The flip side and inescapable companion of yes is no.
Obvious? Well it wasn’t to me.
For years I’ve said yes under the assumption that I could do it all. At least a big piece of “all.” (You too?) But I’m learning that the flip side of the oh-so-agreeable yes is a big, fat, often ignored no.
My yes to answering the phone in the middle of the homeschool lesson turns into a “No, I can’t listen to the rest of your thought, son.”
My yes to serve on a committee is also a “No, I can’t be home on Thursday evening.”
My yes to quality time with each of my five kids is a “No, I’m not going to have a spotless house.”
I’ve been a yea-sayer for years. But in my make-everybody-happy world, I’ve also been inadvertently shouting noes left and right. And that’s fine — as long as I see it and choose each yes and no wisely.
The thing is, there’s something deeper, something that influences each toss of my yes-no coin, revealing more of the real me with every little decision… my core values.
Core values are what we operate from. The core of who we are, what’s truly non-negotiable to us.
How about you — can you list your top core values in life?
It might not be too hard to come up with good answers… faith, family, ministry, relationships… Your values might sound pretty impressive. Mine did.
But when I stopped to think through how each yes and no lined up with my values… how my minutes, hours, and days were actually used up? Well, I’m not sure the careful observer would have come up with a matching list.
Stop for a second and think through your priorities. Not the ones you listed a second ago. The ones you really live by.
What do you spend your money on? What do you live for? What motivates you? Where does your spare time go?
Does your list suddenly look a little more like “Appearances, Comfort, and Pleasure?” Do your values conflict with one another?
Maybe the values you live by aren’t overtly evil, but a closer look reveals workaholism or a tendency to serve others at the expense of your own family. Maybe you have great values, but their rank and order is mixed up a bit — others before your spouse, your family before God.
What does it matter?
A careful look at my own values orchestrated significant change. A few years ago I taught music in order to afford private Christian education for my kids. And it made some sense: I’m musical, I had the time, and I wanted my kids to have a quality Christian education.
But it didn’t take long to discover that the yes to teaching was in fact a no to my kids. My energies and best hours of the day went to other people’s children, and my own family got weary, withered leftovers.
There are times when we feel things are just “off” in life. Sometimes we’re forced to push through for a season even though we know we’re not in the best place. But there’s also a day when it’s time to think through our values and make decisions to live according to what matters most. And when I did, it meant making a switch to homeschooling.
For you? Who knows! But it will be freeing.
So where are you right now? What are your yeses and noes adding up to? Do they accurately spell out what matters most to you? Is this who you want to be? How you want to spend your life?
Let me encourage you to look deep into your heart, find out what God created you for, and ask Him for the courage to live out that calling. After all, He delights in guiding His children. He came to give you life… life in abundance.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
So go ahead… I dare you. Take a look at each yes and no and the core values at the root of each one. Then ask God to help you sort out what’s been revealed. He’s given you this life. Don’t waste it.
And as always friend, if you need a listening ear or a little life-coaching on the journey (by the way, this is a taste of what life coaching is all about), I’d love to hear from you.