Check the Third Box
DRIVE-THRU ORDERING AND MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER are a bad combination.
Brooke can do many things in life. She's an amazing, beautiful,
talented, witty, kind-hearted girl. Who is amazing. I believe I might
have mentioned that already. But she panics at the drive-thru box.
Even if we've talked about getting her order in mind beforehand,
something always goes haywire. She takes way too long to give me her
order. She changes things even after I start placing her order. She
confuses the poor order taker who isn't making enough money per hour to
deal with people like us.
I feel so awful, like we are breaking drive-thru rules. I know we're
aggravating the people behind us. The cars aren't honking, but I can
feel their stares and glares and the desire for us to hurry up. The
tension mounts to where I know a honk is coming any minute now, I just
know it is. I'd pull out of line and circle back around if I could, but
you can't at this drive-thru. There are poles in the ground to keep
traffic flowing correctly, so once you commit to going through this
drive-thru line, you are committed. Even if your daughter can't decide.
Even if the line behind you now is wrapping around the building. Even if
the order taker is secretly wishing you'd go away. You can't. I can't.
I sweat. And start smelling like onions. The kind of onion smell coming
from a deodorant fail. Seriously. All from our drive-thru order taking
I keep saying the next time it happens I'm going to look straight at her
with all the love a mama tired of smelling like onions can muster up and
say, "Give me your order now or I'm leaving." Just tell the girl at the
box we are so sorry but we have no order so we'll be circling around to
the place where we can pull out of line and then leave.
Just pull away.
Drive her home to eat dreaded leftovers. Or toast. Or nothing. Because
she's got to learn this lesson!
And here's the thing that really baffles me—the drive-thru
restaurant we go to most often? Her dad runs it. As in, she's been going
to this place her whole life. From day one in utero she's been nourished
by the homemade goods from this eating establishment. And the choices of
menu items? She likes just about everything at this restaurant. I've
seen her eat and enjoy many, many things on the menu. So I know that no
matter what she chooses, she'll enjoy her meal.
But still she's paralyzed when it's time to order.
Because she doesn't want to pull away from that drivethru, get a few
miles down the road and a few bites into her meal and wish she'd made a
different choice. It's not that she'll think what she ordered is bad,
it's just that she'll feel the tension of realizing she missed the best
choice. And we girls don't like feeling we missed out. Or messed up. Or
misstepped right out of what should have been or what could have been.
* * *
As I think about that frantic drive-thru frustration from her not being
able to make a decision, I am challenged to be honest about my own
struggles with decisions.
I exhale and some unfiltered honesty rushes in.
I struggle with decisions too. I don't want to miss out on
opportunities, mess up relationships by disappointing people, or misstep
right out of God's will. I struggle with keeping some sense of balance
in my life. I struggle with worrying about what others think of my
decisions. I struggle with wondering if my inability to do it all will
make my kids wind up on a therapist's couch one day. I struggle with
feeling like I can't quite figure out how other women seem to do it all.
I struggle with feeling like I'm going to let God down. Descriptions
ping in my head: I'm tired. I'm distracted. I'm disappointed in
myself. I feel slightly used and more than slightly used up. I'm a
little overwhelmed and a lot worn down.
These are thoughts I share only with myself. Partly because I'm a
positive person and these threads of admission feel too dark. And I much
prefer cheery yellow to gloomy gray. Also I hesitate to share because I
can't figure out how to fix these things, so why even bring them up? In
the daily sea of endless demands, I must admit I'm not doing so well. So
I put pen to paper and dare to explore this topic as an author who needs
this message most of all.
This time is hard for me. Admission instead of omission.
Admitting that I sometimes need to reevaluate. A few minutes to whisper,
"God, I really want to do life right. So I give and serve and love and
do and sacrifice. I do it all with a happy heart, an open checkbook, a
calendar dedicated to being Your girl. I study Your Word. I tuck truth
in my heart and as a trembling, brave one, I determine to charge upward
and forward each day."
And yet there's this nagging sense that something's a bit off inside me.
Someone makes a request of me that I know right away is unrealistic. My
brain says no. My schedule says no. My reality says no. But my heart
says yes! Then my mouth betrays my intention of saying no, as it smiles
and says, "Yes, of course."
I dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no. I dread saying yes not
because I don't love that person. I love them very much. But I dread
what saying yes will do to the already-running-on-empty me.
And I keep on marching as if this is the way a Christian woman is
supposed to live, as if this is the call on my life, as if this is all
I misuse the two most powerful words, yes and no. I slap
purpose across the face and stomp calling into the ground as I blindly
live at the mercy of the requests of others that come my way each day.
Every assignment feels like my assignment.
You need me? You got me. Because I'm too scared or too cowardly or too
busy or too something to just be honest and say, "I can't this
In this great day when most women wave banners of authenticity about our
pasts, we crouch back from honesty about our presents. We'll tell you
all about our broken places of yesterday but don't dare admit the
limitations of our today.
All the while the acid of overactivity eats holes in our souls. And from
those holes leaks the cry of the unfulfilled calling that never quite
happened. We said yes to so much that we missed what I call our "Best
Yes" assignments—simply because we didn't heed the warning of the
whispers within that subtle space.
I'm tired. I'm distracted. I'm disappointed in myself. I feel
slightly used and more than slightly used up. I'm a little overwhelmed
and a lot worn down.
We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please. And
it's not just because of the vicious cycles of people pleasing, although
that's part of it. I miss Best Yes opportunities sometimes because I
simply don't know they're part of the equation. I get all twisted up in
making the decision to check either the Yes or No box, not realizing
there is a third box that reads Best Yes.
We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to
What is a Best Yes, you ask. We'll unpack this throughout the book. But
in its most basic form, a Best Yes is you playing your part.
At wherever you are today.
And what's so great about that? In God's plan, you've got a part to
play. If you know it and believe it, you'll live it. You'll live your
life making decisions with the Best Yes as your best filter. You'll be a
grand display of God's Word lived out. Your undistracted love will make
your faith ring true. Your wisdom will help you make decisions that will
still be good tomorrow. And you'll be alive and present for all of it.
A Best Yes is you playing your part. If you know it and believe it
you'll live it.
Are you ready to begin asking, What is my Best Yes?
Me too. I just need to wrap up this little situation at the drive-thru
first. Any suggestions for a stronger deodorant? I have a feeling I'm
going to need that.
The Way of the Best Yes
LAST CHRISTMAS I WAS DISTRACTED AS I OFTEN AM DURING the holidays. Every
year I say I'm going to get better about scaling back so I can really
keep my focus where it needs to be for the season. I have moments where
I do this well. But I have other moments that are just plain pitiful.
Honestly, I can be an utter nincompoop.
I was rushing about, frustrated. I went to Target for wrapping paper and
somehow left the store having spent ninety-seven dollars on who knows
what. Then got all the way home before I realized I left the wrapping
paper on that little shelf underneath the shopping cart. At checkout I
didn't remember to grab it and purchase it. So all my moments of trying
to match this and that to keep up with expectations in this
Pinterest-crazed world were all for nothing.
Now I'd be using recycled Happy Birthday bags—wrinkled and well
past their prime—for the gifts that needed to be wrapped right
this second or we were going to be late for the Christmas party. And
then—oh my, glory heavens—I remembered I was supposed to
bring cookies to said party.
A-M last names were supposed to bring appetizers.
N-Z last names were supposed to bring desserts.
Desperation found me digging in my pantry, emerging with some Easter
chocolates shaped like eggs and wrapped in pastel foil. I'll call
them chocolate ornaments, I rationalized.
While all this was happening, my husband, Art, kept saying something to
me about wanting to give money to one of his employees.
"We'll have to talk about that later," I snapped back, aggravated that
he thought this moment of rushed panic was a good time to bring up
giving. My brain went off on this tangent of thoughts about how I give
and give and give and give and sometimes just get sick and tired of
giving. So now I'm bringing Easter candy to a Christmas party I don't
even want to go to with presents wrapped in birthday-balloon-covered
"Mom, why did you wrap the gifts that way?" The teenager with her hand
on her hip had no clue how close I was to seriously canceling Christmas.
Not just this party. But the whole December 25 situation.
"Oh, you don't even know the half of it. We're also bringing Easter
candy for our dessert. And if you say one critical comment about my
obviously brilliant party-attending skills, we won't go. You hear me?
Not one more word. Now go get in the car, and let's pretend like we're
happy to be going to this party."
