Say Yes…Okay at Least a ‘Maybe’
While recently reading my morning devotional with one eye open waiting for the caffeine to brew, I was irritatingly convicted into consciousness. The day’s message was to basically say ‘yes’ to more in life. Say yes to opportunities pushing us out of our comfort zones. Yes to requests for our help, yes to a first date, an entrepreneurial adventure, a business idea, and blah blah blah…why is Mr. Coffee so slow.
Hmmmm. I couldn’t skip over this one as quick as I do the other unseemly topics like patience (ick), and it wasn’t for lack of cocoa bean. I thought, huh. When’s the last time I felt stretched, or took a risk saying yes or self-motivated towards something new? Even a little thing? It’s probably the norm, but the older I get the more stuck in my ways I feel. I’ve figured out what I’m good at doing, so I do it. Found the ministry I’m called to so no need for God’s direction. Widdled down my tribe to the 8-10 women I adore and no need for new friends, and I’ve even limited what I’ll try in mom life. Yes to school movie night, no to chaperoning. Only takes five minutes losing someone else’s offspring at the zoo to solidify that resolve.
I think we often become dormant in life, without realizing it, sinking into the comfortable plateau of behaviors and activities we’ve become accustomed to, and successful at, but miss out on the next great friend, or move of the Lord, or just plain fun adventure because by this age, we know what we like, and we do what we do.
But as I read those chapters on ‘yessing’ I just thought dang, I used to be more open. Freer. I used to approach life expectantly, like the next possibility was just around the corner, and now it seems the extent of my free-spiritedness has been reduced to the pride I feel still shopping at Forever 21. And as I type this, I don’t feel proud, haha. Maybe my next big venture will be to trademark Forever 35… Less butt bling, more savings.
This quasi-epiphone came as a surprise because I feel I’ve always had a ‘seize the day’ mentality, which I believe can be a hidden blessing after losing someone close to you. No one’s grateful for loss, but because God is sovereign, I think he gives a heightened ability to live in the moment with an increased awareness of how precious life is, to those who’ve lost loved ones before ‘their time.’ But of course we are still here, under the weight of jobs and parenting, juggling hundreds of duties like swapping out the kids’ seasonal clothes and deciding whether to switch Wi-Fi companies, and it can definitely squelch our aptitude for newness. Peace out Cox Communications…criminals.
This tendency is normal, but what I’m most afraid of is letting the distractions and pressures of ‘daily life,’ snuff out the magic, wonder and belief that there are always new and exciting things to learn, ways to grow and experiences to have, even when it feels we have ourselves and our world figured out.
I consider myself more of an extravert-have never and would never turn down a dinner party invite or competitive game of charades- but I’m also a Cancer who treasures the warm, consistent comfort of my ‘shell,’ a.k.a. the same thought patterns, routines, people, etc. that have led to the safe secure world I’ve created. And Cancer or not, it can be just plain hard saying yes to things, especially unfamiliar or nerve-wracking choices, because we think we’ll regret it, and secretly long the red-hue of our Netflix caves in the warmth of our Hoodie-Footies (Connecticut winters, people).
But since sensing this pattern, I’ve recently I’ve been saying yes to more- nothing huge like cliff jumping at South Point and I haven’t lost all sense to finally attempt braising seafood but I’ve totally felt God’s voice whenever I’m about to say nahhhh, whether it’s out of fear, apathy, or whatever. I feel like so many times we pray for things-improved habits, deeper prayer life, a broader career, a good relationship….aaaaand then get right into our beds at night after not doing much to make it happen. Granted, God has mercifully dropped miracles in my lap- like random phone calls delivering crazy great news about exactly what I needed, but generally, I believe God wants us to engage and actively partner with him, so we’ll grow and understand deeper elements of his character.
And of course consistent with his character, God has been ‘wowing’ me every time, since having a more open spirit and saying more ‘yeses.’ Totally wowing me. What’s most struck me the most though, is the deeper realization that if we trust him, there’s not much that can go wrong anyways, even if we do experience some discomfort or regret. He works it all out for good, every time, which anyone believes after knowing him just a short time.
If you say yes to starting that home Bible study you’ve been hesitant on, and it doesn’t go well, God is still moving, and doing good things. He honors our hearts, and he’s at work even when it feels the opposite. And so many times it’s the by-products of our ‘yes’ that end up being the reward in the long run. Saying yes to a painful networking event when you’d rather just pray your new LLC into success might feel like torture, but it also might lead to a connection in a total different area of life-or you might be there to help another. Saying yes to working hard and being diligent even in a thankless setting where no one’s watching can be difficult, but the rewards are often intangible, and slow to come.
One of my biggest fears in life (besides my teenager finally not wanting to go the movies with me in public… I sense the end is near!) is the fear of regret. I’ve always had this freaky vision of getting to heaven and God revealing all the great things he had in store for me to experience, or help people, or accomplish, and I missed them because of self-absorption, distraction or hesitancy.
Life can feel eternal, especially when taking two interstates to work daily, but it really is a vapor. Whether it’s self-doubt, or the consistent pattern of running from the unknown that keeps us veering towards ‘no,’ consider thinking twice when you feel an ‘it’s not my thing’ or an “eventually I might,” coming on, and just take the plunge. If it’s a mistake, or disappointing, that next episode of season two will be right there waiting. At least we tried, and at least we’ve now earned the good chips. Extra salty, Lord… life is a short.