Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What to do when your "yes-es" aren't enough

I used to be a "yes" girl. If you had a thing and you asked me to help, I said yes. Didn't matter if I had time. I said yes anyway. Because that's what nice people do. Right?
Maybe not always.

It's so easy to forget who we are--whose we are--because we are so busy trying to be all that we aren't.

Somewhere along the path of life we come to believe the lie that who we are is not enough--not good enough, not nice enough, not funny enough, not kind enough, not pretty enough--simply not enough.

Who can possibly thrive and live a life full of grace and truth and love when she believes she is not enough? The lie of the enemy creeps and cripples us so we forget all that we are.

I spent years saying yes to a multitude of things because they were good things to say yes to. And I believed if it was a good thing, you should say yes to it--even if it wasn't necessarily the right thing I should be saying yes to. Because isn't that what good people do? We do good things. Lots of them.

But good and right are not always the same things. Good things are not always good if they are not the good things I ought to be saying yes to. You know what I'm talking about. The commitments, the obligations, the activities, the play dates, the meetings, the groups, the committees--so many things until your calender is over full to brimming and you are spent from all these yes-es.
And all these yes-es become the things that control your days and ways until you are certifiably over-committed and undeniably overwhelmed.
And Jesus is hard to find because He's buried in all this stuff.

I thought that I had to prove that I was enough--good enough, spiritual enough, smart enough--

But I forgot who I was.

I forgot that I was loved simply because I was and not because of anything I could do.
I forgot I was His Beloved. That He called me beautiful. Even in my nothing.

Ironically, I had lost my way saying yes to all the good things. And all those yeses meant I said no to many of the right things.
I believe there are those things that sure, we could say yes to, but maybe we shouldn't. 
We have a check in our hearts, a sense in our spirit that maybe we should pause and think about what that yes means.
In terms of time. In terms of investment. In terms of  family.
Because that yes could mean a lot of no's down the line.

I don't have to say yes to every good thing. Sometimes no is a right answer.

But I had bought into another little lie that the things I was really good at weren't good enough, glamorous enough, fancy enough--or maybe I was selfish and thought that they weren't good enough because they weren't the gifts I would have chosen to give me.
Isn't that the point of a gift, though? It's not what we would have chosen.
It's the gift-giver's prerogative because the gift-giver wants to give it. And often it's what we would have never dreamed of asking for ourselves. And aren't those the very best gifts?
The most perfect gifts?
And the perfect Gift-Giver always gives the most perfect gifts.

But instead of gratitude for my gifts, I said yes to a thing that maybe I wasn't really equipped to complete; but since it looked good, I said yes, disregarding my gifts and simultaneously wishing for another's.

I had no margin, no room for the unexpected, no space for grace or surprise or spontaneity because my life was chock full of all these yeses.

I swallowed a hard pill of humility when I saw how all my striving to do good was really not doing much good at all.

I had to prune back all these crazy branches of yeses and let myself be stripped bare so I could remember who I really was. Whose I really was. So I could be clothed with the gifts the Gift Giver had for me, especially for me.
So I could be wrapped up in all this Grace and Love and Wonder.

Spreading a heart too thin is like walking on thin ice. Spreading a life too thin impacts more than just my life. My kids, the husband, bear the brunt or the blessing of my yeses.

When the roots of my life are too thin, too shallow, too close to the surface, there's no deep roots to keep me grounded and safe when the hard winds blow. Too many shallow roots make it too easy to be uprooted and tossed right around crazy. Thus the pruning. So my life, my heart, could grow deep and strong, so the sparseness now might bear witness to more of Him later. 
So that His priorities would become my priorities.

It's hard--we mamas see how other mamas are doing this or that and we qualify it as more or better than how we are doing it.  
Or we Christ followers watch what she is doing and we measure and come up short when really, you can't measure what's not yours.
All I can be is me.
The loud, clumsy, Jesus-loving mama He has planted and pruned and watered and grown.

I'm not gonna be a quiet, gentle mama like my friend N. I'm not really wired to be quiet or gentle.
I, in contrast, am loud and boisterous and somewhat clumsy. My house is often loud. My kids are often loud. And I have learned to be alright with that. Though an investment in ear plugs sometimes seems very attractive.

I'm not ever gonna be a beloved Kindergarten teacher where the students bring you presents at the end of school because they love you like my friend K.
But stick me in a room of high-schoolers and I thrive.

I am still learning how to say yes to those things that the Lord speaks into my heart, to His priorities. It is not every thing. But they are the right-good things. I have learned to pray for wisdom before making really big commitments.  

And sometimes life happens and the stuff of life has to be shuffled around and I say yes to things because they are people things, and people are eternal so they are eternal things--like taking a meal to a new mama or a sick friend, watching another friend's kids so she can work on her new house, taking coffees filled with caffeine to my friends who are spending sleepless nights at church with the youth group while the youth serve our community.

And that's okay because when I've checked and curbed and pruned all my yes-ing,
there's space and margin and room for the unexpected, for the spontaneous, for the surprise.
And then all these moments, all these spaces, instead of being the last straw or the icing on that proverbial cake, can be wrapped in grace.
And love.
And wonder.

Grace Always Rises,


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  2. You ARE enough. You are perfect because GOD only makes quality.

  3. As always, love this! Thanks for the reminder to be ME.