Living a so-called portfolio lifestyle affords me variety. One day I might search out the next read for our book club while the next I’ll craft some Bible reading notes. But with these competing deadlines, for many years I didn’t tackle the One Big Thing I wanted to do for years – write my first book (but thank you, Lord, that book-baby #1, Finding Myself in Britain, is now out!). When I bemoaned this unpublished state to a mentor, he recommended that I read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I duly ordered it, but in the meantime came across The Best Yes, on the same topic but written by a woman for women.
Lysa Terkeurst knows that women are busy, with many competing demands for their time: paid employment, volunteer work, care for children, studies, church work, and so on. We have a myriad of opportunities to make a difference, but at times we don’t feel qualified and so shrink back. Other times we say “yes” to please others, not wanting to let them down or seeking their approval. Or we take on so many projects and activities because we just don’t know how to say “no.”
Why do we say yes, and why not? How can we evaluate between two good opportunities – which one is our so-called “best yes”? How can we say no without disappointing someone? She deals with these questions and more, rooting her writing in a Christian worldview and peppering her points with stories from her life and the Bible.
In one of her stories she recounts how a close friend – a young woman in her early twenties – asked if she could live with Lysa’s family for a year. Lysa and her husband deliberated for some time, evaluating the pros and cons and seeking God’s wisdom. She shares how they discerned using four categories – how would adding another person to their family would affect them physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally. In the end, having prayerfully considered these categories, they realized they had to turn down their friend’s request. Their no was hard, but opened up the best yes when the friend received an invitation to a far better living arrangement – on the very day Lysa said no.
Perhaps Lysa’s example about the houseguest spoke to me powerfully because one summer we opened our home to guests every weekend for three months. We got worn out, even though we loved seeing so many friends from far-flung places. We should be a hospitable people, but we also don’t have to accept every request.
What are you saying yes to, and why? What can you say no to, to free you up for your best yes?
The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst (Nelson, ISBN 978-1400205859)