The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

by Lysa TerKeurst

ISBN: 9781400205851

Publisher Thomas Nelson

Published in Religion & Spirituality

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Book Description

Learn to find and play the role God wants most for you to play, not the ones you feel pressured into playing for the sake of others or even our sense of accomplishment and worth. Most of us spend a lot of our lives figuring out when to say yes and when to say no. How to manage our time, reduce stress, do our best for our families, find a little space for "me". But we don't find space for our souls until we learn to step past the yes and no of daily decisions and seek a third option: the best yes. The best yes is the choice that shapes all our other choices. It's what allows us to play our necessary parts in God's plan, to spend our energy and focus our passion on the assignments that really are ours.

How do we learn to say that best yes? It requires honesty. Imagination. Attention. Trust. Humility. Practice - lots of practice. And wisdom. The best yes is really all about wisdom - learning to make truly wise decisions. And that's the heart of this book. "I want us to become powerfully effective decision makers," writes Lysa Terkeurst. "Because then we will live powerfully effective lives. And spend our souls doing powerfully effective work to the glory of God." With her signature mix of transparency, Scripture-laced insight, and "been there" humor, she suggests usable strategies for choosing wisely and encourages us all to shout and whisper our own best yes to life, day by decision-making day.


Sample Chapter

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. We 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 too long.

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 there is.

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 time."

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 please.

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 church.

At school.

At work.

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 bags.

"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 giving money.

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 invitation.

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.


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 God?

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 hill."

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! (30:15–18)


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.
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