Make Your “Yes” Count

Over the past couple months, I’ve been more selective about what I say “yes” to. With a baby on the way, I realize our life is headed toward great change. For one, I will have to scale back my list of commitments. Which, I am not all that sad about . . . 😉

Too often I act out of obligation, or the feeling of “I really should help with that . . . ” or even worse, “What would others think if I wasn’t there?”

This week, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of faithfulness and how it interacts with our daily choices and commitments. While Mitch and I were reading through Proverbs 12, this verse jumped out at me:

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. -Proverbs 12:22

It made me think of a blog comment I received last week: “One thing my husband and I have really noticed is that people don’t let their ‘yes’ be YES and their ‘no’ be NO. Instead, many people will say ‘yes’ right away and then change their mind later on if that ‘yes’ no longer suits them, their schedule or how they feel. Perhaps that would be a misunderstanding of what faithfulness truly means?”

I felt like saying, “Amen sister!” when I read it. Too often Mitch and I have been left hanging and frustrated by people who said they would help or volunteer with an event, but changed their mind at the last minute. I believe many people struggle with keeping their word and their commitments. (We notice this A LOT with teenagers! Teenagers are flaky by nature. Yet, it is during these teen years where they most need to learn responsibility and follow-through.)

I don’t use the Message version of the Bible often, but I love how it phrases Jesus’ thoughts on the faithfulness of our words:

“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” – Matthew 5:33-37

Powerful, huh? How often have I told someone I would be in prayer over something and completely forgot about it? More than I’d like to admit. Over the past year, I have worked hard to be more faithful in this area of my life.

greatness vs. faithfulness

From my study and reflections on how we can be more faithful, I have come to two conclusions:

1. For those of us who say “yes” too often, we need to add “no” to our vocabulary. We also need to be faithful to the callings God has placed on our hearts. By saying “no” more, we can pour more time and energy into our specific callings. For many of us, that may mean pouring into our own families.

2. For those of us who struggle with follow-through and keeping our word, we need to back up and truly consider potential commitments. Sometimes it’s better to say “no” upfront, rather than leave someone in the lurch later. When you do say “yes,” remember that people are relying on your yes. Unless something comes up that you truly cannot help, make good on your word. Be there. Be someone whom others can depend on–a faithful person.

What are some other ways you can strive to become a more faithful person?

Linked up at Motivation Mondays.

14 thoughts on “Make Your “Yes” Count

  1. A resounding “yes”! I couldn’t agree more. We need to count the cost of saying yes or saying no before we commit to one. Getting clear on my personal/family priorities helps me decide what gets my yes and what gets filtered out.

  2. Yes and No is something that plagues me. I am a ‘people pleaser’ who doesn’t keep her word.
    After disappointing so many people (myself included) I just stopped promising things and letting people know they can’t rely on me.
    Why is no such a difficult word for us to utter? It comes quite easily to a two-year old.
    sara recently posted…My 500 Words Day 6: Writing About WritingMy Profile

    • Sara, it is crazy how hard it is to say “no,” yet as you said, the easiest word for a 2-year-old . . . I think there is a guilt-complex we develop around the word “no”.

  3. This is so very true! I remember in high school backing out of a few things, and it has only been in recent years I have learned the discipline of sticking it out if I committed to do something. This also has made me think a little more clearly about what I say when someone approaches me with a request. Sure, it is awkward when I have to tell them no–but it is a million times worse if I end up having to back out at the last minute. Whew. Excellent post, Nathana, and very good for me to read. I pinned your Mother Teresa quote. Love it!
    Bethany M. recently posted…If He Forgot Valentine’s Day {or your Birthday…or Mother’s Day…}My Profile

  4. This is so good. I needed to read this today. There’s a commitment I made two months ago on a whim out of pressure and a desire to succeed. I’m at a turning point where I can say YES to continue or NO to back away from it. I’ve wrestled because I don’t want to let others down but I don’t feel a peace about continuing. I loved what you said about saying NO so that we can fulfill what God’s calling us to do. Thank you for your beautiful words.
    Brandy recently posted…One day. One week. One month at a time.My Profile

    • Thank you Brandy! Feeling at peace about something is important. Oftentimes when I push on without feeling at peace about my decision, I regret it. That being said, sometimes a lack of peace can also come from insecurity, which may be something you need to push through. I would search your heart to find the root of your uneasiness. It sounds like you felt pressured to do it. I know I always regret acting out pressure, whether from myself or others . . .

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