I hate to miss out on opportunities so instead of checking to make sure everyone that wants a chance to speak or lead or manage or teach gets it, I accept the offers.  There’s more clutter in my life than just in my attic.  That’s when Lysa says this:

How do we discern what to call clutter and what to keep?  I want to cover that tension of feeling like I’ll regret missing out on an opportunity if I release it to make room for another.  I don’t always want to let that opportunity or that thing go.  I wrongly think I can just add more and more and not get overloaded. That fear of release keeps me in a place of clutter and chaos.  The Best Yes, Chapter 8, p. 95.

Are you still standing?  Maybe your closets are lean and orderly and your attic is empty and your life reflects that mentality as well.  But I would hazard a guess that I have a few friends in the clutter and chaos boat with me.  And she’s right – we, especially in this particular space and time on Earth, are scared of releasing things (whether it be the little black dress we haven’t worn in three years or the invitation to a party) for fear we’ll miss out on SOMETHING.  What I’m really understanding, this year and through this book, is that chasing something means we lose everything.  We forego full, peaceful, and strategic living because we’ve filled our life with what isn’t really important.

One other important point here, sometimes we don’t say no to what we should say no to, but sometimes we don’t say anything.  We technically don’t issue a yes but we delay the decision.  And not making a decision is actually a decision.  It’s the decision to stay the same.  The only way to diminish our regrets is by making decisions that lead to peace. And peace requires from us some sort of release.  (p. 98)

Once you are committed to cleaning out the clutter in your life and in your yeses, then you are ready to make wise decisions.  But, as Chapter 9 illustrates, wisdom requires practice and it can be work.  I love the verse she uses, it’s always been a favorite of mine out of Proverbs 2:

If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will…find the knowledge of the God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright…he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.  Wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 

Don’t you want that?  To be able to discern what is right?  Wisdom and discernment will PROTECT you!  It will protect you from the wrong yeses and direct you to the strategic nos.

Now it’s your turn.  Share what clutter certain decisions have brought?  What peace could you gain by offering up a no?  And how have you become wiser in your decision choices over the years?  What has helped you discern the right answer?