Have you ever found yourself in a state of spiritual stagnation? A few years ago, that is exactly where I was. I was in the church building every time the doors were open and was studying scriptures daily; however, even with all of this, I felt as if I were treading water. At the same time this was going on, we were making a huge change. We took a job in Oklahoma and moved across the country. I decided this was the perfect time to make a big change and I decided that I was going to commit to a “Year of Yes.”
I made the commitment in my “year of yes” to say yes to any opportunity that came my way which would force me to stretch out of my spiritual comfort zone. Not only would I say yes to opportunities that I was personally asked to participate in, but I would volunteer for things that were announced in a general setting as well. I probably don’t have to tell you, but as an introvert this was a huge undertaking!
When we moved, the first thing I mentioned to my husband was that I would greatly miss the all-girl youth rally I participated in while living in Pennsylvania. To that, he simply replied: “Start one here.” This was my first challenge, and I was obligated to take it. I took a deep breath and got the women at our congregation together for a meeting (which was extremely terrifying since I didn’t know any of the ladies well at this point). A few months later we had our first annual “God’s Girls” in Oklahoma-an awesome event where around 200 teen girls and mentors from around the state came to grow in Christ.
The next personal challenge came from my husband as well. One of his friends from preaching school started a website for Christian women and was looking for ladies to write articles. Let me preface this by saying, I am not a writer! I have always been a speaker and teacher, but when it comes to putting my thoughts down on paper, I have never felt effective. This was my “year of yes” though so I rose to the challenge and wrote my first article for Come Fill Your Cup. A few months later, Erynn Sprouse, Editor for CFYC, called me and asked me to fill in for a podcast episode. Of course I said “yes” and we became dearest friends. I have been so blessed to be a part of this site I now write weekly for.
Throughout the year I was encountered with so many unique opportunities from coordinating an event at Lads to Leaders in Dallas to teaching four-year olds. It seemed that the more things I said yes to, the more opportunities I was presented with. This is not a new idea though. In Scripture we are presented with so many examples of people who influenced and served so many simply by saying yes. A willing attitude goes a long way!
Think back to Abraham. In Genesis 12 God told him to “Go forth!” He was to leave all of the comforts of home and head out into the wilderness to a place that God would show him. He could have said: “Let us have some kids first and raise our family and then we’ll go,” or “Give us a few more years to save up for the trip and once our finances are in order, then we’ll go.” He did not though. He simply said yes and went. Because of this, Abraham became the father of the entire Jewish nation!
What about Esther? She was nobody special. In fact, she was an orphan. Yet, she became the queen of all Persia. She could have simply been happy to be in a position of power and extreme comfort. However, she was confronted with a problem: Haman wanted to exterminate her people. In one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible, her cousin Mordecai tells her: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 2:14). In the end, it didn’t really matter what Esther did or didn’t do; God would have cause His will to be done. He didn’t need Esther to do it for Him. What an amazing opportunity though, that she could be part of God’s ultimate plan. She could be God’s tool, the person He used to accomplish amazing things! Who wouldn’t want that? And that is exactly what she did. (If you don’t know the story, read the book of Esther, it’s a great one!)
My goal was to be like one of these great people, and countless others in scripture: those that rose to the occasion. I wanted to grow to a place where God could use my life to bless others. That is exactly what He accomplished through my “year of yes.”
I learned so much about myself in one year. I found out that I am an awesome event planner and that while I’m not the best writer in the world, it is another great way to share my passion for Scripture with others. I learned that while I’m a great ladies class and teen girl teacher, I’m not great at the little kids’ classes… and that’s okay. I also learned that I can cook and bring things to funeral meals and potlucks-they don’t have to be perfect. However, I am not the best one to organize meals. In short, I learned some great new strengths and I also learned some of my limitations.
Throughout that year, my life changed more than I could have ever imagined. I am in a completely different place than I could previously see myself and my faith is stronger than ever. I have been so blessed to be a part of so many people’s lives that I would never have gotten to know had I stayed in my own tiny, comfortable box. So at this time of year, as the world starts to make resolutions and goals, I will challenge you to say yes to just one thing that would normally be out of your comfort zone, something that you would normally never even consider doing. I promise that if you rise to the challenges that God puts in your life, you will grow into a person you never imagined you could be. And after all, who wouldn’t want that?