Say Yes Though It Costs You

Alaina Stratton-0143.jpg

When gaining who I am means trading all I have — I’ll take it. If there’s anything this last year has taught me it’s this: who I am and what I’m built for is worth all of it. 

It didn’t feel worth it while it was happening. It didn’t feel like a fairytale or magic. There were no golden cherubs or glittering messengers of God from whom I could gather confidence. Most of the time, it was just me. Me and my husband. Me by myself. Choosing from within a void of everything I thought I wanted whether I’d still believe God or not and take him at his word before the blessing came. 

The biggest choices will not always feel big. They will not come with a parade or flashing lights. They will come easy like the morning wakes you. Simple and subconscious like the breath that sustains you. 

These choices, the subtle ones without parades and fanfare, are the ones that will shape you. They’re the ones that made this year worth living for me. They’re the ones I see now, going down deep into the soil of my life, taking root and spreading life. 

I haven’t seen the fruit of this harvest yet, but I know it’s coming. 

The biggest choices that don’t always feel so big but have the power to change your life will often start with “yes.” They start with agreement: 

Do I believe I am worthy of this? 

Do I believe that God can do it?

Do I believe he wants to? 

Can I take this next small step and trust the rest is in the making?

Yes. 

When God leans in to softly whisper and invitation, when he beckons without providing the whole picture, when he gives the option for you to agree or to deny it: if you say yes, just don’t base it on fear. Base it on how worthy you believe the journey could turn out to be when God is good and you are without limits. He is. You are. 

This year I said yes one million, self-doubting, insecure, and not-so-hopeful times. It doesn’t matter who much you “mean” it. He just needs agreement. 

I said yes to writing in public. I said yes by saying no to working simply out of desperation — even when I knew I wanted the money. I said yes to my heart and no to my self-indulgent nature. I said yes to believing I could have a career, that God saw my dreams. I said yes to my husband building his own business. I said yes a thousand times in marriage to be more humble, to be more honest, to be more free. 

“Say yes” was not a mantra — it was a guttural cry of a heart tired of a stunted life. Say yes, it said — though it means self-denial. When it means being seen when you want to hide, when it means being honest when you want to lie. Say sorry even when you want to be right. 

We say yes though it costs us because what he gives in return is better. Because temporary discomfort or pain, even long term discomfort and pain begin to quickly pale in comparison to the reward and to his presence. Because I’d rather live life fearless than in shame, because I think it’s worth it to risk everything on God being who he says he is instead of subscribing to a lukewarm faith. 

When the bills don’t get paid, when the lies rush in to deter you: say yes. Say it louder than before. Throw in a “thank you” and when you reach the top of your lungs keep going because the reverberation from your voice ringing out in faith can dismantle anything that has built itself up against you — even the walls you’ve constructed in your own heart for self-preservation. 

Say yes when your circumstances beckon you to give up and say no — say yes when they don’t understand or it hurts or you’re afraid or you’re not sure you believe in God or you’d rather throw in the towel and give up. 

If God himself sat down across from me in this moment and asked me if it was worth it: I’d say yes again. Nothing in my life is perfect but now I know I’m blessed. I know I will point back to these moments, every yes and tear and remember that everything I have received was made possible then. 

Gaining who I am — gaining the promises over my life, becoming the kind of woman who can receive and sustain them, building a marriage as strong as this, and a love as deep as ours — worth every cost of everything I traded for it. 

Say yes — 

Though it cost you finances or security or both

Though it cost your reputation or your brand or the careful representation of yourself you’ve built up for others to admire

Even if it means feeling foolish, unwise, unseen, or lonely 

Especially if you feel lonely. I have often felt lonely, but often being lonely means you’re clearing the way for others to follow through and he would not give you a life where “alone” is all you ever knew. Be faithful to this calling — be faithful to clear a way and build a path so others can do it. He hasn’t forgotten you, this feeling is temporary and you’re never truly alone when he is with you. 

Sometimes other people will not understand it. Sometimes they will not understand you. The people I love have not always understood me, supported my decisions, or even read my blogs. None of these seeming negative reactions can devalue or negate the calling on your life, and it hasn’t for mine. “Likes” do not determine your approval rating with God.

Even a quiet yes, a faint, confused yes in the midst of a storm, is powerful in his hands — and powerful in mine. Now I know it.