Becka Andersen | Seasons Church | Denver, CO
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When a new situation presents itself, I wish I could say that my first thought and immediate response is, “Yes, absolutely!” However, that’s not rarely been the case…You see, I typically get focused on the logistics and statistics, spreadsheets of pros and cons, and timelines. Usually, my own plans are what tend to run through my head.
I’ve heard that in improv, the phrase, “Yes, And…” is used to suggest “that a participant should accept what another participant has stated (‘yes’) and then expand on that line of thinking (‘and’).”1 The person is to embrace and agree what they are told, but also, more or less, “What else?”
Saying “yes” has the potential to motivate you to take chances or to explore what else may be out there. “Starting with ‘Yes,’ energizes, creates safety and trust, and fuels creativity.”2 Whereas, “no” limits you to what you know. It can be a defensive mechanism and a way to protect what you think you’re capable of doing on your own. For me, “no” has stopped me in my tracks; which then means, I’m typically not giving my situation or circumstance to God because I’ve already assumed that it may be impossible.
Four years ago, I chose to say “yes,” as my family and I moved to help with a church plant. It was a point of surrender, leaving everything that was familiar and comfortable to us: a steady ministry job, a brand new home we had just built, and saying goodbye to all our immediate family. Yet, we were living a miracle! We saw God’s hand on our lives over and over and it was incredible! We were living in the beautiful city of Los Angeles in a miracle house and were a part of an incredible church and community. All because of our “yes”.
However, very quickly after this transition, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I started to face my own health challenges, and then my dad unexpectedly passed away. At this point, I started to fear losing anything else. This was when fear started to try and take me over – to stop me from moving forward in so many areas in my life.
Externally I was living a daily life of surrender. Internally, I found myself screaming, “no.”
“No” started to seem easier than “yes.” It seemed safer – as if there was security in “no more.” We stepped out, we surrendered all, this is just too much now.
But saying “no” was self-centered…focusing on me and letting it become about me. “How can I figure this out and sort it?” I became tight-fisted with what I had left. Yet, the tighter I continued to hold on, the harder it was to let anything else go. I began saying “no” only out of fear.
When I read the verse, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” I began to see that “yes” is an attitude of the heart, not just the mind. It’s open-handed living in every area because it comes from a place of trust. “Yes,” can mean setting aside my timelines to ensure I am following God’s plan. “Yes,” can look a lot like obedience. However, there is freedom in obedience because it’s not completely up to me. “Yes,” is a response to what He’s already done in and through us, and we have the privilege to walk in obedience to carry it out. “Yes” is about Him.
So I again, started to say “yes.”
About a year ago, my husband and I felt called to plant our own church. And it was an easy “yes,” because it was a response to His calling on our lives and I knew it would come about only because of Him.
When we told our kids about the news, they were all so excited! I have a picture of my youngest son Judah, with wide-eyes and such a happy and expectant smile on his face; he was beyond thrilled! At four-years-old, he didn’t even fully know what this meant – for us to once again move, leave a great church and community and go to a place he had never been to before. But his face said, “Yes!”
As his parents, we tried to give him a glimpse of the dream God put on our hearts. What we saw not just for us, but for him, his brother and sisters, and for the people of Denver and at Seasons Church. God’s Word does the same thing, it gives us a picture of promises that when we step out in faith, He will be faithful.
Your “yes” changes the context for everyone around you. It can open doors for community, freedom, and even rest for yourself or those in your sphere of influence.
For me and my husband, our “yes” can change the trajectory of our family and impact our kids. I want my kids to not just be told about God’s miracles but to experience them. We are the primary model for our kids as they grow up. So, if that’s the case, and I’m withholding and not wanting to continue to say “yes” over and over again, how will they? I want to make it easy for my kids to walk by faith and to submit themselves to God’s will. We can tell our kids to be faith-filled, or they can live it. And as they walk it out, they will understand and experience how our surrender makes way for the supernatural, and see how God is always faithful. That is why we are saying “yes” to planting Seasons Church: to win people to Jesus and help transform their lives.
I think back to when my dad passed and fear started to try and take me over, to stop me from moving forward in so many areas in my life. In that moment, as I’m holding my dad’s hand as he passed from this earth to eternity, I was reminded that life is short. And now, I have the choice to continue to live in or even pass on the pain and fear of loss, or I could use that moment to drive me towards purpose. For me, a large part of that purpose is to create a place for people to feel welcomed, loved, and to feel at home, while ultimately leading people Home. And that took me saying “yes” again.
Saying “yes” isn’t a one-time event, it’s a complete life of surrender. Because it’s not about us. It’s about Him and His plan to bring His most loved creation Home. That’s ultimately what our “yes” represents.
“Not my will but yours be done.”
So, “Yes, And…”
1 Wikipedia, February 2019.
2 Tony Schwartz, The Power of Starting With ‘Yes’, The New York Times, April 2015.