Lysa TerKeurst is author of the bestselling books “Made to Crave” and “Unglued,” and is founder and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She talks to West Michigan Christian News about her new book “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands,” available in bookstores in August.
WMCN: What prompted you to write “The Best Yes?”
Lysa TerKeurst: For a couple of years I’ve been praying that God would “unrush” me. I had realized that either I was going to set and run my schedule, or it was going to run me. How I set my schedule determines how I run my life, and how I run my life determines how I spend my soul. I kept getting the sinking sense that I wasn’t spending my soul well.
WMCN: What happens when we live with the stress of being overscheduled?
LTK: When a woman lives with the stress of an overscheduled life, she lives with the stress of an underwhelmed soul. I’ve really failed at this a lot; I wrote the book from the place of my weakness.
WMCN: So you struggle with this personally?
LTK: It’s not like I used to struggle with this five years ago and not anymore. Today I have to open my own book to learn how to underwhelm my schedule. There are so many ministry opportunities that at the time seem wonderful and that I think I can squeeze into my schedule. But every time I violate that deep “no” or the sense that that one thing will put me in that overstressed place, it becomes a problem.
WMCN: How does an overwhelmed mom affect the whole family?
LTK: The biggest thing that happens when my schedule is overwhelming is that I forget to smile and laugh. I cut conversations short, rush out door and sit in the car honking the horn. I don’t want my kids to remember me looking like a rushed, worn out woman. But when a mom makes a choice to unrush herself and makes decisions to unrush her family, it’s a beautiful thing.
WMCN: Why do so many women seem to cave in to all the demands?
LTK: All people are susceptible, but women seem to have the greatest confusion between the command to love and the disease to please. Every assignment is not my assignment; saying yes to everything doesn’t make me Wonder Woman. It makes me a worn out woman.
WMCN: What advice do you offer women in “The Best Yes?”
LTK: I share a lot of my failures. I want women to breathe a deep sigh as they read this and say, “Wow, Lysa really understands.” I hope lots of women will learn for the first time that it’s OK to say no. It’s OK to disappoint some people so you don’t disappoint everyone. I also teach women scripts: very practical ways to say yes and no. If they are able to grasp how to say no, in a couple of years they can say, “I’m finally heading in the direction that I want to go.”
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