"Yes, i will help you move"...could mean a few less hours of work and some company before a trip ahead, which could mean leaving the road a little less tired and arrive a little bit earlier.
"Yes, you have been accepted into our university"...can mean the sphere of people you will meet, professors you will have, social issues you will face.
"Yes, you have been offered the job"...means more (or less) pay...maybe a move into a new town...with new working conditions and circumstances.
"yes, you are having a child"...can mean a whole lot of things and decisions if the child is wanted (or not), a planned part of life (or not), and a life change, nonetheless.
"yes, you do have cancer"...changes how we view life, how we see our family and friends, our plan of attack to be healed, preparing for possible death, plus massive amounts of change.
"Yes, I will marry you"...can mean a lifetime of love and happiness. Or misery if it is the wrong person.
"yes, i will help you with this project, lead this team"... can mean a new endeavor in our lives, honing in on what we love (or highlighting what we hate), a new amount if energy going toward a task, a lending hand willing to sacrifice time and energy...
"Yes" is a word we all want to hear - for the most part. Yes means change. Yes can mean help. Yes can mean fulfillment. Yes means a lightened load.
I can be impulsive. I see something I like, i usually will jump at the chance to get it. If I am invited to a function, I rarely say no. If I am enticed...I succumb to the pressure. I say yes. I jump at the chance of something new, fun, creative, goofy, lovely, wonderful, weird. I have impulsively said yes to dates that I should have said no to (and some I firmly said no). I have impulsively taken jobs I knew I would probably hate in no time. I have moved on impulse a few times. I do truly believe that I have mellowed out as I have aged-no longer to I blow paychecks on clothing or anything of the sort. But I do have an impulsive streak that has to be kept in check. To do so...I have to learn to retire the word "yes".
I am realizing that "yes" is a word that should be uttered cautiously and decisively.
And it should be rarely said.
When I was 18, I was exceptionally excited to serve in ministry. I was serving in the junior high ministry, helping out on the events team, singing on the worship team, helping out with women's ministry, plus going to college and working 2 part time jobs. I realized I was on my way to burn out and no one was holding me back. I think I was a young, able bodied person (which as more of a rare sight at my church than it is now) willing to help and lead. But no one was willing to help me say no.
I think it is a leader's job to tell people no sometimes. No matter how absolutely desperate we might be to have a spot filled by someone capable, everyone is vying for those people. And sometimes it feels like in the church there are about 2% of them and everyone has tapped them for their "thing". And then once everyone has tapped the same 2%, it's like 2% of the people are doing 80% of the work. and basically, it's unfair to them (lives, family, relationship with God, overall health, etc) and to those who do not have a place to serve now.
I have been in positions lately where I have just said yes to those who are very capable, mature leaders where I just needed someone capable to "git er done". Someone I can entrust it all and know it will be cared for and loved. But I am realizing so has almost every other ministry asked those same people and its unfair. To those people, I apologize! i should have said no earlier. Hindsight is 20/20.
yes, i should have said no. but like a good friend said, it is not taught in church. We are trying to hold the staff accountable for that, but i need to do the same to my leaders. It's something that is rarely taught in bible college. You don't have "Boundaries 101" or "How to Say No with Minimal Consequences" as a freshman requirement. And although it is talked about, it is so hard to actually live out.
So for me..."no" is the new "yes". Let's use it deliberately, cautiously...and as liberal as possible for our own health's sake.