The Root of My “Yes” Problem

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I’ve done it again.

I’ve done it again. I’ve given far more of my time than I have to give. I’ve said yes, not one too many times, but so many times that I don’t even want to count. I have a yes problem. So here I am again telling myself, “just get through this week. Then you can relax.” Followed by, “maybe I should tell the worship leader can’t help this week.” And then, “no, just get through this week. Then everything will be back to normal.”

Normal!?! What is normal?

I’ll tell you what my normal is. Making up my mind to keep my schedule comfortable. Then without even realizing I’m doing it, filling it with more tasks than I can handle. Why? Because at my core I am selfish.

At my core I am selfish.

Now, I realize that statement about being selfish may not make immediate sense. Maybe in your mind selfish people say no and hoard their time. Perhaps the selfish people you know are material-driven and collect things. Maybe the selfish people in your life are energy suckers who demand to be the relationship center. Yes, I’d agree that selfish people can be like that. However, in my case my selfishness manifests itself differently.

I say yes because I want the person I’m saying yes to to think highly of me. I want to be appreciated. I wanted to be valued. I want to be loved and adored. And if I say yes, well, then I’m proving I deserve to be appreciated. I’m showing how valuable, lovable, and down right adorable I am. My selfish self is hoping the other person will come to the conclusion that “Boy, Kelli sure does a lot around here. We better keep her around.”

Now, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with longing to be appreciated, valued, loved and adored. But where I turn to find my worth is very important. I’ve been turning to the wrong place. I’ve been turning to people, not Jesus. And this is the root of my “yes” problem.

Do my motives matter?

Now, there is part of me that thinks that maybe my motivation for saying yes isn’t a big deal. When I say yes to someone and actually follow through, then I’m being helpful. And helpful is good, right? Yes, helpful is good, but… honestly I’m not all that helpful.

511tofxnmolLysa TerKeurst, in her book The Best Yes, puts it this way, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.” In other words, every time I say yes to a request of my time, I have to say no to another request of my time. It’s a pure natural consequence. I can’t be in two places at once and I know from experience that I am NOT a productive multitasker. I can spread myself so thin that I can’t do anything well. Which often leads to me neglect the most important people in my life. By saying yes to one person (or twenty!) I am actually saying no to others.

And who are these other people I end up saying no to?

They are the people closest to me. They are the ones I claim to love dearly and deeply.  They are the ones I say I’d give anything to spend more time with. They are my husband, my children, my friends, and other family members. When I get so bogged down with never-ending to-do lists I don’t have time to be with my loved ones. I might not say no to them out loud, but I say it with my actions.

My actions speak louder than words.

My absence from their lives speaks louder than any yes or no I could ever verbalize.

So, what do I do with the realization that my true motive behind saying “yes” is purely selfish? I repent. I turn to God. I acknowledge that my yeses are self-serving and not motivated by love. I confess that my yeses are sinful — that I am sinful. And I trust. I trust that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Oh Lord in heaven, I long to be cleansed of this unrighteousness. Thank You for showing me my true motives. Thank You for showing me that my “yes” problem affects my loved ones. Please fill me with Your love for others. Help me to remember that You already find me valuable. Help me to remember that You have already gone to the greatest length “to keep (me) around.” Forgive me for trying to prove my worth to others instead of resting in You. I ask that each time I am presented with an opportunity to say yes, You would remind me to bring the decision to You. I want Your direction. I want Your wisdom. I want to obey You. I want to love You and the those around me well. I cannot do this without resting in Your presence. In the name of Your Son I pray. Amen.


What about you, ladies? Do you have a “yes” problem? Are your true motives like mine? How do you keep from spreading yourself too thin? How do you prevent yourself from being absent from the lives of those you love most? I’d love to hear what you think. Leave me a comment or contact me privately.

Only by grace,

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There is nothing wrong with longing 2b appreciated, valued, loved & adored. But where I turn to find my worth is very important. Click To Tweet What do I do with the realization that my true motive behind saying “yes” is purely selfish? Click To Tweet

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