Hey ya'll and happy Monday morning! Monday mornings usually get a bad rap but we're going to change that with this weeks encouraging highlights from our current read The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. Kelsey from The Home Loving Wife has this weeks summary ready to go for us and I for one am in complete need of this inspiring message. This sweet young mama of 4 bitty girls has a great perspective and positive outlook. After you've read through her takeaways I encourage you to hop on over to her blog and see what she's all about I know you'll be glad you did! Take it away Kelsey.
Happy Monday friends, and WELCOME to Week One of our brand spankin' new Monday Morning Book Club!! I'm so glad to have you joining us and can't wait to see how each of us grows throughout this journey. The best part is that we get to do it together! We have been reading through The Best Yes by the ever-inspiring and amazing Lysa TerKeurst and can I just say - WOW!!! Never has a book resonated so deeply within the core of who I am and spoken so directly to the struggles that I have been facing for years. Especially now, in this season of being a young wife, mama, homemaker and entrepreneur, there is never a shortage of demands or requests vying for my attention. I've always appreciated how transparent and real Lysa is when addressing the common challenges we women face throughout our lives. And let me tell you, she does not disappoint in The Best Yes. Here are some of the highlights and takeaways I'd love to share with you from Chapters 1-4.
Chapter 1: Check the Third Box
As Lysa shares a funny story about her daughter's lack of ability to make a decision when ordering from a drive-thru restaurant, I couldn't really relate to her daughter in that moment. I personally don't usually suffer from being indecisive. I'm actually a very decisive person usually - perhaps sometimes even impulsive! I typically know what I like, know what I want and have no problem communicating it. But, as I kept reading, Lysa wrote something that did grab me. She said, "It's not that she'll think what she ordered is bad, it's just that she'll feel the tension of realizing she missed the best choice." When it comes to the bigger decisions of life, how many times I have vacillated back and forth between many good options, crippled not by the fear of making a bad choice, but rather by the fear of not making the best choice. Because I don't just want to go through this life being "okay." I want to be the best, have the best, and do the best. Let's be honest - it's no fun to make a choice and then have "buyer's remorse" when we realize we don't really want what we chose. Or to realize that, had we waited, another better choice would have been waiting for us. So how do we learn to know just exactly what the best choices are? I'm hoping to discover the answer to this question as I read on.
Here's another golden nugget that pierced me through like an arrow when I read it. "I blindly live at the mercy of the requests of others that come my way each day. Every assignment feels like my assignment. You need me? You got me. Because I'm too scared or too cowardly or too busy or too something to just be honest and say, 'I can't this time." HOLY COW. This is me. All day, every day, all the time, with everyone. Granted, as my family has grown and I've become increasingly aware of my own limitations, this has started to become a bit less of a struggle. I have slowly begun to learn how to appropriately wield the word no and it has served me and my family well! But how do you navigate the choppy, unpredictable waters of raising several young children whose needs and demands are unending, and survive to tell the tale? I've noticed that even though I am truly blessed with an incredible husband who is more than willing to help carry the burden of caring for the kiddos and cooking and cleaning, etc - I still view all of those things as my jobs. They are my assignments and I constantly carry around that weight. It is exhausting. But why do I hold so tightly to everything? Why do I feel the need to control those areas of my life? Why is it so hard to accept that I am neither meant to, nor capable of doing and being everything? I have felt what Lysa poignantly describes happens when we are chronically too busy, particularly with tasks and assignments that are not our 'Best Yes' assignments. She writes, "The acid of overactivity eats holes in our souls. And from those holes leaks the cry of the unfulfilled calling that never quite happened." Weirdly, for the first few years of my motherhood journey I felt so amazingly fulfilled and like I was right where I was supposed to be, doing what I was meant to do. And I'm not sure when or how it happened, but one day a few years in, I woke up realizing that I wasn't happy anymore. I wasn't enjoying being a mommy. I no longer enjoyed doing the things I used to. I didn't feel motivated anymore. All I wanted to do was wake up, get through the day as unscathed as possible, then sleep away my discontent until I had to get up and do it all over again. I'm going to take a wild guess and say it probably had something to do with the fact that a) I was exhausted and b) I was always saying yes to everything and everyone except myself and God. Talk about getting things backwards!!
