Use This Word More And See What Happens
As many of you know, I spend quite a bit of time talking and writing about being suspicious of the comfort in our lives and making sure it doesn’t hold us back from – yep, you guessed it – reaching, growing and doing. We start to “settle in” to life and before we know it, we’re in a rut doing the exact same things, day after day, year after year. We blame it on the demands of modern-day life, but deep down inside, we know we’re supposed to be feeling more…and doing more.
One of the byproducts of my family trying to get out of our comfort zones is that we say yes to things more often when we see a need – particularly my wife Beth. She is the best at saying yes. In fact, I might call her the grand champion of saying yes – for herself AND the rest of the family. Several times, my two daughters and I have “volunteered” for things we have never heard of, and didn’t know was happening until a day or two before we were supposed to do it. I like to say I’m the voice of reason and I’ll look at my wife and say “Whoa, wait a minute. Let’s just rein this in here a little honey. We can’t say yes to everything, or then we won’t do anything very well.” I have the look on my face right now I use when I say that to her and I’m pretty sure she wants to punch me when I do. Once I’ve given her that little piece of wisdom I heard somewhere, I usually get this body language and look that says “Well let’s see…that’s what you can tell all your friends over there in Slackerville, because we’re going to do this." And, we usually end up doing it.
I love the movie Yes Man. If you haven’t seen it, Jim Carrey plays a guy that’s stuck in life. He’s going through the motions with everything. The guy is basically just taking up space on the planet. He gets dragged to a conference about the power of saying yes and how it can open you up to a more fulfilling life. He takes what he hears so literally, he feels like he must say yes to everything presented to him in life - and it’s hilarious. At one point he stands in front of some kind of bulletin board with advertisements on it and picks each of them off: yes to playing the guitar, yes to flying a plane, yes to learning to speak Korean. And one of my favorites is when he clicks yes to an email at work from a mail-order bride company called persianwifefinder.com! The movie may be a little extreme, but the premise is pretty strong: the more you say yes, the more it opens you up to saying yes. At my house that may mean we have scheduling conflicts from time to time. We also have to make room for the things we’ve purchased from every door to door salesperson/kid from a broken home/student trying to put themselves through school is selling…but I give my wife high marks for saying yes. And it’s contagious.
I don’t believe this means we just agree to do anything we are asked. Our plates are already so full, we have to be mindful of what should really be on there and what should not. Our family decided we needed to say yes so we could experience more of life for ourselves. Mostly it meant saying yes to the needs of others. In some cases it required us to get a little uncomfortable and put ourselves in situations we’d never been before. I don’t think we’re ever going to get it right exactly, because everyone has different priorities and ideas about what is most “important.”
Start by picking something you’ve always wanted to do or try personally, and do it. Pick some area of need locally or globally that you’ve had a nagging feeling about, and do something about it. Don’t be overwhelmed, and take baby steps if that’s what is necessary. Author Bob Goff wrote "I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes."
Just say yes.