Whether we like to admit it or not, we say “yes” (or some form of yes) far more than we need to or really want to. We find ourselves often saying “yes” to a variety of requests and even to people we barely know.

This often pushes us to live with schedules that we cannot keep and finances or resources that end up being stretched beyond their limits. We lose sight of what really matters by living such a full life that there is zero space in the margins.

Sometimes all of this happens because we don’t want to miss out on an experience/opportunity or because the “pleasing others” aspect of our thinking is waging war against our minds and hearts. If we are open and honest there are probably a multitude of other reasons as well.

But, it occurred to me recently, in a simple but profound way, what we are actually doing when we say “yes” to something we shouldn’t. What happens? We miss out on the fullness of joy that is found in actually saying “yes” to the things that really matter. 


My son said to me: “Daddy, will you watch Batman with me?” Well, I guess my “yes” got this precious boy all different shades of happy. And friends, that’s the profound lesson I learned, and am learning again, through this simplest of interactions with my son.

My yes to this request meant I had to first say no to a few others things: getting a jump on some laundry while it was still cool in our house, or preparing a family breakfast because it was my day off, or even ___________, just fill in that blank. Some of it may be good things even, things that if I had said “yes” to, even in that moment, it wouldn’t have been wrong. But if I said yes to both, I would have been divided in focus at best and perhaps, all my good intentions would be water down or less genuine.

That’s what I mean by saying that we might be “missing out on the fullness of joy that is found in actually saying ‘yes’ to the things that really matter.” All of our responses that are filled with good intentions, maybe even high hopes, can still take us away from the joy and fullness that is found in really making them a real yes – a very present in the moment, genuine yes!

What might happen in your life today if you are more aware about what you are saying “yes” to? What might happen when you choose to say no, so that you can say yes to something else?

Anything! 

We can experience true and lasting joy in all that we purpose to do when make each yes with clarity, perspective and with a focused commitment to personal integrity.

So what can you say “no” to this day in order to give that “yes” response to your friends, to your kids, to your spouse, to your neighbor, to your boss or even to a stranger? 

Jesus is our model. He is our example for everything. Throughout the Gospels we see how Jesus put people first. We see in Scriptures how people matter most – as we are His beloved, His creation. And, Jesus even taught in Matthew 5 what the goal of our actions, of our intentions even, should be when we seek to give a yes or no response, and how much that matters to God.

The fullness of joy that I felt in saying “no” to those other things that I could have been doing when my son asked me to join him led to one of those awesome and loving “dad moments” for sure, but an additional truth emerges when we are focused on what we say yes or no to…

True, we can experience that deeper sense of joy and connection when we are making those right yes choices, but more than that – MORE THAN THAT – we have an opportunity each and every time to reflect the very heart of Jesus.

So what can you, or should you, say “no” to this day to be able to say “yes” to someone or something that God has placed within your reach, for that moment, to experience a real joy and to fully reflect the heart of God through that experience and encounter?

Lord, I pray for my friends and family. Help them this day to be so aware of your working in their lives that they can be fully present in each experience and with every person they encounter. Give them patience to endure the hard stuff, wisdom to know how to respond, and a boldness that is saturated in Your hearts desires for them. I pray that I too, would be more open to the opportunities you are placing within my reach and that I would follow Your example and live a life that points people to You and the hope I have because of You. Amen

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