As a mom, I tend to say “no” a lot. It has many forms: “maybe in a little bit”…”not right now”…”let me finish this first”…”just a minute” (then an hour passes)…”Mommy’s busy right now”…and so on.
And, yes, there are perfectly appropriate times for “no”: “no, don’t touch the stove”… “no, we can’t see them today because we have to wait for everyone to be healthy again”… “no, that’s not safe”…etc.
But, there are plenty of “no’s” I give that could easily be “yes’s”…that could encourage my little ones to keep asking, keep seeking me out, keep coming up with creative ideas! Oftentimes, my “no” stems from my own busy-ness or just plain selfishness, when I’m tired or just not feeling up for (yet another) round of playing dolls. Can anyone relate??
Yes, my children need to learn appropriate times to ask, which usually do NOT include: when I’m on a phone call…when I’m in the shower…when my husband and I are in the middle of a conversation. That’s just teaching manners. But being intentional, as I’ve grown to be, to keep phone calls during the day minimal and letting them know I will talk with them after I’m dressed, or reminding them to wait their turn can all be more readily accepted when they’ve gotten plenty of “yes’s” to their sweet requests throughout the day.
You see, they just want me to enter their world. And, at the ages of 5 and 6, this is the window of time where they freely invite me to enter their world just because I’m Mom. But, this window won’t necessarily always be here. Soon, this window will only remain open because I’ve kept it open during this foundational time of establishing a two-way road in our relationship.
If my kiddos primarily hear “no” in this period of time, then I may face having to hear “no” from them in a few years when I’m ready to enter their world. This is the window…now!
So, I’m taking the Yes Challenge, and I want you to join me! For one entire day (baby steps, people!) let’s seek out opportunities to say “yes” to our little ones! Of course there must be “no’s” here and there for safety’s sake and such, but at least for one day, can you open yourself up to saying “yes” as many times as possible? It may just make a “no” easier to take for them. It may just help you appreciate their world more today. It may make you want to say “yes” again tomorrow. So, what do you say?
What are some ways you can say “yes” today?
It’s 5am on a Saturday…nope that wasn’t a typo…it’s 5am on a Saturday and I’m the crazy lady sitting at Starbucks. You might be asking “why”…but more than likely, you’re asking, “why aren’t you in bed, crazy lady?” And even worse, I have less than four hours of sleep under my belt.
So why? Why am I NOT in bed? The very basic answer is that I’ve chosen to sacrifice those extra hours of sleep for something greater: a chance to have uninterrupted time to write and hang out with God for two-and-a-half hours before my family is even awake. For a mom with two young children, 5am on a Saturday is a haven to me!
This is Part 4 in the Right Priorities series. So far, we’ve looked at submitting to God’s direction in picking our priorities, choosing the great over the good and the need to focus rather than multi-task. All of these things require something: sacrifice. Sacrifice most often isn’t easy or convenient…it’s costly, it requires something from us. And saying “yes” to something requires that we must say “no” to something else.
How are you at saying “no”? How do you feel when you have to say “no” to something?
When I was nineteen years old, I recommitted my life to Jesus…oddly enough at a Starbucks! (No I’m not a paid endorser…just never doubt where God will move and change a life!) As I sat there chatting with God on paper, I felt the need to lay down my very real dream of pursuing a career as a professional musician. I knew the reason was, at least in part, because I had that dream for very selfish intentions…to make myself known. But God was asking me to lay down that prideful ambition and instead set my life on a new course, with a new purpose…to make Him known!
I genuinely thought I was totally giving up music forever, my one true passion in life at that time. I figured I would somehow have to be satisfied to just sing along in my car for the rest of my life. And as the next couple of years passed, that’s exactly what I did while God gave me crazy amounts of time to soak in His Word and His Presence. I fell in love with Him!
I felt led to attend seminary after receiving my bachelor’s degree. While in Denver for a visit to my soon-to-be school, the young man guiding myself and my sweet friend who was applying with me started asking questions about our personal interests and such. When I told him the story of handing up my musical dream, his mouth quirked slightly and he said, “Don’t be surprised if God gives music back to you someday.”
At the time, I totally disregarded his statement. I KNEW that wouldn’t happen (sigh…now I can smile at my naiveté.) A couple more years passed. In that time I got married to my unbelievably amazing husband, we moved a time or two and we found a new home church. God opened a door for me to join the worship team and one weekend, to have a solo which, I felt, began to break down those walls of doubt. He gave me music back, in His way, in His timing, for His purpose…not mine.
Time keeps ticking away and God keeps giving me music time and time again. We moved back to Texas after our son was born and our church was offering incredibly inexpensive group guitar lessons. That was a dream I’d nearly given up on…hauling around a guitar I’d had for twelve years. But four years ago, I took those lessons and saw God do a new thing with music in my life. I have the immense honor of leading the fabulous women in my regular Bible study in worship along with another wonderful friend of mine. And I LOVE it!!
When I handed God my dream, I thought that meant I would never see it again in a significant way. But instead, when I said “yes” to following God and “no” to following myself, God returned music to me in a way that both honors Him and which I completely love.
And…He gave me a NEW DREAM! That new dream is why I’m the crazy lady sitting at Starbucks at 5am on a Saturday: to touch the lives of others through the written word. And that is worth it to me to sacrifice a little sleep. God has shown me His faithfulness when I’ve handed Him my life’s dream. For His dream for me, I am happy to give Him something in return so that I can walk that journey with Him.
What is God asking you to set aside for His greater purpose? What’s it worth to you?