When Possible, Say Yes!

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This month, we’ve been focusing on the word YES.

Unfortunately, yes has become a dirty word for many working moms.  Some of us think we don’t have time for yes.  Yet saying NO by default can be self-limiting and even create barriers at home and at work.

Last year, a Supreme Court Justice challenged me to say yes, even when it’s hard at work.  Similarly, as a young adult, I received some powerful advice — about saying yes — from a respected Christian leader.  I commented on how wonderful he and his wife had raised their five children.  I asked him his secret.

His answer surprised me.

“We don’t have lots of rules.  When possible, we try to tell our kids YES.”

He went on to explain that he and his wife save NO for issues that involve safety, health, and morality.  They didn’t have trivial rules, artificial bedtimes, or heavy chores.  They didn’t have complicated discipline charts and behavioral point systems.  They tried to keep it simple.  They tried to say yes when possible.  And I’ve never forgotten his advice.

Now that I have a teenage son (and two daughters who aren’t far behind him), it’s tempting to just say NO by default.  You can’t stay out past 10:30.  You can’t listen to that kind of music.  You can’t have a new iPhone.  You can’t watch that movie.  

He is hearing no all too often.  No is easy.  No is safe.  No gives him necessary boundaries.

But I don’t want to become a mom of no.  So I have to work hard to say yes to the little things.  Even when it’s inconvenient.  I must admit, it’s easier to say yes to my daughters.  It’s easy to say yes to little things — to braid their hair, paint their nails, or lie in bed with them for five minutes. But a teenage boy is different.  So I have to work even harder to say yes.  It usually revolves around food.  Like on Saturday night when Nick wants to make bacon at 11:00 p.m.   This is the last thing I want to do.  I’m tired.  I want to go to bed.  The kitchen will be a greasy mess, and I’ll be cleaning until midnight.

But bacon at midnight is not a moral fight.  It’s not going to kill me (or him).  It might even be fun.   So I get out the frying pan, albeit reluctantly, and I turn on the stove.  I remind myself to follow my own advice:  when possible, say yes!

He said it was the best bacon he’d had in a long time.

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Do you try to say YES when possible?  When’s the last time you had bacon at midnight? 

 

 

Working Moms: No Time For Yes?

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This month – February 2015 – we are focusing on a single word:  YES.

Last week, we talked about whether yes has become a dirty word.  This week, we are backing up and asking ourselves a fundamental question:  do we really have time to say yes?

In other words, how can we even have a conversation about saying yes when we don’t have the time?

Instead of empathizing with you — instead of telling you that I know how busy you are, I have walked in your shoes, and I understand you can’t put one more thing on your plate — I’m going to make you mad.  Really mad.  I’m going to say something that we don’t want to hear.

We’re not as busy as we think we are.  Let’s stop complaining about not having enough time to do the things that are really important.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  

There, I said it.  Someone had to say it!  Let’s face it, too many working moms are whining and complaining about not having enough time for the things that are really important – spending time with our kids, investing in our marriages, pursuing a deeper relationship with God.

Every time we whine, we need to stop ourselves and pray.

God, give me wisdom.  You have given me a full life, and I have some tough decisions to make with my time.  Thank you that I’m not bored! Show me how and where to say YES so that I can live the life that you intended .

Are we lacking time, or are we lacking wisdom?  Most days, “yes” becomes a feeling instead of a decision.  Just look at my family on Sunday mornings.  It’s like moving a mountain just to get us to church.    It all starts with me.  I sleep in later than I should.  I think I have more time than I do.  We stayed up too late on Saturday night.  Teenagers like to sleep in.  They beg me for five more minutes.  I give in.  Pretty soon we are running late.  Pretty soon, we have allowed our yes to become no.  It’s not intentional.  We have the time.  We are lacking wisdom, and we allow our feelings to dictate our decision.

We all have time for the things that are important. The truth is, I have lots of time. God knew what He was doing when He put twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and 365 days in a year. In fact, according to some studies, our generation has more disposable time than any generation in history. We may choose to book our schedules with more stuff than our parents ever dreamed of—like long days at the office, kids’ activities every night of the week, and social calendars that give us new photos to post on Facebook—but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean we have less time.

[excerpts from Chasing Superwoman p. 188]

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Do you find yourself complaining that you don’t have enough hours in the day?  That there is no time for YES?   Will you join me instead in praying for wisdom?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Moms: Is Yes A Dirty Word?

