One thing you have to remember when you're embarking on a journey of change is that every seemingly little "yes" you choose is a big, fat, resounding "no" to a hundred angry things you're fighting against.
It sounds cheesy, I know. It sounds trite, maybe even a little dumb. But when you're going up against the big things in your life, when you're going after resolution and not just change, when you're not standing against anything but instead laying your heart wide open for the chance to be resolved, it's absolutely true. And you can't forget it.
See, I had this conversation with an elder just a couple of weeks ago. It was a Sunday I had seized before walking out my door, determined to take my moment and wage a war. Make a new choice against something in my life that had far too long been a burden on me. When I arrived at church, this guy approached me, which isn't all that uncommon. We chatted for a second or two, much shorter than usual, and he got right down to business.
I'm kind of stretched this morning, he said, and I need to know if you can help me out. I felt a little clutch in my chest and asked him what he needed. Honestly? Nothing all that difficult. Nothing that would have been out of character for me. Nothing that would have been a stretch.
On a normal day.
But that Sunday was no normal day. I had made it my moment. And as he asked, I immediately felt this ambivalence in me. How to say no. How to say yes. It's not that I couldn't; it's that I didn't know if I could do it in a new way. I could have done it the way I always had, had I not woken up that morning with a new promise for myself. Now, here was the question. Could I do it in the promise - which was a promise I was counting on God's promise for?
I looked at him and said, "Brother, you don't know what you're asking...." Any other morning, I told him. Any other day. "But right now, saying yes to you means saying no to a whole lot of other things that I'm not sure right now if I'm stronger than."
Because as he asked that simple question, that simple favor, I was excited. I was excited for the opportunity to say yes and really go after this thing. Really go after this fight. Really take a stand and take a chance and embrace a change. Throw my trust behind the promises of God and go after it. It's just that as soon as I started to form a yes in my heart, I heard - almost audibly - a million other questions, a million other voices, that would have, by default, demanded a no for the sake of one simple yes.
It's real, friends.
If you're holding onto the promise of wholeness, of what real resolution looks like in your life, then one little yes is a great big no to everything that wants to hold onto you.
One yes to skipping a smoke break is a no to addiction. It is a no to a routine. It is a no to a social experience. It is a no to old friends, who may or may not support you. It is a no to expectations. It is a no to being controlled. It is a no to cowing to lesser things.
Because your yes is in the promise and so little else is. You don't just do things any more; you do them wholly, fully, with a new heart.
Whatever you're seeking to resolve in your life, whatever resolution you're after, wouldn't be so important if it didn't have such a powerful hold on you. It doesn't just let go. It doesn't just walk away because you choose to. A lot of times, we don't even realize how deeply these troubles are rooted in us until we say a little yes to something else. Until we risk a new promise. Until we make a little change. Then we're suddenly overwhelmed with how painfully the roots spread throughout our being.
That's why it's important to lay your heart open and go all-out after resolution, rather than simple change. It doesn't make it easier - there are still a lot of defeated, desperate demons who would rather not let you go - but it makes it matter.
Matthew 5:37 says, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no." Don't muddle it up. In resolution, it's always a little muddled. Your yes is yes, but it's also no. A whole lotta no for one seemingly simple yes.
The key, then, is to know your nos are coming and say yes anyway. Then live in your yes. Let your yes be your Yes!
Yes, you can.