Where "Yes" Can Take You
Without fail, every time I try to get my husband Garrett to try a new food, he looks at me like I’m crazy then says, “Kelly, I’m a Presbyterian… I don’t try new things.”
And as much as it frustrates me that he refuses to try artichokes, I kind of have to respect his opinion. Old Presbyterian “frozen chosen” jokes aside, I don’t like to try new things either.
I’m sure I’m not alone on this. Other than a couple of “adventurous years” in each of our lives, how often do we say “yes” to something new?
This aversion to “yes” is not necessarily a bad thing. As Brent reminded us last week, boundaries are really important, self-care is really important, and our society is suffering from the constant push to over-schedule. So how does a healthy person balance the importance of saying “no” to unnecessary and unhealthy commitments while remaining open to experiencing joy from new experiences?
More simply, how do we know when we should say “yes” to something new?
I find my usual reasons for passing on something new can be summed up as: fear of the unknown, a lack of spontaneity, laziness, and fear of what I may lose.
There can be losses involved with new experiences, including loss of time, energy, pride, money, and whatever else you’re giving up to make this new thing possible. And of course, you might hate it… but it could just as easily be one of those awesome life changing experiences.
(Like agreeing to go on a date with your nerdy co-worker, who later becomes your stubborn husband who REFUSES TO TRY ARTICHOKES!)
How do I, or any of us, figure out what’s worth our time?
Dani DiPirro’s weekly blog about living in the moment, Positively Present, offers these tips for discernment on “When to Say Yes (Even When No Seems Easier)”:
1. To experience something new or different... Saying "yes" doesn't always lead to new or exciting things, but it can. And staying in the same routine day after day, saying "no" to invitations and offers, is pretty unlikely to lead you to anything new or different.
2. To find unexpected opportunities.
3. To overcome fear and insecurity... Every "yes" is a step away from fear and toward the freedom of feeling comfortable in any situation. Saying "yes" (even when it's a scary thing to say) is basically the same thing as saying "no" to fear, doubt, and insecurity.
4. To meet new people and future friends!... So many friendships begin on the basis of random coincidence. You never know who will be on the other end of that "yes."
5. To venture outside of comfort zones. Much as you might love your comfort zone (I sure love mine!) venturing outside of it can do a lot of good. It keeps you mentally sharp, teaches you new life lessons, and introduces you to things you might someday consider comforts.
If you need more encouragement, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
You can’t renew your minds by doing the same old things.
If you really want to stay sharp physically, mentally, and even spiritually, you have to add new things into the mix. You can always say later, “It just wasn’t my thing.”
Trying new things can be good for your faith and relationship with God. Comfortable is good, stagnant is not.
So take a look at your life and see if you can try something new, to experience a new opportunity, to overcome insecurity, or to meet new people. Sign up to teach Sunday School on a temporary basis, take lessons in something fun, take a different route to work, or give the funny looking vegetable a try.
It might become your new favorite.