It was November 2015. A gentle warm light poured in through the large windows behind us. Worship started and ended with bright hopes and serene tunes, lunch was delicious, and the day was only starting.
I listened intently to our speaker, Ms Rhiza Oyos, the founder of Pursuit Manila under Pursuit Community. It was my first time to attend one of their events upon the kind invitation of a dear friend, Denise.
She was sharing about a wise woman from the Bible, and she knew of her story through Lysa TerKeurst‘s The Best Yes book. This was how I was first introduced to this work that would eventually help me get my decision-making better.
Although I have purchased it last December 2015, I only started reading and finished it this May 2017. I’m the kind who believes that a book’s best impact on you is when you read it at a time you may need its story the most.
Because of personal matters and present circumstances, I decided this January to be a freelance artist/illustrator/graphic designer. I researched, took down notes, did my daily journals and timeframes, uploaded works and launched my own website for my portfolio, launched my RedBubble shop, and got to work with a few clients.
I also have started another business on health, wellness, personal care, and beauty.
On top of these, I have other passions like cooking, baking, drawing, writing, blogging, and one time, I was even pretty close to signing up to a pottery class! I prepared my list of merchandise to work on and other projects I could do as an artist as well. I wanted to do all these things, but I distinctly remember how my Mom and Dad would tell me that I had too much that I wanted to do.
“Sa dami mong gustong gawin, wala kang matatapos.” (You have a lot of things you want to do – you won’t be able to finish any!)
And it’s true.
I was overwhelmed with all that was asking for space in my schedule and my many wants, and I was underwhelmed with my lack of understanding (or lack of asking for God’s guidance?) of God’s purpose for our lives and in aligning our choices to His will. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good – what are we toiling towards, who are we working for, why were we busy? Also, my worries elicited questions like what kind of yes am I giving to God, my Busy/Burnt-out/Ballistically Beaten Up yes or my Best Yes?
So I picked up Lysa TerKeurst’s book and started reading earlier this year. It was this season of my life that her writings can breathe a little clarity and organization to my calendar and disarrayed desires. Because of the possibilities where I could be as an artist and a starting entrepreneur, it’s safe to say my heart and mind were clueless as to what direction to head towards.
Decision-making was a task that wasn’t easy for me to do.
In reading The Best Yes, my objective was to make decisions with wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word.
Before I read the book, my time and project management and efforts for my passions were all over the place; however, when I’ve finished and went back through the lessons and lines I highlighted or marked, I can say that I’m much more equipped in making my decisions every day.
The author shared her personal stories as examples and along with them are passages from Scripture from where we can retrieve understanding from. I appreciate her collecting all key points too from each chapter and placed them all at the back of the book, so we can retrace our steps there whenever we are faced with a dilemma again.
Some of her stories came from a place of disappointment, humiliation, and vulnerability too, so it was easy for me to relate to her as I worry too about these negative things.
I wonder often about God’s purpose for our lives. Do we truly have one particular path that we can say is His best? Or can we be in a path where we might have not dreamed of for ourselves, but our efforts can still be adjoined to His will and truth?
I worry about my decisions too, fearing that the results of my decisions may not be where He intends me to be.
But then, there is no perfect place for us to be in.
In all our choices, we can’t say that everything will be good or bad. Or that there is a clear cut path just for us.
Working at Pixar Animation Studios or hopefully Tonko House… these are big dreams of mine, but sometimes I wonder, maybe it’s not the path I am meant to take, no matter how much I resonate with their works and how much I will truly pour my heart out in my contributions for the films. And it saddens me to see a dream like this birthed since high school not be an apparent reality for me in this lifetime. (But I’m still hoping it could be realized. Haha!)
It could be because of our circumstances, the timing, or we could still be in a season of preparation – I can’t pinpoint, but I guess it boils down to giving glory to God wherever we may find ourselves.
This isn’t just about being in employment, in self-employment, in business, or in ministry, but in the other areas and roles in our lives. In the kitchen, in church, in the office, in the marketplace, in commute. As a a child, as a daughter, as a friend, as an employee, as a business owner, as a mother, as a father.
There are many Best Yes opportunities for us – it’s not just this one grand thing that we must accomplish. It is up to us to find which are those that we think the Holy Spirit may be prompting us to take.
A Best Yes can be in the form of staying home with your parents because you haven’t had a meaningful talk and quality time with them lately rather than going out with your officemates who you see everyday.
A Best Yes can be in the form of sending a message to an old friend as a way to restart your friendship again.
A Best Yes can be as simple too as choosing wisely in what food to order; remember, the calories you take up now in excess will be the calories you need to burn tomorrow. Haha!
It’s a Best Yes, because you feel in your heart, and you’ve set it against the foundational truths of God’s Word. This is good, this glorifies God, and this will help someone in need, regardless whether in a small or big way.
This book has definitely helped me (Thank you, Ms Rhiza of Chasing Dreams for sharing the book with us, and of course to the author, Lysa TerKeurst!) dig deeper in attuning our decision-making to Scripture, in using my yes and no more wisely (especially the ‘no,’ because I can be driven sometimes to just doing something just to please people or that I wouldn’t want to disappoint someone by turning down a proposal or request).
Additionally, I also learned about the fixed and growth mindset (I learned this too from my Mom earlier this year!), in considering all aspects (emotional, spiritual, mental, financial, relational, mental, physical) when weighing resources and options, and that the tenets of decision-making aren’t to be observed and applied individually but rather connectively.
Like what Lysa TerKeurst said in the last few chapters of the book, you have all the ingredients, but you have to stir them all. Only then can you produce a cake that’s well-baked – only then can you earn the good fruit of the outcomes of the efforts you put in decision-making.
Without the foundational truths, how can you know when to say yes or no? Without the growth mindset, how can you move past your insecurities which are where you’ve chained your identity to?
All these are related.
Whatever we did yesterday determines the circumstances of today. Whatever we choose today, it will be the circumstances of tomorrow, I have relearned from the book as well.
I recommend this book to anyone who was like me who had lots of areas of interest that I wanted to pursue, who feels like she’s having a burnout or is just overwhelmed and stressed with many demands, who is currently clueless as to what direction he wants to go to, and who wants to learn more about wise decision-making.
Change and choice aren’t always easy, unless we are deciding where to eat dinner or what to wear for an event next week.
But may we pursue God’s guidance and His grace along with the counsel of people we love and trust who have wisdom and experience in making our decisions and living out our goals and dreams.
Change and choice aren’t always easy, yes, but they should be good.
In the words of C.S. Lewis which Lysa TerKeurst also shared in the book:
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”
May our decisions and actions reflect goodness, our belief in ourselves, our trust in the people who teach and discipline us, and our faith in God’s strength, guidance, and unceasing love.
May our Best Yes be good.