The Yes You Can Give

The Yes You Can Give

by Shauna Wallace

For way too many years when my kids were younger, I was a rager. I would scream and yell at my kids and blame everyone and everything for it. I saw myself as a victim: If they would just do what I tell them when I tell them. If I could quit working and get out from under its demands.

And then in a single night at neighborhood Bible study, God convicted me of two things:

  1. I was not a victim. It was not their fault. I was indulging my flesh in anger and it was sin.
  2. Stress does not excuse screaming.

I was heartbroken over what God suddenly allowed me to see I was doing to my kids. I’d like to say it stopped immediately, but it did not. It got better right away, and then better and better as God in His sufficient grace taught me to recognize the patterns that pushed me to a place of literally losing my head.

Like taking on too much.

Saying yes when my life schedule screamed no, which led to screaming at the ones I love most and am charged with giving my best, not a beast.

So recently when I was approached with a request to take on a team captain role at church, I really wanted to say yes. They thought of me, and that feels good, doesn’t it? To be noticed and asked, to be flattered and included. As tempting as it was to say yes just because it felt good to be asked, I agreed to pray. I also and asked a close few to pray with me, too, because guess what? I can easily justify any answer according to any number of wrong motives:

  • I want people to like me.
  • I don’t want to miss out.
  • I like to be seen as someone who gets things done.
  • I like to say yes and do it all.

While I didn’t know my immediate answer, I did know this: to say yes to the request as presented would definitely interfere with existing yeses, and most importantly what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is my most important yes outside of my family and work responsibilities.

You see, there are things you and I can do, but others can too. But there are things only you and I can do, and if we’re doing what others can, then it affects our ability to do what only we can. I’m not talking about self-inflated, prideful “Only I can do it,” but the kind of only I can do it of certain relationships and assignments He’s given me that only I can do because I’m the only one who’s lived my story.

As I prayed, the Holy Spirit put this thought in my head:

Maybe yes and no aren’t the only two options. What about giving the yes you can give?

And I knew: I could say yes to the part that involved serving on-site at church on Sundays, but I could not give a yes to the extra commitments between Sundays. If they could find someone to co-captain and to the in-between, I was their gal! If not, they were free to find someone who could be their one-stop yes!

So, I gave the yes I could give, and the ball was in their court now to say yes or no to me. And I had peace all the way through, including when I heard from them that they did, in fact, need one person for the position.

Have you found yourself in a similar quandary? Are you there right now?

  1. Pray and wait. Listen.
  2. If they need an answer before you can give it, give them permission to move on. It’s okay. Let it pass.
  3. Know what only you can do: only you can be a wife to your husband and mom to your children.
  4. Know your calling: what has God put on your heart to do and you know it? What commitments already have your yes, and another yes would take from no. 3 or 4?
  5. Be flexible when it’s an all-hands-on-deck season. Your yes might be yes for a very defined season, and you can define the length of your yes.
  6. If the answer is no, say no. You don’t owe an explanation, but it’s okay to give one. Be okay with no, because it’s your yes to God.
  7. If the answer is yes “as is,” go for it and give it your all in the time you have to give it!

But maybe, just maybe, your yes needs to be the yes you can give, and if it isn’t best for the person asking, they are then free to find someone who can give the yes they need. Give a thoughtful answer either way, because Jesus says and James affirms:

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one”(Matthew 5:37 NKJV).

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment (James 5:12 NKJV).


Much love and many blessings,


Women are drawn to Shauna’s teaching and Bible studies because of her in-depth yet conversational and practical approach to scripture’s truths as they apply to the nitty-gritty of daily life. The more she studies the Bible, the greater her grasp of God’s grace and love and the deeper her passion to see others experience the power and freedom of surrendering entirely to Him. She is a wife, mother and working woman who gladly and transparently connects with women wherever they are by sharing the good, bad and challenging of her life story, past, and present. Learn more at www.shaunawallace.com.

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