11/2/11

Following God 'Yes by Yes'

I met Connie Cavanaugh at an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) meeting. She is a friend of my friend, author Kathy Howard. I was attracted to her sweet smile and enthusiasm, but I sensed right away that she was a woman of depth and character. That assessment was confirmed as I read her book, Following God One Yes at a Time.

A long paragraph tucked into Chapter 7 summed up the book for me: "As I continued to follow God yes by yes," Cavanaugh said, "I found myself signing letters, emails, books, and cards with a new phrase that just popped into my head: Keep following God one yes at a time. It dawned on me that God had led me out of my decade of spiritual dryness one yes at a time. And He was continuing to lead me in my post-wilderness life one yes at a time.

"As I thought back to my early days of vibrant faith, I realized I had followed Him one yes at a time then, too," she said. "In fact, the only time He hadn't led me one yes at a time was during my wilderness time when I stopped saying yes to Him and lost my way. Maybe following Him one yes at a time was the answer for more than just my panic episodes. Maybe it was the answer for everything that tried to hold me back from living the dreams He had for me." (1)

Her words took me back to a True Woman Conference in Chicago in 2008 with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Women waved white hankies of surrender, saying or praying, "Yes, Lord," when He spoke to their hearts about some new commitment or an issue of sin.

The words "Yes, Lord!" were embroidered on every handkerchief the women received as they entered the conference, and they were a powerful tool for doing business with God. I waved mine several times. Saying "Yes, Lord" centers on trust in the sovereign God and our obedience to Him.

In Cavanaugh's book, she described some of the excuses we throw up to God as reasons for not obeying Him.

"You might think that what you have to use for Him isn't quite up to par," she said. "You think you're not godly enough, not spiritual enough, not serious enough, not sweet enough, not kind enough, not sure enough, not smart enough, not bold enough, not educated enough, or not experienced enough. All of those 'not enoughs' are barriers that hold you back from the dreams God has for you." (2)

And then she spoke of Jesus, whose power is perfected in weakness ~ the One who died to demonstrate His grace, and "... remember," she said, "faithfulness is simply saying yes with your feet. Don't worry about changing your image. Just say yes and let Him fine-tune you as you follow Him."

I needed these words as I wrote this post. God was asking me to be courageous and step out in a new work, and I kept tossing out excuses ~ some of the very ones Cavanaugh listed. I needed to hear her reminder that it's not a matter of my having or being enough. It's all about God's sufficiency. (2 Corinthians 3:5; 12:9)

The truth is, any shred of sufficiency we may think we have is truly all wrapped up in God's marvelous, never-failing sufficiency. All He wants us to do is to say yes in this moment ... and in the next ... and the next.

No matter our stories or the struggles in our individual journeys, the principle is the same ~ as we follow God, He reveals our next step, and then He supplies the resources (faith, peace, power, etc.) that we need for that and every step.

"If I had never said yes to God," Cavanaugh said, "I would still be barricaded behind my fear, unaware that on the other side of that self-made wall was a life of adventure, personal growth, renewed faith, and rewarding service."

What is holding you back from following God and His plan (dream/adventure) for your life? Saying "Yes, Lord" acknowledges that God is, indeed, your Lord ~ the One who has a right to direct your life.

I encourage you to yield your heart and say this ~ boldly or timidly, but say it! ~ "Yes, Lord!"
Focus your mind, and set your feet and hands toward that surrender as you follow God. Discover and pursue the dreams God has for you!

Connie Cavanaugh is a wife, mom, and "Gram" who speaks at conferences all over North America. She is the author of Following God One Yes at a Time and From Faking It to Finding Grace.

Learn more about Connie and her ministry at www.conniecavanaugh.com.



(1) Connie Cavanaugh, Following God One Yes at a Time: Overcoming the 6 Barriers That Hold You Back (Harvest House Publishers, 2011), p. 102
(2) Ibid., p. 103
(3) Ibid., p. 214

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