Friday, January 14, 2011

The year of yes.

It's kind of terrible, but I can't actually remember whether I made new year's resolutions for 2010 or not. I suppose it doesn't really matter; it would appear that God has his own secret resolutions and goes about setting up little sovereign obstacle courses so I learn the things that he wants me to.

Around December, I started thinking about what 2010 had looked like for me. In spite of the lack of resolutions (or forgetting the presence of resolutions, if I made any), I'd noticed a pattern in the days and seasons and happenings of my year. The theme that kept appearing was the idea of saying yes. And now that I've been pondering it for a while, I can almost imagine God writing the resolutions list for me. Right at the top of it: This the year that Danielle will learn to say yes. I think of it as 'The Year I Said Yes When I Wanted to Say No'.

You should know that I'm pretty much a total wimp. While I am usually composed during more traditional high-pressure situations, I am a complete fraidy-cat about some of the most simple things. Most of all (it would appear), I'm afraid of the unfamiliar, of being placed outside my comfort zone.

Usually, I've been able to get by with avoiding the comfortless zone as much as possible, but in 2010 I began to get the message loud and clear that being scared of something is never enough of a reason to say no. While wisdom may dictate something is dangerous or unhealthy and should be avoided, simple fear is not a legitimate motivation for taking a step back. With that sad discovery, my whole argument for avoiding many terrifying things was pulled out from under me.

This meant that I lived alone. I travelled insterstate by myself. I drove to unfamiliar places armed only with my totally incompetent map-reading skills. I killed spiders and cockroaches. I went to conferences without a pal for support. I called tradesmen and talked to them about stupid things of which I know nothing, things like pool pumps and stuff. I accepted favours even when I had nothing to give in return. I made sudden u-turns into strange territory. I answered the phone when I didn't recognise the number (we have already established I'm a baby, yes). I had to sew my mouth shut to avoid making disclaimers or explaining away just for the sake of feeling secure. I was sometimes even -- wait for it -- spontaneous.

Of course, these are all things most normal grown ups do every day of their lives without batting an eyelid. But in the past, I've mostly wanted to say no. For 2010, God decided this was no longer acceptable and -- you know what? -- most of that stuff turned out to be incredibly less scary than I'd imagined. Turns out it's actually fun looking after a house all by yourself. And travelling alone means you meet the people around you instead of just spending all the time chatting to your companions. You can fake that you know what you're talking about when it comes to tradesmen. As for map-reading, practice doesn't necessarily make perfect but it does make passable. And I might even like driving a little bit. Of course, killing spiders is still icky and disgusting and terrifying and sickening but -- I do know that I can actually do it without throwing up.

So in 2010 I learnt to say yes, if not always then certainly more than I have done in the past. God had a better resolution in mind than any I could have come up with, and I'm so thankful. I've got no clue what's going to happen in 2011 (my friend Anastasia predicted that 2011 will be the year of saying no, which made me think about the principle of saying no to good things so you can say yes to the best ones). It'll be exciting to see what unfolds.

* * * * *


Amanda (1) -- thank you! It's good to be back, and dry.

Samantha R -- let's hope your rain isn't as epic as that here!

Amanda (2) -- thanks for your prayers. This state needs them. x

Katie -- love! I hope your own road trip was wonderful.


  1. Great post! You're writing is so nice and clear and smooth.

  2. Isn't it wonderful when you can look back on a year and actually see, in bold print, the lessons God has taught you? It was encouraging to read this and see how the Lord has led you and showed you so much, and also to hear about all the amazing things you have done - solo! Praying that this year will also be just as encouraging and challenging! Love Abbie

  3. So people think I'm brave and stuff because I moved alone to Russia not knowing the language, but I am totally scared to do things like call a plumber, figure out how to activate my credit card from overseas, or schedule a haircut. Really. Most of the time I don't answer when an unknown number calls my phone. If someone rings my doorbell I pretend I'm not home. So, yeah, I'm a wimp, too.

    Now I'm encouraged to say yes to scary things more often, too. (*sigh* ;-) )

  4. Wow, you sound just like me. I'm such a baby and a wimp too.
    I think 2011 will be the year of saying "Yes" for me. Maybe not in the way most people think (Yes, I Do!) but in the way of stepping out and being brave and diving in with both feet. Or uh head first ;)

    I'm already doing that.... in little ways! Yesterday, I signed up for a photo course; just basic but it was scary to say "Yes" and pay the money and commit. But it was good for me. And I have no regrets... yet. ;)

  5. Are you sure you weren't talking about me? Because a lot of that sounded awfully familiar. :O)

  6. A lovely post Danielle.


  7. I have found someone else who is afraid of moving on from the comfort zone! Your post echoed my 2010. Thank you for putting this phobia of new things into concise words along with encouragement. I'm accompanying a college choir, and although I'm still shaking at each rehearsal, I am doing a NEW THING!


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