This month we’re talking about the “Y-word,” and that means commitment. If I say yes, I’m completely committed; I rarely back out. I take each one seriously, so I’m slow to respond to invitations, meetings, even coffee dates. I’m not talking about the calendar I haven’t memorized and my fear of over-booking like an airline. That happens. I’m talking about managing the number of yeses I offer. While I like to think I’m not the fool who rushes in, the truth is, my yes is so important to me, I reserve it (sometimes for too long).
When I think about saying yes to anything in my schedule, I’m reminded of the wisdom of James—
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 CSB
Then there’s the wisdom of Jesus—
Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ a simple ‘No’; anything more than this has its origin in evil. Matthew 5:37 CJB
With those two things in mind, how can I give my best, solid yes to the next invitation that pops up? Am I arrogant in planning to go somewhere, see someone, or take on a project? If I say yes, what happens if something changes? (Have you heard of analysis paralysis?) I might get stuck in the “what ifs” surrounding commitment. I might be tempted to think any yes is prideful or chiseled in stone. I wonder if, under the right conditions, it’s none of those things.
I want my yes to be thoughtful and purposeful. When I consider “the Lord’s will,” I have a wonderful opportunity to think, pray, and respond. That’s really the process for me, on a good day.
When I’m asked to serve in some way (at someone’s request or God’s), it can be emotional. I love to be helpful and feel part of something larger than myself, which is a good thing. But I need to be wary of feeling puffed up if I contribute to any project or cause. That prideful attitude is not a good thing. So I try to examine my motives and personal agenda, if there is one. Whatever I do, I want to do with a clean hands and an honest heart.
I also have limited time, strength, and resources, if I’m honest. It makes sense to look at responsibilities and necessary boundaries before agreeing to anything. I might be tempted to give a quick yes with the best intensions, but the truth may be that I’m stretched too thin. When someone asks me to serve, I want my first thought to be Is this for me? Let me explain.
For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 CSB
Opportunities will always present themselves. From coffee dates to “big deal” decisions, I think the best, solid yes comes from knowing the request is, first, in keeping with God’s heart, plan, and his incredible hardwiring in us. My beautiful friend leaned into learning an instrument in a short time for a recording. I am not instrumentally-inclined, so I’m pretty sure that’s “not for me.” That doesn’t mean there won’t be asks that we know are specifically entrusted to us that are a stretch (God supernaturally fills canyon-wide gaps all the time). What’s most important in each yes we consider is if this ask or task is set aside for us for right now.
I ask myself, Is this something I am to walk in by the power of God? Is He working in this moment and inviting me to join Him? That’s what I want to know!
When others know our talents and giftedness, a good number of asks might be made, even frequently. If our God-given inclination is to lead, help, empower others, or show mercy, the requests may seem endless. That’s when we need to pause before responding. When we ask God what he has for us in the day, we will have the wisdom to know which yeses are ours.
Now, if I’m very transparent, just a drop of pride in the mix generates a longer list of opportunities to say yes. That’s where I come full-circle in this post. My fear of offering a yes is half-rooted in the fact that I know my pride might lead me to say yes too quickly or too often. The other half is rooted in the genuine, joyful follow-through on a commitment. Time, energy, resources, and failure swirl around all of that. I end up asking What if this is too much? What if I was never intended to join in this moment? Will I miss something else because of this yes?
There’s the tension in the yes for me. That’s why I want to pause, pray, and then jump in when I’ve got the go-ahead. Is this something you wrestle with, too?
Now you know the thoughts in my head that I hope keep me from going willy-nilly with the yeses in life. I haven’t been asked to fill a big role in full-time ministry in this season. I’m being asked to be present and look for the little yes (with bigger impact than I’ll probably know) in everyday life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on saying yes this week. Have you found a good way to identify the things “prepared in advance” for you? How has God shown you your beautiful asks and tasks that lay in front of you each day? Have you thought about it? If not, what will you do next?
Thanks for reading! Join the conversation this week and share your thoughts on how you come to your best, solid yes to God and others. I’d love to read what you have to say.