A high jumper named Dick Fosbury caught Lysa’s attention because of his unconventional approach to the sport. Lysa’s daughter Ashley participates in pole vaulting which is similar to the high jump. Dick wanted to go higher by lowering his center of gravity. So, he decided to go headfirst and backward. The approach frightened coaches at first, but ultimately he set an Olympic record using this technique. He had to change his approach to improve his abilities. In life, Lysa says we often let other people’s requests dictate the decisions we make which consume our time and leave us feeling exhausted. “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul. An underwhelmed soul is one who knows there is more God made her to do. She longs to do that thing she wakes up in the middle of the night thinking about,” shares Lysa. She says if you want things in your life to change you have to learn how to use two powerful words: yes and no. “I have to change my approach to the way I make decisions. The same patterns will produce the same habits. The same habits will lead to the same decisions. The same decisions will keep me stuck. And I don’t want to be stuck,” shares Lysa. An area of her own life in which Lysa applied the Dick Fosbury’s technique was becoming intentional about writing. For years, she desired to write a book, but could never “find the time” to accomplish her goal. Then she changed her approach. She figured out how many actual hours she had each week to devote to writing and then blocked those 3.5 hours on her schedule. Lysa dedicated those hours each week to that thing she knew God had woven into the DNA of her heart. Those 3.5 hours of writing per week have now turned into many years of articles and books.
THE DISEASE TO PLEASE
“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please,” shares Lysa. Many women dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no. They are afraid of people not liking them. Lysa says it is impossible to please everyone. Wearing yourself out trying to please everyone will often make you the unhappiest person in the room. When her kids were little, Lysa began traveling and speaking. Some of her mommy friends didn’t understand. She often received comments that made her feel very insecure and uncertain. Around her friends, she stopped talking about her ministry work and instead began weaving comments throughout their conversation that lined up with her friend’s thinking. She verbally painted a picture of her life around what she thought would please them in order to make them think she was a good mom.
Lysa says people pleasing is not all bad except when it is taken to unhealthy extremes. When you have a pattern of saying yes, when you know you should say no, it’s time to reevaluate some things. Before signing up for something new or making another commitment…consider a few things:
• If the person you are trying so hard not to disappoint will be displeased by a no, they’ll eventually be disappointed even if you say yes.
• Unrealistic demands lead to undercurrents of failure. Resolve instead to make decisions based on what is realistic – not on trying to earn approval or impress.
• Those who constantly try to impress others will quickly depress themselves. When someone makes a request of you, you should be able to make that decision without emotional consequences. If you anticipate that telling them no will make them not like you – then you saying yes isn’t going to help that situation.
• There is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. If we always feel the pressure to be the answer to every need and task, we short circuit others’ need to trust God.
Recently, Lysa was invited to speak at Max Lucado’s church. Prior to this invitation her family had made vacation plans. Although she could have rescheduled her vacation plans she knew it would mean a lot to her family to put them first since they often make sacrifices for her. Although Lysa really wanted to accept the invitation, she declined the ministry opportunity and gave the weekend to her family. She was thankful she did. Lysa believes there are five parts to making a decision:
• Trusting in God by placing my desire under His authority
• Analyzing the decision.
• Making the decision.
• Owning the decision.
• Trusting God to work good even from the not so good parts.
In the rush of responsibilities, Lysa says she is slowly changing. She is learning how to use the small no and searching for the unrushed “Best Yes” decisions. As Jesus said, “Wisdom is proved right by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19). “Let’s use the two most powerful words, yes and no with resounding assurance, grateful clarity, and guided power,” reveals Lysa. By doing so, she says we’ll be a grand display of God’s Word lived out; our undistracted love will make our faith ring true; and our wisdom will help us make decisions that will still be good for tomorrow.