2 Corinthians 1:20 - For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.”
I want to speak about the power of the word “Yes”. There is power in all words, and the ideas behind the words, so it is important to pay attention to our vocabulary. If we say, “This always happens to me,” then we are creating a very specific mindset about our future. As I mentioned last week, changing our words can often change the habitual way we think. The data we put into our minds and hearts, including new affirmations, is what flows from our minds and hearts, and ultimately, our mouths. Christ said in Matthew 15:11, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”
There is power in the word ‘yes’; there is magic, potential, and hope. Author and philanthropist Richard Branson said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.” ‘Yes’ allows us to move forward, to get more information, to see from a new perspective.
So often we are afraid in life and expect the worst. Even though we have no idea how something could turn out, we often say ‘no’ to change and new opportunities because of fear: we may look bad; we may lose money, we may end up further behind. What if things go wrong? What if this, what if that? Because of our tendency to say ‘no’ we reject many of God’s brilliant chances to grow and serve. These are often disguised as a new career prospect, an opportunity to step up at work, a surprise request from a friend, or any type of unfamiliar challenge. When things like these come to our attention, we need to listen for the quiet voice within whispering, “Yes!” That whisper creates within us a spark of curiosity, or some desire that may lay dormant within us for days, weeks, and even years. This is our intuition, or God’s still small voice guiding us to take at least a small step forward.
Of course, the world will throw things our way, also. The ego wants to add its clamorous input. Should I buy these new shoes, this new guitar, this new gadget and gizmo? The ego says, “Well, Patrick … you say there’s power in the word ‘yes’! So ‘yes’ it must be.”
The world can be so tempting. Some ‘no’s’ are a ‘yes’ to fear, caution, doubt, familiarity, and sameness. Our challenge is to determine if we are saying ‘yes’ to the ego, or ‘yes’ to Spirit? It can be difficult at times for many of us to distinguish between the two. In our heart of hearts, I believe we are given that ability; we are able to differentiate between worldly ‘things’ and spiritual opportunities.
If we are faced with prospects to serve, grow, and become more, then it is probably Spirit’s work. If we feel that God is involved, then the answer must be ‘yes’. ‘Yes’ is the power that helps us thrive, move beyond where we are now as a spiritual being. ‘Yes’ aids in our transformation in awareness from earth-bound human to unlimited soul.
‘No’, is important at times; it helps us survive. Being cautious in all things, avoiding people, social engagements, and anything that looks or sounds hard or outside our comfort level may save us from some distress, but it also prevents us from growth. There is a difference between surviving and thriving. We may survive a few of life’s hardships by never leaving our house, separating ourselves from other people so we don’t experience humiliation, feel their disdain or suffer from their criticism, but there is no personal or spiritual evolution in those choices. We are not here on earth to merely survive, but to flourish, prosper, and succeed. We are not here to languish as buried bulbs, but to burst into bloom, show our colors, and let our little lights shine.
There are times, however, when our ‘no’ to others is a ‘yes’ to ourselves. If we are overwhelmed with demands and we feel that the world is beating us up, and our ego is plying us with guilt for not giving more, then our ‘no’ to others is a ‘yes’ to God. We don’t need to listen to the loud voices of our friends and ego steering us toward their solutions and paths. We have our own path, and when we are still and listening to God, we will hear, feel, or otherwise perceive the direction we are to take. We can allow Spirit to guide us through our love, curiosity, and creativity. Most often, the response will be a gentle, “Yes, Patrick, take a step in that direction.” God knows that I am filled with fear, and because of this will only ask that I take small steps in Spirit’s direction. And once I’ve trusted God and taken one step, the subsequent steps are easier, until I find that I have accepted God’s plan in totality.
There are times when we don’t have a choice to make at all – we are just faced with a circumstance: a lost job, a divorce, or some other tragedy or inconvenience. Yet even at these times we still have the choice of saying, “Yes” or “No”. We can say, “No, God; I do not accept this. This was not part of my life plan; this is not what I wanted.” That is certainly our choice – to resist and fight what has happened; to deny what is. We can argue, bargain, doubt, suffer, and become depressed, but denial cannot change what is.
We also have the choice to say, “Yes God. I don’t understand why this has happened, but I accept it as it is. Yes God, I will move inside to find solutions, strength, and guidance on how to move forward. I trust that the plans you have for me are good. This hurts, but I trust that an outcome exists that will make me stronger, more willing, and more trusting. Yes God; I believe in the power of Your love to see me through. Yes, help me see my way clearly.”
Saying ‘yes’ unblocks the miracle of healing that awaits us through Spirit. ‘No’ separates our awareness from the Light of Christ. We need to trust that the universe has a bigger plan for us – one that we can only understand with hindsight. When we say ‘no’, we reject more than the opportunity, we reject the fun it brings, what it teaches us, and the further gifts that can unfold from our experience. Saying ‘yes’ is a win-win: if our efforts prove fruitful, we will be happier; if not, we will be wiser.
When faced with an opportunity to say ‘yes’, it means someone, at least God, believes we can accomplish something. They have faith in us. ‘Yes’ leads to more doors being opened, whereas ‘no’ often closes doors. Life is brighter, richer, fuller, and more vibrant when we say ‘yes’. We do more, live more, serve more, create more, and become more when we say ‘yes’ to God.
When we say ‘yes’ we are exerting our faith, trust, confidence, and positivity. We are saying, “Yes world; I’ve got this!” By saying ‘yes’, we invite possibility into our lives and the ability to learn what we are capable of and just how far we can go.
When faced with a new opportunity, perhaps we habitually ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking, “What is the worst that could happen,” why not ask, “What is the best that could happen?” Many of us answer ‘no’ to almost everything out of habit, myself included. We really have no idea of what is possible, and we don’t even wonder about the benefits. We react by saying ‘no’ because it is our default answer; there is no thought or imagination given the situation.
Within the word “yes’ lives hope, faith, strength, and overcoming. “Yes” gives us the power to hold on to what matters. It is like hugging someone. A hug is holding on, enveloping, connecting, but it must start with our arms wide open. To say ‘yes’ is to accept, be ‘all in’ with what God is offering. It is to open our hearts and minds to the ‘more’ that God is inviting us to embrace.
God’s universe operates within the divine flow, a cooperative energy of perpetual creation and growth. Whatever we bring into awareness, Christ aligns with and seeks to support. When we live within the energy of ‘yes’, we meet all that we encounter with an expanded consciousness of acceptance and willingness. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Sometimes we receive the power to say yes to life. Then peace enters us and makes us whole."
It is my prayer that when we face challenges or experiences, whether small ones, intimate ones, or the larger ones that seem insurmountable, we will first spend a few minutes in quietude and remind ourselves that all that God is, lies within us. The steadfast help of Christ is always available, and nothing can take away our ability to respond affirmatively with a wholehearted “Yes,” as we fill with the Love, Peace, and Joy of the Divine One.