Sure, go ahead. Just say “yes.” Recently I posted about learning to say “no” to things that distract and are not the best choice for us. Lest you think I’m a negative naysayer who balks at the good, the adventurous and the fun, I am suggesting we also balance out life with plenty of “yes” opportunities.
Remaking Life with One Word
I borrow again from Shauna Niequist’s New York Times Bestseller book, Present Over Perfect, for her viewpoint on saying “yes.”
Saying yes means not hiding. It means being seen in all your imperfections and insecurities. Saying yes is doing scary things without a guarantee that they’ll go perfectly. Saying yes is telling the truth even when it’s weird or sad or impossibly messy. Saying yes is inviting chaos, and also possibility. Saying yes is building a new future, regardless of the past. Saying yes is jumping in anyway.
One part of this journey, of course, was learning to say no. I couldn’t have remade my life without that very important word. But it’s not the word that I want to be my knee-jerk response to all of life. My response to pressure and expectations: no. But the word I want to say to beauty and freedom and soulfulness and life and play and creativity and challenge and God’s wild and expansive love? Yes, yes, yes. Always yes.
Inviting Chaos and Possibility
I love Shauna’s description of how saying “yes” invites chaos and possibility. Isn’t this risk at its finest? Life tosses us plenty of chaos at times, but with the initial jumble comes the incredible possibility of grand adventure, meaningful growth, hearty laughter and so much more. Life waits to greet us with fresh richness if we will only dip our toe in the water or even take the full plunge.
I remember as a young girl watching my brothers and their friends bounce wildly on the diving board at our county swimming pool. Those boys were far from graceful and precise on their dives, but they had a whoop-hollering good time flailing their arms and attacking the mid air before creating a massive wake in the pool.
It took me some time to garner up the courage . . . and a bit of finesse . . . before I eased out on the diving board myself. First, I sat on the board’s edge and eventually slid my tush into the water. In time, I stood and bounced before making my grand entrance into the pool.
And, let’s just say, I practiced these moves when my brothers and their pals were not around. A girl is much more likely to say “yes” and take a plunge when she’s not being teased by the boys with their countless boy germs. Yet, as Shauna reminds us, “yes is jumping in anyway.”
Tossing Aside a Familiar “No”
So is there anything in your life right now that you’ve been avoiding or talking yourself out of in even the slightest way? Have you been pooh-poohing a change or a fairly daring adventure or a never-tried-before opportunity?
What if you tossed your familiar “no” aside and stretched and warmed up your muscles on saying “yes”? This new year of 2022 is the perfect time to escort your fears and excuses to the baby pool and march to the grownups’ diving board.
And remember, I’ll be right there with you. Let’s be expectant, eager and ready to say YES to the “beauty and freedom and soulfulness and life and play and creativity” already awaiting us.
Yes. Always yes.
Can I get a head nod on this? Even a shout of “yesssssss, count me in”?
Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016), 207-208.