Finding Your Best Yes: What I Learned in a Season of NO


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I am a yes girl through and through. Yes, I can help with that project. Yes, I can volunteer those hours. Yes, I can come to that meeting.

Yes, yes, always yes.

In an effort to constantly stay at the top of the game, or at least appear to be, I have said yes to more than I could handle, committed to more than my plate could hold and promised more of myself than I was certain even existed. I have perpetuated this by being a world class juggler, a full speed ahead, “I can do it all just watch me” type of woman. Then finally this year, fueled by doing more and being more, my balancing act began to feel unbearably heavy. It was like all of the pieces could no longer find their place and they were coming apart at the seams.

My youngest started school full time this fall and in what I had anticipated being a green light season to accomplish all my hands could fill, I found a profound sadness. I expected the heartbreak of those first fall days, leaving my little guy to a classroom of new faces and the settling in of a new schedule for us all. I expected the right of passage at hand and learning to navigate new waters. What I did not expect was a feeling of emptiness in the middle of my 100 mile an hour ambition. All of the sudden, the realization of how vacant I felt despite the number of things taking space on my schedule, was unshakable.

In saying yes so freely and without abandon, I had said no to some of the most important things of this life; time with my children, time to listen to my own needs, time to plug in with the people I love most and above it all, time to connect with the One who holds the only true compass.

I had been spinning for so long in every direction that I had accepted the constant unrest and mistaken it all for a false sense of gravity. I had come full circle with the speed and velocity that I poured out into every area of my life and what I found was far beyond busy. I was exhausted, unfulfilled and desperately unwoven. I had heard the cry of my fast paced, yes girl and what she really longed for was a simple no, a time of quiet and a moment or two of contentment. She needed to feel like what she was doing mattered and honestly, in the grand scheme of things, much of it did not.

In the middle of what author, Shauna Niequist would call my “sea change”, I began the painstaking work of learning to say no. No to volunteer requests and work opportunities, no to the distractions of social media and after hours emails, no to the constant need for busyness. I started defining a difference between yes I can and yes I will. I learned to stand up for the importance of peacefulness and restoration and my deep need for a quiet space in my heart.

What I found in this change was an overwhelming need to give out no’s without an abundance of explanation and the soul work of not feeling personally wounded by disappointing people who were still in their yes mode. I found time for the things that matter the most and I saw clearly the power of my best yes, the yes that I can give freely and prayerfully.

These days are tended differently. In the same 24 hours, there is time to be present and patient, time for self discovery and learning better ways of being. Today, I give my yes graciously but with caution and thoughtfulness. It is a better yes, one that is focused and attentive. Most importantly, I am giving my best yes to the leading of the Spirit in my life and the direction He calls me.

I invite you, sweet friend, to dive into your season of no. Start the laying down of things that take away from your peacefulness of heart and find the honesty of what you really long for. There is a best yes for each of us that can only be found in calmer waters. With grace and thoughtful no’s we can all begin to navigate into that cove together. I am praying strength for your journey and places of smooth sailing.


Present Over Perfect with April begins May 18th. This class focuses leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.  Need to read Chapter 1 before class start.

Register here.

Start Date: May 18th
Time: 6-7:30 PM; 5 week class. DVD and discussion.
Facilitator: April Cowdin
Cost: $25

Register here.