If you are joining us in our book study of Lysa TerKeurst’s The Best Yes, we’re looking at Chapters 4 and 5 today. (If you want to catch up, just click that leadership link – because making room for your best yes is definitely a hallmark of a successful leader.)
I don’t know where you’re at in the process of setting the boundaries God would call you establish, but because of the particular place I’m at in my journey two passages struck me in particular. One, was this last call to action from the end of Chapter 5 that I’ve quoted above – The Courage To Say No! Because friends, sometimes it takes some serious bravery to say no to seemingly good things in order to carve space out for the best.
The second passage was right there at the beginning of Chapter 4 aptly titled, Sometimes I Just Make it All So Complicated (is that just me? do you complicate things too?):
There are other decisions we simply need to say yes or no to and move on. Find that courageous yes. Fight for that confident no. Know it. State it. Own it. And move on without all the complication. Sometimes it just comes down to that deep whisper within that says, “Uh-huh, yes.” Or a simple, “No, not that.”
This just happened to me this past week. I had an opportunity that had all the hallmarks of what should be a “YES!” But something didn’t sit right. I didn’t say no but I also didn’t say yes. I said, “we’ll see.” I really wanted it to be a yes. But something far deeper inside of me said that it wouldn’t. Then I received a letter with a request and every single cell in my body sang out, “YES!” It was undoubtedly a yes. It was a yes that was in direct conflict with the first opportunity. I immediately turned down the other choice and sent in my yes to the second request. Something in me had known. Many of my decisions are not that easy. But this one, instinctively, was completely straightforward. Don’t complicate the easy decisions, even if it seems contrary to what might “appear” on the outside to be best. There will be plenty of hard decisions ahead.
Lysa shares a passage from Philippians that tells us we are capable of discerning what is best if we layer knowledge and insight on top of the discernment: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best… (Phil. 1:9).
Wisdom makes decisions today that will still be good tomorrow. As we seek knowledge and insight, we will make wiser choices in our yes and our no. And don’t allow your fear or your emotion about what the choice is or might appear to others to complicate an otherwise clear choice you have discerned.
In Chapter Five, Lysa asks a question that all too often we skip over when the decision isn’t clear, Could this fit physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally?
She goes on to share what to do when you are conflicted, as I often am, about whether your response is Yes or No: Whenever there is a conflict between what we feel we’re expected to do (anyone been there? their yes is a slave to their expectations?) and what we feel we should do, it’s time to step back from the decision. Seek clarity from the only source free of the entanglements of misguided opinions and unrealistic expectations. God.
All too often, those around us bring their own expectations to our decision. And if we care about them, it clouds what our choice should be. We do the same things to others. We bring our personal wishes and perspective to try to influence others yeses and nos. Sometimes, you must step back from all of those competing demands to clear your head.
I have had a series of choices in the past few weeks. Ones that historically I would have embraced with a resounding yes. However, there are several reasons my no has issued instead. The first question is does it fit physically? I have committed to so many yeses this year, that I have had no time to work out and I am completely and utterly exhausted. Very few yeses fit physically in this season of my life. Next, financially? Often, the yes would be a financial plus so there is no drawback there. Spiritually? This may put me in conflict because I know God put a desire in me to connect and encourage other women. So the yes would enable me to do that. But it can also drain my alone time with God. As an introvert, I need alone time to build my faith. Finally, does this fit emotionally? Ahhh. We fly by this need too frequently. Once again, after a year of too many yeses, I am emotionally drained. I have so little bandwidth and that reserve I must save for my husband and children.
When I evaluate my decision on this scale, instead of an external measure of success, it frees me to make confident nos.
Now it’s your turn? Do you ever complicate an easy decision even though you know deep down what the choice should be? And are you measuring the complicated decisions on the right scale? Share what stood out for you in Chapters 4 and 5.