Chapter 2: The Way of The Best Yes
I don't know what kind of person you are, but I definitely know what kind of person I am. I am a rusher. People have commented all of my life at how fast I move. I am pretty impatient. I'm all about speed and efficiency and somehow figuring out how to cram more into less time. In a lot of ways this is a gift, but in countless other ways it is a curse. It can be very challenging for me to just sit and be. To stop and enjoy things fully, rather than hustle and bustle about from one thing to the next. Lysa made a great point when she said, "When all of life feels like an urgent rush from one demand to another, we become forgetful. We forget simple things like where we put our keys or that one crucial ingredient for dinner when we run to the grocery store. But even more disturbing, we forget God. We say with our mouth that we are trusting and relying on God, but are we really?" This really grabbed me. If I continue to allow myself and my schedule no room to breathe, what space is left for God to fill in me? I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes, "You can't pour out of any empty cup." I think it's time to be purposeful about leaving some empty space in my life, to be less rushed and more focused on the things that truly matter. Especially because, as Lysa shares, "It's in those little breaks in our companionship with God where confusion sets in about what we're really supposed to do." Oh boy, I have SO been there. Anytime I start to feel lost or confused regarding my direction, focus or purpose, I can usually trace it back to busyness having nudged my relationship with God out of first place. I can really see how it is my obedience (or disobedience!) to God's instruction that dictates whether I grasp His will for the direction I am to go in or not.
This section absolutely SLAYED me. Oh my. I could just quote the entire chapter right here, and leave it at that. But I won't do that to you - you'll have to go read it for yourself!! I love the story she shared of high jumper Dick Fosbury and how he achieved Olympic gold-medal success by approaching his sport with a different, new technique. She writes, "Here's the reality of our current technique: other people's requests dictate the decisions we make. We become slaves to others' demands when we let our time be dictated by requests. We will live reactive lives instead of proactive. And reactive lives get very exhausting, very quickly. If I want things about my life to change, it won't happen just by trying harder or dreaming more or even working myself to death. I have to change my approach to the way I make decisions. The same patterns will produce the same habits. The same habits will lead to the same decisions. The same decisions will keep me stuck. And I don't want to be stuck." Ladies - I don't want to be stuck either!!! I want to live a powerful life that is a testimony to God's glory and greatness. I want to make a difference in people's lives, but I also want to enjoy life and the blessings God has showered on me. I believe He wants both of those things for me as well - and YOU too! But here's the truth. "The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls. So, this isn't about finding time. This is about honoring God with the time we have." Drawing from this, I plan to start getting really intentional with wisely choosing how to allocate my time, and to what end. I refuse to continue "haphazardly spending my soul" on the things that don't really matter that much in the end.
Chapter 4: Sometimes I Make It All So Complicated
Philippians 1:9-10 says, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." Lysa says, "God has woven into us the ability to discern what is best. Discerning what is best is something we're capable of doing as we layer knowledge and depth of insight into our lives." This is something that I want to be known for. Just like the "wise woman" from the story of Sheba in the Bible, I want to have a reputation for making wise choices when it matters. I want not only myself, but those God has put in my life to benefit from my ability to discern what is best when decisions need to be made. To do this, I need to prioritize putting my "heart and mind in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters" as Lysa admonishes.
I also love how perfectly and accurately Lysa states, "Life has such a habit of stripping the feelings of power and significance right out of our scope with its constant daily demands." But she goes on to say, "That daily stuff- those responsibilities that seem more like distractions - those things we want to rush and just get through to get on with the better and bigger assignments of life - those things that are unnoticed places of service? They are the very experiences from which we unlock the riches of wisdom. We've got to practice wisdom in the everyday places of our lives. Never despise the mundane. Embrace it. Unwrap it like a gift. And be one of the rare few who looks deeper than just the surface. See something more in the everyday. It's there. We can learn right here, right now, in the midst of all that's daily how to become wise. As we wisely gain knowledge through everyday stuff, grasp insights through everyday stuff, and grapple with the development of our discernment through everyday stuff, we'll use what we have to our advantage by making better decisions." How easy it can be to get lost in the sea of the monotony of our daily to-do lists and responsibilities. I can't tell you how many dishes I wash or shoes I tie or noses I wipe or boo-boos I kiss, day-in and day-out. And it's easy to forget that those things matter. If I can be faithful in the little, God will entrust me with more. I think ultimately the choice is mine. To either look at my life and feel like its victim, like a buoy tossed about by the waves of constant requests and demands for my attention, talents and resources. Or, I can choose to look at everything as a gift. Right here, right now I have been richly and abundantly blessed. How can I take and use what I have to make a great impact for God's glory, in a manner that will enrich, fulfill and satisfy my soul? I don't think the answer to that question is too hard to identify when we are willing to change our approach and stop over-complicating everything.
What are some of the biggest things that impacted you as you read through these first few chapters of The Best Yes? Do you feel any closer to determining what a "best yes" may be for you in your life right now? Please share your thoughts, responses or questions in the comments box below! I can't wait to hear how each of you are learning and growing as we soldier on through this journey together! ALSO - don't forget to hop on over and join us on Instagram for further discussion in our weekly #mondaymorningbookclub chat loop!