The Best Yes Volunteer and County Fair Experience
This past spring, I hosted a six-week book study on "The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst. I'm not going to go into many details about the book but it encouraged me to give my best yes to my family, faith, work, business, friends and volunteer efforts...
This past spring, I hosted a six-week book study on "The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst. I'm not going to go into many details about the book but it encouraged me to give my best yes to my family, faith, work, business, friends and volunteer efforts. Like many areas in my life, it's a work in progress.
The book also taught me about the "small no" response. Think of it as a chalkboard: You might need to say no for now, but as your circumstances allow, you can erase that response and turn it into a yes.
Sometimes I don't say no enough. Other times, I have a lousy attitude, which means I'm not giving my best yes. It's a yo-yo struggle that involves time management and using my skills to best serve where I can and should.
A recent best yes moment came when a local fair board volunteer texted to ask if my husband and I would be willing to work a shift supervising the rides at our county fair. Our county fair is unique in that it is solely managed, maintained and operated by our fair board, which includes the carnival rides. We don't hire a traveling carnival.
As I read the text, I thought about our looming fair schedule. "No" seemed like an easy answer.
Our daughter Elizabeth was busy finishing up numerous static projects for her first fair as a 4-H member. We would need to be available to help her at 4-H Achievement Day. We were already signed up to sell raffle tickets for a preschool fundraiser on Saturday afternoon. I had already volunteered to help make sandwiches for the livestock show. To top it off, I almost forgot to sign up Elizabeth for the 4-H archery meet; thankfully, I remembered the day before the deadline.
Would a "small no" really matter this year? When I asked my husband, Nathan, who's usually not as enthusiastic as me, he said: "Sure! Friday night we can from 6 to 9 p.m. We always work rides then."
There was no hesitation or "small no." We would take our shift being carnies.
I was stressed the week leading up to the fair between work and mom-life responsibilities. Nothing earth shatteringly, just a full plate. I made a list of everything we had to accomplish. I shared about my stress with my husband, who recommended I get more sleep. I took his advice.
After a little more sleep, I tackled each task with my best yes.
The fair proved to be our most memorable yet. My parents and in-laws had several opportunities to spend time with our kids. We stayed in our campers at the lake 7 miles from our home when we weren't at the fair. By Saturday night, our commitments were fulfilled and our to-do list was all checked off.
We attended the Saturday night ranch rodeo as a family, and on Sunday we went to the ecumenical church service, soup and sandwich lunch and open livestock show.
By Sunday night I was tired but renewed. I told Nathan, "I needed the fair this year and the fair needed me." I learned from the experience I need to keep honing my scheduling skills and not overcommit myself. I learned sometimes the best way to unwind is to say yes and attend events as a family or just spend unstructured time together.
Early Monday, after the fair activities, rain fell across our drought-stricken prairie for the first time in a month. I laid awake listening to the glorious sound of rain pelting the camper. I reflected on the previous week's activities and the many people I interacted with at the county fair. If I had said no I would have missed out on experiencing what I love most about rural America.
Choosing to give your best yes requires commitment. There are organizations that need you to give your best yes. There are people who need you. And you need to be involved as well. You'll miss out on who knows what if you don't step out and give your best yes.