This week has posed three different scenarios that required three different answers. A Yes. A No. A Wait.
Which answer needs your bravery most?
Sometimes saying Yes to an opportunity puts me in an internal cyclone of anxiety: what if they don’t like me? What if I don’t speak in a way that aligns with their expectations? What if?
There’s a great response for that ‘What if’ set of questions that quiets the cyclone for me.
God knows what they need. I know God. He cares for me and them. It will be just as it needs to be. I can say a brave Yes trusting God with the details.
Just so you know, I didn’t come into the world with these anxiety settling statements wired into me. On the contrary, I seem to be wired to panic first and settle down second. Ask my sons. On second thought, don’t. You’ll hear more about me than you might care to know! But as I have been learning along the Way, I look at Jesus and His model for facing challenges. There’s no panic. He drew aside to be alone with the Father. He knew His purpose was to glorify the Father in all that He did. No matter what.
So your brave Yes can follow that same pattern. Look to Jesus.
What about No? Do you fear saying No to someone or some opportunity means you’ll be missing out? Or offending? Or disappointing someone?
I’ve struggled with saying No, fearing repercussions for my answer. That’s a bit scary if you’ve experienced repercussions in the past that frame how you respond. I have and it’s not fun. Here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t meet everyone’s needs. He didn’t heal everyone. He didn’t dine with everyone. Jesus made choices and some of His answers were No. Gleaning wisdom from Jesus means learning from Him along the Way. Learning when to say Yes and when to say No. I can say a brave No trusting God with the potential for repercussions.
And what about saying Wait? When your life seems like a Yes is the right answer but you don’t have a clear sense of a green light to move forward; do you say Yes because of circumstances? Or No because you’re not clear? What keeps us from saying I need to wait? I can only speak for me but I’ve said Yes when I knew I was supposed to wait. The biggest example of not saying Wait was pretty regrettable in hind sight.
I was 26 and engaged to a great Christian guy. He loved Jesus, led Bible studies in his home, had been a summer intern for his home church. When he asked me to marry him in December, I was thrilled! He had even asked my Dad’s permission to marry me. We were meeting with a young pastor and his wife for our pre-marital counseling; during a time of study and prayer with her, I clearly knew I was to push the pause button on wedding planning. I shared with her what I believed. She affirmed my impression. It wasn’t No I’m not supposed to marry him. It was wait.
I didn’t. I feared my mother’s wrath over all the planning and expense that had already been incurred. Now it was April. The wedding date was July 2. The dress was purchased, fitted and in alteration process. The venue secured. The guest list accounted for. The invitations chosen and at the printers to be able to be addressed and mailed by the 6 week prior appropriate Miss Manners time frame. If I said we need to wait, I also feared what my fiancé would say or think or do. What if he backed out altogether? What would that look like?
Do you hear my fear of others more than my fear of God?
I will never know what God had in store for following that clear prompting. I do know that our marriage was not the God-centered one I anticipated. We both had family of origin issues to grow away from; we couldn’t learn new ways on our own. He wasn’t a fan of counseling, so we struggled. Each church we tried didn’t measure up to expectations so we didn’t have community. We were married 4 years and decided it must be time to start a family. During my pregnancy he developed a relationship with a co-worker which grew past friendship. When I was four and a half months pregnant, he left our marriage.
Broken is an understatement. Devastated is closer.
One compromise of values does not have to ruin a life. But one upon another upon another changes the original course. The question ‘How did we get here?’ is a common response when life altering circumstances present themselves.
I’ve learned to be brave and say Wait since then. I haven’t always done that perfectly either even after such life altering circumstances. But God.
My two favorite words in Scripture. But God. They are paired in lots of places. Here are just a few:
But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. (Ps. 9:18)
but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. (Ps.66:19)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:26
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Jesus didn’t say Yes to everyone’s need, but He did die for everyone.
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10:40)
You and I can learn to say a brave Yes or a brave No. We can even learn to say a brave Wait. We can learn to let go of fears and expectations as we learn to trust the One who holds this all together. He is worth the risk you face. He is faithful.