While saying no can feel comfortable, the greatest version of ourselves, of who God made us to be, often lies just on the other side of “Yes.”
What is it in your life that’s calling out for your yes today?
In January of 2016, I set a goal to run a 10K later in the year. Up until that point, I had run casually for years, but never really wanted to push myself farther. I was comfortable, and I was okay with that. But I wanted to go just a little farther than I had before.
It turns out that my 10K goal was just the beginning of an epic, life-changing year.
A few weeks ago, I shared about my experience at last year’s Global 6K for Water. That day was the beginning of going farther than I ever had before. After I completed my race, I stopped to mingle and snag a bagel and a banana. I knew that the team was recruiting for bigger races and fundraisers in 2016, but if I’m honest, I had no plan to do more. I had run my 6K; now I planned to get home to my warm house and stay comfortable.
That’s when I saw them: the table filled with rows of white coffee mugs with a simple “Yes” printed on them. They were reserved for people that would commit to joining Team World Vision in Detroit for either the half or full Detroit marathon. I don’t know what it was about those mugs that drew me in, but I kept inching closer and closer to the table.
Those mugs and I had a conversation that went a little something like this:
“Yes.” (No. Not me. I can’t do that.)
“Yes.” (No, really. I have zero desire to run farther than a 10k.)
“Yes.” (This isn’t about running, isn’t it?).
“Yes?” (Well … I do want to fight for the oppressed and marginalized in the world).
“Yes!” (I guess maaaybe I could do this?)
“YES!” (Here we go … I’m in!)
As a goal-oriented, type-A person, I have spent so much time fine-tuning my “no” muscle that I have forgotten how to say “yes.” I have worked to learn how to say “no” to things so I can say “yes” to the right things. None of us can do everything, so we have to make choices. Part of choices is learning to say “no.”
But sometimes I overuse my “no.” I say no out of convenience—to keep the status quo of life going strong—rather than out of a desire to be purposeful in meaningful endeavors.
Sometimes I say no out of fear.
I say no out of comfort.
I say no out of selfishness.
But on the other side of “yes” is the woman I want to be: that person I hoped I would grow up to be when I was little, the girl that dreamed of living wild and free, of living with purpose and for something bigger than herself.
So while I stared at the table of “yes” mugs, I knew I had a choice: I could say no. I was free to say no. I could have walked away, gotten in my car, and gone home. Nothing would have changed.
But I didn’t say no. I said yes. I stepped over the gate and into a great adventure that didn’t make much sense (it still doesn’t, but great adventures rarely do).
Saying “yes” has been exhilarating, liberating … and terrifying.
Here’s the truth:
The greatest version of ourselves often lies just on the other side of “yes.”
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure The Hobbit, saying “yes” is what took Bilbo Baggins from being a comfortable hobbit to a brave adventurer. His “yes” took him from saying… “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea—any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!”
… to saying, “I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.”
I want to be a friend of bears and the guest of eagles. But to do so requires that I leave my cozy shire … saying “yes” when “Gandalf” knocks. I suspect that you do, too. We were created to experience tremendous purpose and adventure.
So what is it in your life calling out for your yes today? What is the adventure beckoning you beyond your doorstep and into the great unknown—that thing that you’ve secretly dreamed of doing, but have been too scared to try? That thing that when you think about doing it, you feel like the person God made you to be?
Maybe you’ve been seeing what World Vision is doing to alleviate suffering in the poorest parts of the world. Maybe you’ve seen and heard the stories of women and children who walk miles every day to collect water that is unclean and riddled with disease. Maybe you’ve been hearing the knock on the door of your heart, but up until this moment, right now, you have said, “Someone else will help. Not me. Not today. No, thank you.”
But I’d like to invite you into a greater story, one that’s full of the purpose and adventure that you are made to experience: the life you crave. Dare to say “yes” today.
Will it require courage? Absolutely.
Will it be challenging and exhausting? No doubt.
Will you want to quit after you start? Almost certainly.
But will it be worth it? Undeniably.
There is power in saying “yes.” There is power in leaving comfort behind for the breath of life that comes with purposeful adventure, the kind that only God Himself can lead you on.
Let’s live—really live—together.
Say “Yes” to walking or running World Vision’s Global 6K for Water on May 6th today! Get started here.
Haley Bodine blogs at Haley M. Bodine.