by holly j. clemente
When I started this blog, I was so excited about sharing others’ stories, particularly missionary stories, with a larger audience. I couldn’t wait to begin, and my hope was that the posts would encourage others to view missions in a different light- the true light that shows how unqualified and weak we all are, yet how much God can use that weakness for his glory when we surrender it to Him. I never counted on the fact that these stories would challenge me in more ways than one to say yes all over again.
Especially now. During this new time of social distancing, this unprecedented quarantine and lockdown, we have all had to give up a lot. Being with family. Dealing with crisis in community. Jobs, school, graduations, birthday parties, and the basic freedoms to leave our homes when we want to. It hasn’t looked the same for all of us, but without a doubt we have all been affected in some way.
I initially dove into the quarantine, resolved to face it with a good attitude. I didn’t think too far ahead and just took everything a day at a time. Because we homeschool, we were able to continue normal classes with our kids, and that helped to keep a rhythm and some sort of schedule at home. Facebook kept me connected to the rest of the world, and I saw so many people talking about binge-watching Netflix, reading some good books, trying new recipes. I saw so many posts aimed at inspiring others to use this extra time at home to take extra classes or learn a new skill. I saw encouragement about asking God about His plan for me during this time. It all sounded great. I am all about making the most of time, and my brain cheered these ideas on as I spent a few dreamy moments wondering how I could wisely use all the extra time I had been suddenly given.
Then I crash-landed on reality. Somehow quarantine, with no outside activities or places to go, made my life busier than before. I was falling into bed exhausted every single night with chores still unfinished, and I felt like I was failing miserably. There was no extra time to read or watch Netflix. There wasn’t even a moment available to take another class or learn anything new. For goodness sake, I didn’t even have time to write or work on my blog. But I heard God speak to me the now familiar message. Just say yes.
Say yes??? I thought I was saying yes. In fact, I felt like there were so many more things that I was supposed to be saying yes to, yet I was already being stretched to my limits. I am saying yes, God. I can’t say yes to any more things. Though I think that God understands my feelings with so much compassion, I can’t help but suspect that there was a gentle bit of mirth present, maybe even a friendly chuckle, when he nudged the next thought into my heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I memorized that verse from Matthew 11:28-30 when I was just a kid. I have cited it often, but it only took a few weeks of a socially distanced lifestyle to crowd it out. God’s message to me was clear.
I said the verses to myself, and as I breathed out, I opened myself up to what God wanted to speak to me. In an instant it became glaringly clear that saying yes to God isn’t about saying yes to everything. It’s not about doing more or being more. It’s actually about being less and simply responding to whatever God has in store. And what God asks doesn’t put a heavy burden on us. His burden is light. And he wants our yes so that He can give us rest.
Say yes to peace, and no to fear. God’s peace is so big that it surpasses my circumstances and limited understanding. Fill me, Lord.
Say yes to patience, and no to frustration. Patience is waiting on the Lord to do his will in his timing… in my husband, in my children, in my own heart. When I get frustrated, it’s because I am trying to take control of the situation, and it’s not working out the way that I’d hoped. Lord, I surrender my will to you.
Say yes to finding my identity in Him, and no to my insecurities. It’s not about me and my failures or shortcomings. It’s about being His. I am his child. I am right where He has placed me, doing what He has laid out for me. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I am yours, Lord.
Say yes to being still, and no to constant motion. Many good activities can distract me from THE ONE thing. Him. My relationship with Him. Spending time in His presence. I will shut out distractions that make me feel like I should be doing more. Make me still, Lord. Quiet my heart before you.
Say yes to engaging intentionally, and no to distractions. It’s not necessarily about more time, it’s about using the time I have to focus on building real relationships. With God. With my husband and my kids. Not focusing on the checklist, but focusing on sincerely opening my heart with those in my life. Fill me with your love, Lord, until it flows out of me.
Say yes to fulfilling my mission, and no to feeling overwhelmed. The great thing about this is when my mission is aligned to God’s mission, He does all of the heavy lifting. I become less and He becomes more. He is the one who saves, heals, restores, and reaches the lost. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude that He has called us to participate with Him. I say yes, God. Once more, I say yes to you.
Holly Joy Clemente has always had a passion to see others get involved in the Great Commission. She prayed and dreamed of a way to use her writing to that end, and God gave her the vision for this blog. Her hope is that others will be encouraged and inspired to trust God and step out in faith when it comes to leaving comfort zones for the sake of the Gospel.
You can find out more about her writing at: https://www.facebook.com/hollyjclemente/