Standing on the corner of a busy street in South Kensington, I look at my watch and exclaim, “Oh my gosh! Is it really almost 5:00pm?” Two new friends visiting from the US immediately pull up a sleeve making assessments while simultaneously checking mobiles.
A few minutes later we part ways in the tube station; west on the Piccadilly Line for me while they travel east to explore an art store on Russell. I’m not late for an appointment; I’ve just had to say no to some good things lately.
This month, H is preaching a series called Navigating Change at our church. A few weeks ago, he spoke on Saying No to Say Yes; no to our old self, no to fears and insecurities and no to good things in order to make room for saying a bold yes to Christ.
In choosing to part ways with my friends I said no to a good thing but it wasn’t exactly saying yes to God. Or was it?
As I navigate changes in roles as a writer, mother, friend and wife, all wrapped up in a new culture, I’m thinking about my best yeses quite a lot lately.
How do you identify the best from a smorgasbord of good options and opportunities?
In the past, I might’ve assumed guilt about making that small decision to go home instead of site-seeing with my friends, feeling a bit selfish. Or I might’ve transferred my own assumptions into the situation, choosing false empathy instead of truth.
When sacrificing time comes from a place of guilt, the result is like eating too many donuts. Immediate gratification without thinking through the consequences ultimately leaves you regretful and sick.
My best yeses flow from knowing who I am and what my ultimate contribution is to the world around me. That discovery has taken a few years of coaching and intentional time wrestling through the details of my past.
What I’ve learned in the process is our best yeses are constantly changing because the Christ-life is a continual discovery. God isn’t static; He is always in the process of creating.
And that’s why we can’t put new wine into old wine skins.
The new thing God is doing in us cannot be accomplished by continuing to live in the way we’ve always done it. New seasons, new calling, new purpose – they require new rhythms, new risk, new levels of surrender and sacrifice. Confidence in saying no comes alongside our best yeses.
We cannot enter into God’s intended rest by continually adding things to our lives and then pretend life is as it always has been. It’s idealistic and may I suggest, self-sabotage, to think you are a time-keeping super hero. Ask me how I know that!
On a sunny day in London, walking serpentine through crowds of people, I parted ways with my friends because it was a small act of obedience honoring the time God gives me. My ultimate contribution that day was to make dinner for my family; fully present at the table instead of hurried up on the inside.
The Gospel of Mark tells us what happens when we try to insert something new into our old life. It’s messy, that’s the gist.
We are created with purpose for such a time as this. I want my choices to be golden, not second rate. You? For me, that requires some fear of God when I say yes to opportunities.
How are you choosing the best from the good in your everyday life?