I have heard one phrase again and again (and again) this year. I have heard these words said to me more this year than in any other year of my life:
“Thank you for saying ‘yes’.”
So much (…so, so much…) is said about “saying yes to our gifts”. But what does that even mean? What is it, exactly, that we are saying “YES” to, when we say yes to how we are made and the way God calls us to express it? No one told me, on January 1st of this year, what saying “yes” would mean. Had they told me, I might have tried to say a lesser yes. I would have tried to say, “Yes, but…”
I would have tried to say, “Yes, however…”
I would have at least said “maybe”.
And all of it - every single thing but that one simple “yes”, would have come straight from the pit of hell.
Let me be honest, here. I did, for a moment, try to say a lesser “yes”. I did try to say, “Yes, however…” And I wanted with everything in me to say “Maybe. Maybe, if…”
But in the end, I said “YES” multiple times in multiple areas - and in letting that yes BE, that also meant letting many “no’s” BE.
(Mostly, the “no” looked like complete silence on my part.)
No. Again and again. Sometimes, there were two or three silent, agonizing “no’s” for each “yes”. That’s the nature of letting your yes BE.
No, I am not going to run after. No, I am not going to ask why. No, I am not going to discuss. No, I am not going to care about this, because I have already said a wholehearted “YES” to caring about something that matters far more.
When you say “yes” to your gifts, here is what you are saying “YES” to:
You are saying “yes” to making others uncomfortable. Because a true gift will stir resonance in those of a kindred spirit…
…and dissonance in those of a different spirit.
You are saying “yes” to naming things. You find yourself tasked with naming your season, naming your enemy, and naming who your friends are. Saying “yes” to your creative gift means living in a heightened, sometimes beautiful, sometimes quite painful, state of noticing. And with noticing, comes naming. Nothing you’ve said yes to, can remain stuck in a haze of ambiguity.
You are saying “yes” to a process you cannot control. My “yes” this year hurled me into a creative process that didn’t look anything like what I thought it would, or anything like what I thought it should. I could not “beincontrol” and “become” at the same time. I was forced to choose.
You are saying “yes” to doing hard things. Please know, there are easier ways to get a paycheck than to be creative. There are easier ways to serve the Lord, than to say “yes” by putting your very essence out there in the form of a sermon or painting, a song or a dance.
You are saying “yes” to risk and change.
You are saying “yes” to a way of seeing. Warning: you can’t unsee what you see. Holy Spirit will give you eyes to see. And once He does, He will not leave you alone. He will sit and look at you with steady gaze, until your art gets gut-honest.
You are saying “yes” to a call that originated outside yourself. This year brought with it a soul-reckoning that made me count the cost. I am, in fact, called to be a creative being in a world that vastly values product over process.
You are saying “yes” to mystery. I have had to daily say yes to outcomes I cannot see - outcomes I have no way of knowing how they will “come out”. The risks are real. I could fail. The rewards may not be felt for a long time. I must reconcile myself to saying yes to the work, not to the result.
You are saying “yes” to being misunderstood, but you are also saying “yes” to being understood. Those who misunderstand, move away from you. Those who understand, draw near. And can I tell you?
There’s no worse - and no better - feeling.
Saying “yes” is worth it.