The One who calls you is faithful and he will do this.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
Finding the right time for our yes proceeds in a three-step progression, which we all have to take for a beautiful, excellent, and successful life. There are “key” in the sense that they open the doors to what is best for you. They represent what experts on happiness since Aristotle have called “human flourishing.”
As I’ve reflected personally and read a variety of ancient and contemporary psychologists, business gurus, theologians, philosophers and the like, as I’ve interviewed acquaintances and people I’ve admired, this progression of yes makes increasing sense.
The three steps are Listening, Testing, and Grooving.
First of all, to discover the life just beyond our nos, we listen for a deeper Voice, calling us. This involves becoming quiet and seeking to hear the God who calls. Naomi Wolf’s wisdom is worthy of repetition:
Excellence to me, is the state of grace that can descend only when one tunes out all the world’s clamor, listens to an inward voice one recognizes as wiser than one’s own, and transcribes without fear.
Even more precisely, calling is where our passion meets God’s mission. Calling implies that we hear the Voice of God calling us to do God’s mission of love and justice in the world.
The next step in the progression of yes is testing. Are you hearing some yeses? It’s time to test them out. Listening through our intuition if profound, but it’s inexact. Among many examples, I think of Albert Einstein who knew the answers to general and special relativity theory intuitively first, but had to work hard to exemplify.
This results in the third movement of yes, grooving with a healthy rhythm, where notes and silences, beats and spaces, produce beautiful music and where we move with the heartbeat of life. Here I’ve learned from the insights researchers and writers who emphasize that our lives produce excellence when there is a rhythm of rest and a rhythm of work. Then we groove, as a percussionist would say. (Since I’m a percussionist, I guess I can say it.)
These stages of yes play out in our personal life, our work, and our relationships. In our personal life, we say yes to what makes sense for the way we are created. In work, we seek to make the world a better place by using our particular gifts and passions for what God wants in the world. In our relationships, we learn how all this makes a lot more sense—and becomes a lot more fun—when we do it with others.
I call this the triangle of Live, Work, and Love. To live a healthy life, this triangle needs some level of balance among the three sides. For example, we can’t seek our own personal and career success without good relationships. It makes a flat triangle where we feel flattened in the process because we are created to love.
Finally, when we seek to live our yeses, we realize beauty in life (or the synonyms, excellence, true success, and happiness) in life. I mean “realize” somewhat literally here—beauty becomes real for us. Through listening for our calling we find the One who calls. And there, with God, will be creativity, beauty, excellence, happiness and true success. These are the qualities that come together when we find the right time for yes.