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Joshua 22:5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
If you’re anything like me, even though No was one of the first words I learned as a child, No is one of the hardest words for me to say as an adult. I like to say Yes.
Yes to helping and hoping. Yes to knowing or needing. Yes to giving and going. Yes to being or becoming. Saying yes keeps me moving in the right direction and (often) makes me look good in the process.
Or at least that’s what I want to think…
A few years ago, Lysa Terkeurst, author of The Best Yes, captured my attention with the following concept: my saying Yes to something requires me to say No to something else. Thus, if I’m not saying Yes to what is best, then I’m saying No to it because I’ve said Yes to something else in its place. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest also expresses this concept powerfully with “the good is the enemy of the best”.
This seemingly simple concept of saying No to what isn’t best opens the door to the potential for huge improvements in the involvements in my life. Because if I claim this concept, saying Yes could be the very thing that keeps me from moving in the right direction and making Jesus known in the process. Conversely, saying No could be the very thing that reorients my life to seeking Christ above all else and in all ways.
Because saying Yes to much today means saying No to a lot more tomorrow and days to come. Too many Yes’s today requires today’s, tomorrow’s, and next week’s energy allotment.
Or as my doctors tell me “no matter what medicine I give you, if you don’t rest, it won’t work”.
Ouch! (pun fully intended here)
Because ouch or groan or not having enough energy to even say anything is usually where I end up when I’ve said Yes too many times and No not often enough…
Saying Yes to the best and No to the not requires me to listen closely to my Good God Who knows all of the opportunities and all of me, including my physical body, far better than me. He provides the resources needed for the Yes’s He has intended for me. (not the Yes’s I have added to my to-do list today that isn’t on His to-do list for me today).
My Good God is speaking, but it’s my choice to listen and to hear and to say Yes to Him and No to everyone else, including and especially the me who wants to look good…
Because many times, saying No requires more faith than a Yes.
For many times, saying No can point more to eternity than Yes.
Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you.
Here’s some important and practical things I’ve learned about saying No:
- True friends understand a No because they know what that No cost me to say.
- True friends keep asking me to participate, even if I’ve had to say No the last ______ times.
- True friends help me to say No when they see that No is the best choice for me.
- True friends say Yes when it is the best choice.
- True friends fulfill their Yes even and especially when it’s hard.
- True friends know the true cost of a Yes and value that price of a Yes.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity
Speaking of friends, stay tuned for Patient Advocacy Part 6 on a new way of being a friend. And while you’re here, please invite friends to join us here on the journey of learning to listen to Jesus for His good and perfect plan for our lives together.
If you’re interested in reading Patient Advocacy Parts 1-4, they’re here on the blog – you can find them through the home page (latest musings and archives section).
As always, thank you so much, dear ones, for your faithfulness in encouragement and support – each and every one of you are treasures to me!
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021