And then my husband said something else about not being able to wait to
talk about the money needed to help his employee, and I snapped back
once again, "I don't want to help."
You know that wonderful feeling of conviction that says without a doubt
you are the worst human on the planet? Like if they were handing out
certificates for "worst person," you would own the title for this moment
in history? That would have been my moment.
I was so caught up in the rush of superficial things in my world that I
missed hearing the cries for help in someone else's world. God had been
prompting me to listen, really listen, to my husband, to stop and focus
and give him just a few minutes. But I refused. I rushed past. And I
acted like I was perfectly justified in doing so.
My husband was requesting money for a precious family I hadn't met yet.
The wife had just started working in the kitchen at my husband's
restaurant. They were from another country and didn't speak English.
This made it difficult to let others know about their need for help.
They didn't have many friends here. And they had just been through the
most tragic event of their lives. They'd had a daughter born in late
spring with many complications. And just that morning she'd lost the
battle for her life.
While I was stressed about leaving my wrapping paper at Target, a friend
of this mom called my husband to ask for help to pay for a funeral.
When I finally clued in to what my husband was talking about, I felt so
horribly convicted. It wasn't just about being too busy, it was also
about my closed-fisted reaction when I knew he wanted to talk about
I can just be so flat-out rebellious sometimes.
Just that morning I'd been praying and asking God to show Himself to me.
I asked the God of the universe to intersect my life with His
revelation, then got up from my prayers and forgot to look. Forgot to
seek Him. Forgot to keep my heart in tune with His voice and His
All because of the chaotic rush of my day.
When all of life feels like an urgent rush from one demand to another,
we become forgetful. We forget simple things like where we put our car
keys or that one crucial ingredient for dinner when we run into the
grocery store. But even more disturbing, we forget God. We say with our
mouths that we are trusting and relying on God, but are we really?
A quick check to see if this is true is our ability to notice what God
wants us to notice and our willingness to participate when God invites
us to participate.
DON'T MISS YOUR ASSIGNMENT
I have to admit, I rush and miss God's invitations a lot. I walked by a
woman at church today with pale skin and a bald head. A quick stirring
in my heart said, Go say hi. I brushed it off.
I saw a discarded cup in the parking lot of the restaurant where I had
lunch. I knew I was supposed to pick it up and throw it away. I walked
right by it.
For two weeks now I have felt this prodding to have my daughter's
friends over for a special dinner and Bible study night. I have yet to
talk to her about it or set a date.
These were all simple acts of obedience I missed. But not missed because
I was unaware. They were missed because I was busy—caught in the
rush of endless demands. And the rush makes us rebellious. I knew what
to do and blatantly ignored it.
Ignoring God's leading doesn't seem like such a big deal in these cases.
In the grand scheme of the world, how big a thing is it that I didn't
pick up that cup? After all, how can I be sure it was really God?
I think a better question would be, How can I be sure it wasn't
If we are to be Best Yes girls, we have to long for unbroken
companionship with God. The cup was a little deal unless it was me
breaking away from obeying His instruction. The one who obeys God's
instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for
tomorrow. I'm always asking God for direction, but I'll miss it if I
constantly ignore His instruction.
The one who obeys God's instruction for today will develop a keen
awareness of His direction for tomorrow.
It's in those little breaks in our companionship with God where
confusion sets in about what we're really supposed to do. Remember in
chapter 1 where I said we must not confuse the command to love with the
disease to please? Not being able to hear God's direction is the exact
spot where this confusion gets so many of us in trouble.
Have you ever heard that amazing verse from Isaiah that says, "Whether
you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind
you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'" (30:21)?
I love this verse! I want it to be true for me! I want my ears to hear
God say, "This is the way; walk in it."
I want that with every fiber of my being. Don't you? Can you imagine how
much angst and pain we could save ourselves if we were really that in
tune with God?
It is possible. But there's a process involved. Let's consider that
verse within its historical context. In verses 15-18, God is speaking
sternly to the leaders of Israel for turning to Egypt and other pagan
nations as military alliances instead of seeking His help:
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is
your strength, but you would have none of it.
You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.' Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.' Therefore your pursuers
will be swift!
A thousand will flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you will all flee away,
till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to
show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Excerpted from "The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands" by Lysa TerKeurst. Copyright © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.