The bookstore is flooded with self-help titles urging us (women especially) to only say “YES” to the most valuable things in life that play to our strengths. While I’m a huge proponent of limiting the things that eat up our time and headspace, only agreeing to do what make us feel valued and happy is complete nonsense. I never once felt valued and happy while changing a dirty diaper! I don’t get a thrill out of feeding the dog or my human family, for that matter, but when someone asks me to feed them, I do it. We serve because it’s a vital part of family life, and it’s equally vital to the wellness of a community as a whole.
Failing to say “yes” to something we CAN do, whether or not we derive joy from the task, blocks blessing for someone else. Planning parties and games for a room of children is SO not my idea of a good time, but if my child’s teacher needs a room mom, she needs a room mom. There may not be someone else stepping up who just loves to do it or is financially capable of taking over the role like some books and speakers would have us believe. Saying no doesn’t always give a more qualified candidate a chance to fill in; it blocks the joy of the intended recipients.
Furthermore, when we only say YES to things we love and are good at, we never grow! If you say yes to one thing, you only continue to be good at that one thing. And how narrow do we want our little worlds to be that we would only choose to bless a specific group in a specific way?
I am terrible at all things sports. It’s embarrassing sometimes how truly bad I am at throwing and catching balls. But my youngest keeps asking me to throw the football or to shoot hoops. We laugh and have a great time together, and I’d like to think that catching passes off the world’s worst quarterback somehow helps him become a better player. I mean, it COULD be true.
Don’t deny other people joy and hope because your “yes” would inconvenience you, or may even cause you some stress that could easily be avoided if you bow out. Be the salt and light the world needs to see, and be open to growing and becoming a more well-rounded, selfless individual because you dared to be the YES someone else needs.