Spiritual Growth

Let Your “Yes” be Yes and Your “No” be No

Hercules.

Atlas.

These are the guys myths are made of – really.

But, you and me, why do we feel we have to step into their shoes and shoulder the world?
I know you hear me.

I have been having conversations lately and I’m hearing a theme.
We take on the world.  
Our burden is heavy and difficult. 
But we don’t know what to release or how to let go
or what in the world will happen if we do.


Yet, Jesus, He said several things and I’m pretty sure He knew all that might be entailed when He said them.

He said, “Let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ be no.”  

I’ve been thinking about the roots of that prescription.  Under each of Jesus’ seemingly glib comments is a meaty truth – a principle – which we can savor and apply and it will bring us unmeasured freedom.   And, the truth isn’t meant to be taken like a letter from the Post Office, gathered up and carried elsewhere to open.  It is meant to be unwrapped with Him, in Him, through Him.  He is part of the Truth we unwrap and when we do we find more of Him and more of the “self” we were meant to be.  Because this other thing He said, He meant it, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  He invites us to learn from Him and as we do we exchange the difficult and heavy for the easy and light.   

So, this let your yes be yes stuff … what if … what if we were to really sift our “yes” answers.

What if we were to ponder His purpose and call in each situation.  I don’t just mean whether you are supposed to do your turn subbing for the 4-year-old Sunday School class, though that may be on the list of what you need to evaluate.  What I’m talking about is when we get bogged down in the innermost places because of our own broken expectations.  I’m talking about relationships where we carry more than the lion’s share of responsibility for keeping the peace.  I’m talking about people who misunderstand us and we feel the burden of straightening them out.  I’m talking about somehow feeling we need to prove our worth through some act or attitude which is not a part of who we are or what God intends for us.  I’m talking about sifting out all that muck and gunk and coming to the place where if it isn’t God’s will – in the places that matter – then we just say, “no.” 

Because life is hard enough without us taking on burdens which are not rightfully ours to carry.  Life is full enough with out us packing in one more “yes” for the wrong reasons.    

We think we are supposed to bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never, never, never let him forget he’s a man … yeah.  Well, that is a picture of life unsifted.  When we just let circumstances stream in and we don’t hold back the tide with our “yes” and “no” answers, we end up bogged down and burdened.  We keep trudging because we think it gives life meaning or we fear we’ll miss out, or we never learned any other way to function.  And in the process we are saying, “yes” to the world and all those who applaud our busyness and we are saying a very subtle and poignant “no” to God. 

Lately I’ve been stepping back and (again) asking myself where my “yes” answers come from and whether they have anything at all to do with what God is asking me to do and be in this season.  Just when I thought I graduated from the “boundary setting” thing because I was getting so good at it, I realize there has been a leak in the boat and I still say “yes” way too often to way too many things.  And I just don’t say that other word quite enough: … n o … No.  No thank you.  Not right now.  Sorry, I can’t.

So, I’ve been given the gift of a week with much fewer responsibilities (thank you, little word, “no”) and some space to breathe, step back, evaluate and choose wisely.  And I have said “no” as things came to mind or to my inbox or to my Facebook message or even to my own never ending to-do list and the pressing feeling that I’m not quite complete unless I’m doing something.  And I mean I’m saying, “no” to some biggies – like invitations which could skyrocket my exposure or give me more income.  Nope.  No thanks.  And each time I say, “no” a little piece of me feels like running after the opportunity saying, “wait a sec, I changed my mind!” but then I realize that I have to let even the good things pass by so that I can be open to God’s will.

Waiting is not for sissies.  

But when I do it, I feel the goodness in that inner shift – to trusting Him – to not having to be the center or be recognized or be holding everything together or to even have answers.  And there’s this sweet breeze of peace that flows into those spaces: open places made clear by two little words “yes” and “no.”

So, if I’m singing your song here, I challenge you to join me in sloughing off this frenetic and harried living – the lies that say somehow something hinges on our presence or action or existence – the constant need to participate.  I challenge you to let go of what people will think and start asking God what He thinks.  I want you to feel those sweet breezes move.  This invitation isn’t for the faint of heart because watching your ship take sail (even though it wasn’t really your ship) is hard stuff.  But when it passes by, you can stick your toes in the water, dangle your feet off the dock and know much sweeter things are coming because you trust the call and more importantly you are trusting God. 

Photos courtesy of Bing Images

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    davirebecca
    July 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    a lot to ponder and think on dear! i think what hits me most…the question I need to take most seriously is "who am I doing this for?" Did God really ask me to do this? Or am I doing it because I fear I'll be missing out….

  • Reply
    HeartsHomeward
    July 26, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Davi,
    I have that same inclination. Always have. I used to tip-toe out from naptime, lean through the railing and ask my mom, "Is it time to get up yet?" I just didn't want to miss a thing. I realize in my right mind that I will have to miss many, many things – we can't possibly do them all, but still, it takes such fortitude to say, "no" to what seems good or just plain fun. He rewards our faithfulness in this so much, though. I'm getting there … bit by bit, with every well chosen "yes" and "no."

  • Reply
    3 Habits for November – Hearts Homeward
    February 14, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    […] It has to do with intentionality.  Letting your yes be yes and your no be no.  I’ve written plenty about that, but also it goes deeper.  What Lysa Terkeurst calls our “Best Yes” involves truly […]

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