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Every month in 2015, I am focusing on a different word.

The word for February 2015 is simple:  YES.

Wait a minute, what happened to NO?  After all, if you’re a working mom, the word no probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Most of us need to draw some serious boundaries.  Yes has become a dirty word.  A word that we dread.  A word that we regret saying once it leaves our lips.  A word that has become negative despite its positive meaning.

So why on earth am I writing about YES for an entire month?

It’s simple.  We need to start saying yes first.  We need to start saying yes to the things that are really important.  

Ok, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than it sounds.  I’ll admit, I really don’t have this whole yes/no thing figured out.  But I do know that I’ve probably had it backwards.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

Most weeks, I let my schedule fill up with lots of “stuff.”  Most of this stuff is good — ranging from work, school, activities, exercise – but at the end of the week I find myself asking, What did I really accomplish?

I’m not suggesting that my daily routine isn’t productive or worthy of my time.  I am suggesting it’s not always intentional.

And this year – when my schedule like yours frequently blazes out of control – I want to be intentional.  So, how does this translate into saying yes?

Stick with me in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on our foundation:  God is a God of YES.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  (2 Corinthians 1:20) (NLT)

This is an amazing promise indeed.  Every time we pray – every time we say “amen” — we are saying YES to God.

If we start with this foundation, yes becomes the good word it was intended to be.

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Have you allowed yes to become a dreaded word – even a dirty word – in your vocabulary?  

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present in Your Relationship With God

Working Mom's Devotional

This January, we’ve focused on one word:  PRESENT

For most of us, being present doesn’t come naturally.  It’s takes hard work, discipline, and putting others before ourselves.

While I’m working on being present at home at work and with people, I still struggle being present in my most important relationship.  My relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that God is always with me.  But even though I know this to be true, I go through moments, hours, and even days where I barely acknowledge him.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

For years, Christians have been trying to figure out how to connect their daily work with their faith.  From Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God to Jesus Calling (check out the January 28 entry this week), we long to connect the spiritual with the ordinary.  We long to feel God’s presence, even though we know he is there.

Most evenings, I tuck my daughters in bed (ages 8 and 11).  After we read and say prayers, they beg me to lay down with them.  Even when it’s too late and I’m too tired, I usually give in.  So we all pile in the same bed, and I lie between them for about 5 minutes.  It’s 5 minutes of pure bliss.  Even though we’ve been together most of the evening, we need this time to really connect.  Last night, I said to them “You know, this is the best 5 minutes of my day.”  And I really meant it.

I’m trying to approach my relationship with God — being truly present — the same way.  Even though we’ve been together all day, I haven’t really given him my undivided attention.  Sarah Young describes it like this:

When My Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place. As you gaze at Me through the eyes of your heart, you can see the world around you from My perspective. The fact that I am with you makes every moment of your life meaningful.  (Jesus Calling, January 28.)

Do you struggle feeling God’s presence throughout your day?  How are you working to be present in your most important relationship? 

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And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20

Working Moms: Do You Blow Off People You Don’t Know?

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For the month of January 2015, we’re focused on a single word:  PRESENT.

So far, we talked about being present at home and being present at work.  But what about being present with people we don’t even know?  Does it really matter if we are attentive and engaged with strangers?

The short answer is yes.  People matter to God, and they should matter to us – whether we know them or not.  But this is tough to do. Really tough. If you’re like me, you’re already overextended and maxed out with home, work, and everything in between.  It’s so much easier to “zone out” with people we don’t know,

Case in point? The check-out line.

More often than not, I don’t make eye contact in the check-out line.  Instead, I am talking to my kids, talking on my phone, or disengaging for a rare, unplugged moment.  This past Christmas, I was completely and totally ignoring a sales clerk in the check-out line at T.J. Maxx.  He had been trying to have a conversation with me, but I was stonewalling him.  So he called me out.

“Ma’m,” he said.  “Can you at least say goodbye?”

I was ashamed and embarrassed.  Especially when my 8-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, why did he say that to you?”

So this week, I’m focusing on making eye contact  — being present — with strangers.   I can think of at least two good reasons:  1)  I want to show my kids that people matter; 2) I might be talking to an angel without knowing it.

Do you zone out in the check-out line?  What can you do to be PRESENT with someone you don’t know this week? 

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Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)