The response to last week’s post about saying “Yes!” was so much fun! I even heard from a few of you who took steps forward in saying yes to things you had wanted to do for a long time. It’s so exciting to see people stepping forward into their interests, talents, and callings. Saying yes is an incredible adventure that can change you in ways nothing else can.
However, it occurred to me that in all the talk about finally saying yes, I failed to reflect on the fifteen years before I said yes. FIFTEEN YEARS PEOPLE. That’s how long it took me to finally step forward into something that had been rolling around in my brain for a long time. Fifteen years of thinking about writing. Fifteen years of dipping a toe in it and pulling the ink-stained thing back out, yet again.
What I need you to know is fifteen years of thinking means there were also fifteen years of feeling. Thinking and feeling always go together, but not always to our benefit. When you have been thinking about doing something for a really long time, sometimes those feelings can get pretty intense.
Case in point, my feelings during those fifteen years of moving toward “yes” always landed in one of two spots:
Shame or compassion. One of these was not my friend.
When God has been working you toward yes you can bet your last dollar the enemy will do his best to sit you square in the middle of shame to keep you from moving forward. His entire job is to steal, kill and destroy and that includes our progress in anything God has for us. We have to fight to keep our minds and our hearts focused on how the Lord speaks to us when we are moving toward yes.
To that end, please do yourself a favor and plant some grace around your ambitions. In almost anyone’s yes there is a process. This process includes being open enough to receive an idea, think about an idea, create the space to try the idea and then finally following through. Each of these steps is hard work in its own right, even if there aren’t tangible results. You need to allow yourself the compassion to honor each of these steps along the way rather than shaming yourself for not moving fast enough. You are unlikely to move forward in anything with God by mentally whipping yourself. God always moves through love.
So yes, were there times when I was being disobedient by not moving forward? Sure. However, a lot more often I was probably still growing in God and trying to figure out what this thing was going to look like. Those times when I let the shame voice take over I believed God was frustrated with my pace and angry I wasn’t using the gifts He had given me. But those times when I allowed compassion to speak I was able to remember that He is a patient, loving Father who is thrilled when His kids take steps in the right direction.
Dear reader, if you haven’t yet moved forward to your yes, I need you to know I am cheering you on. Please make the choice to be kind to yourself, you may be closer to yes than you know.