What is my vivid "yes"?

It's a good coffee morning. Not even 8 am yet, my husband has just left for work, and my mom is peacefully sleeping in the guest room. I'm on the front porch with my steaming cup of Yergacheffe, asking for guidance today to find "my vivid yes."

We have a self-imposed "study hall" with our community group (who is really just 1 other couple: Craig & Bonnie) every Monday night at Panera, and last Monday Steven shared something that has resonated with me every day since. It's something his Contracts & Negotiations professor taught him many years ago at Baylor:

"The more vivid of an image your 'yes' is,
the easier it is for you to say 'no'."

Hmm. After he said it, the rest of us just sat there, staring into space, trying to make our brains comprehend. We knew it was profound but couldn't make sense of it right away. Steven's professor explained it with an analogy. Anytime someone asked him to commit to another speaking event or to go on another trip and leave his family, all the professor had to do was look at the photo of his wife and kids on his desk. Then he could easily say "no" to their offer. After all, his "yes" - his valuable time with his family - was very clear.

It makes even more sense in the context of The Gospel of John, our currrent study hall topic. We've been on John Chapter 1 for months now, and we're still only about halfway through. There is just so much good stuff, so much to apply to life, if you really slow down and read it carefully...

"Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, 'I am not the Christ.'

They asked him, 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?'

He said, 'I am not.'
'Are you the Prophet?'
He answered, 'No.'

Finally they said, 'Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?'

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' '"
(John 1:15-23)

John the Baptist was pretty much a freak. But he knew his vivid "yes." He knew it without a shadow of a doubt, and he was not ashamed to speak it outwardly. He essentially said, "I am not the Answer" and was quick to add, "but let me show you the Answer." The Message calls John "the God-Revealer". Knowing his "yes" made it easy for him to say "no" to what the world offered him, and consequently everyone thought he was terribly odd. But John was also the one chosen to usher the Messiah into the world.

I want to know Truth like that.

So, what is my vivid "yes"? I sure as heck know how to say "yes" to my morning coffee and promptly become Mrs. Grumpy-Skirt if it's not brewed perfectly. I can say a surfacy "yes" to healthy eating (most of the time), living in a pretty home, and spending time outside. But to truly find it, I have to first think about what I know my "no" is.

I know I don't want to live a "cookie-cutter" American life.
I know I don't want to be materialistic.
I know I don't want to waste my life.
I know I don't want to live selfishly.
I know I don't want to believe that my house or my family or my husband or my kids are the best things in my life.
I know I don't want to die having never shared Christ to the best of my ability.

My "no's" seem pretty clear. But how quick am I to point to Christ when people ask me the same question they asked John: "Who are you?" 99.9% of the time I'll give myself a lot of credit first. "I consider myself to be creative. A pretty good writer. A thoughtful, kind person." I admit, I like to make myself sound good, and I take those qualities to heart before ever pointing out the fact that anything good in me is Christ. And what kind of testimony is that? "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)

So, how am I uncovering the Mystery for people I encounter every day? How am I showing them that I know what I will and will not be about? What is my vivid "yes," and what keeps me from saying "no" to anything but Christ?