It really is an epidemic. I got a lot of response from last week’s “Life Matters” in which I talked about protocols for helping those with Hand-Raising Syndrome (HRS) and No-No-itis (NNI) learn to say “no” without regret. One reader even made a point of calling me to thank me.
I announced then that this week’s column would address protocols for those suffering from the AGD (Ain’t Gonna Do it) or HOS (Happy On the Sidelines) syndromes, both of which result in a perpetual “no.”
AGD and HOS are not healthy “no” responses. Symptoms include loss of passion, vision and clarity, usually resulting from long-term exposure to low-trust, high-guilt performance-based atmospheres where contributions are measured, not valued.
Many once suffered from HRS or NNI and never learned to say “no” without regret. As a result, they burned out, adopted a perpetual “no” and became observers instead of participants in the adventure of life.
The protocols for addressing these are not about identifying “yes” activities, but about crafting your powerful “Yes” – one driven by your identity, not by external requests.
Jesus gave a key to responding to requests when He said, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)
Here are three questions to help you craft your powerful “Yes.”
1. The Vision Question: “What do I want my life to look like in five years?”
You may say, “I don’t know what will happen to me in the next five years.” That is symptomatic thinking. Life is not about what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us and making choices that lead us toward our vision. So, begin asking, “What deliberate choices do I need to make today that will increase the likelihood of achieving my five-year vision? What will I regret not doing if I haven’t done it in the next five years?”
2. The Passion Question: “What matters most to me?”
What keeps you up at night? I don’t mean your worries; I mean the things you dream about when awake … that get your adrenaline pumping … that you would do full time if you had unlimited resources … that incorporate your deepest values. That question led me to craft my personal mission statement: “I am an intentional explorer, seeking to bless, encourage and empower others on their journey of faith.”
3. The Legacy Question: “How do I want to be remembered?”
When your life’s journey is completed, what do you want people to say about you? When you meet God face-to-face, what do you want Him to say about you?
Our lives matter so much to God that He will help us craft our powerful “Yes.” Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
That doesn’t mean He will give us our selfish desires, it means our desires will develop out of our delight in Him.
Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.