2 AM, the baby is crying to be fed. Yes.
6 AM, the alarm goes off to get up and go to work. Yes.
2 PM, the boss requires a report at the last minute. Yes.
6 PM, the family wants dinner. Yes.
8 PM, the friend needs you to listen to her. Yes.
10 PM, the husband wants you to be a wife. Yes.
Yes. We say it all the time to our family, to our friends, to our employers. But how often do we say yes to God?
Yes … to humility, when with all our being we want to be recognized for our work, talents, and gifts.
Yes … to joy when we are grieving.
Yes … to strength when we are so exhausted we can barely put one foot in front of the other.
Yes … to peace when there is chaos in our family, in our churches, in our world.
Yes … to love when we have been hurt and wounded.
Yes … to hope when all seems to be lost.
Saying yes to completing a task can be done in my own strength, but usually not with a song in my heart. Saying yes to being who God called me to be can only really be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For years I struggled with performing as “the pastor’s wife.” Teach Sunday School or serve well in some way, and someone would say, “Thank you—great job!” Smile at enough people and pay them a compliment, and those people like you.
The more I did—the more I performed—the better I felt about myself. Until I just couldn’t “do” any more. I equated being a good servant of the Lord with saying yes to completing tasks, whether or not there was any joy in my heart.
One evening, as my pastor-husband walked through the door, he discovered me crying in an oversized, green leather chair. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I just can’t do this anymore. I’m not good enough. I’m afraid. I feel like a failure as a wife, a mom, and a pastor’s wife,” I sobbed.
John didn’t lecture me or attempt to soothe me with kind words. He simply said, “Read 1 and 2 Timothy.” (You just have to love “the preacher.” Always giving God’s Word as the answer!)
A New Perspective
As I began to devour those two little books, I discovered many important principles God was asking me to say yes to. Three of the most important ones are found in 2 Timothy 1:7. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Say yes to His power.
I had forgotten that God would not ask me to do anything He would not enable me to complete. I had developed spiritual amnesia when it came to who God was!
First Timothy 1:17 describes God as “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, [the] God who alone is wise.” The word wise in the Greek describes a watchman who sat on top of a high mountain and could see all around him. My God is fully aware of everything going on in my heart and life. I can choose to rest in His sovereignty.
As I began each task for the day, whether it was to make lunches, write an article, or visit a friend in the hospital, I started asking the Lord to empower me. People began to comment on my “confidence.” I would just laugh (and I still do) and say, “It’s God-confidence.” My God is all-powerful, and I certainly am not!
Say yes to His love.
I needed to be reminded of God’s love for me. I needed soak in His love. He loves me when I try hard and do a good job, and He loves me just as much as when I fall flat on my face. He loves me when I yell at my children, when I mess up dinner, when I wasn’t able to spend an hour studying His Word because I fell asleep nursing a child. Jesus Christ loves me in all the mess of my life. God didn’t wait to send His only Son to die on the cross and be resurrected once I had my act together.
When I truly began to embrace His love, I also began to respond to others around me in love. I could walk into my teenage daughter’s room that was covered in dirty clothes, sheet music, and dirty dishes, and not feel like a failure as a mom. I could sit with her and love her in her mess, because Jesus loved me in mine.
Say yes to a sound mind.
When I began to study the words sound mind, my first thought was, “Well, I guess God won’t let me go crazy.” But that’s not really the point of this verse. Different translations of the Bible use various words for this phrase: sound judgment, self-control, and discipline are just a few. My favorite definition of a sound mind is the ability to discern truth from a lie. God would enable me to differentiate between His truth and a lie from the Enemy. I would be able to have sound judgment and discipline my mind.
If you are a follower of Christ, the whispers will come from the Enemy, or even from your own mind. “You aren’t good enough. You’re a failure. You need to quit. There is no more hope. Just be done with it. No one loves you or cares about you.”
According to 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” On that basis, I would remind the Enemy that actually he is the failure, not me!
Saying yes to God’s power, love, and sound mind destroyed the spirit of fear in my life. I wasn’t afraid to fail my husband, my children, or the people I ministered to, because I finally understood that ministry wasn’t about me or my “performance” at all. It’s all about the grace and power of God, at work through me.
So, I’ll ask you, what is in front of you right now? What is stressing you out, causing you to feel inadequate, afraid, or alone? Is it a house to clean, a test to study for, a shaky marriage, a prodigal child? Start with an enthusiastic YES to the Holy Spirit, who can fill you with God’s love, power, and a sound mind. He will enable you! He is just waiting for your willing heart.
Donna Avant is a teacher, speaker, and author with a passion to share God’s Word with women. She is married to John Avant, president of Life Action, and she blogs at RealLifeOnRockyTop.com.
Scripture on pp. 21–23 taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.