From a small newsletter to a thriving ministry, Lysa TerKeurst has listened to God’s calling in her life and created Proverbs 31 Ministries, making an impact in the lives of millions of women around the world. Lysa speaks with us today about how to give your “best yes” when opportunities present themselves, and learning to say “no” along the way.
4word: How did Proverbs 31 Ministries come to be? Were you surprised at its success?
Lysa: Proverbs 31 Ministries actually began as a small newsletter that a few women and I assembled on the den floor with our kids playing all around us. We started the ministry because as new moms and wives, we desperately needed help connecting our lives with God’s truth. And to be honest, over 20 years later, I still do!
Since those early days, Proverbs 31 Ministries has transformed into an online ministry that reaches millions of women all over the world. We offer free daily devotions, online Bible studies, our First 5 app, radio shows, social media encouragement, and more.
Looking back now, it still surprises me that we’ve come this far! But, every step of the way, I’ve just continued to lean into God’s Word and what He has for us.
4word: How do you find balance amidst your busy schedule?
Lysa: The truth is, I have to say “no” to many things so I can give my “best yes” to the unique things that God has called me to. This doesn’t come naturally to me because I struggle with being a people pleaser! I wrote a book about this called The Best Yes where I share Biblical ways to prioritize in a world full of endless demands.
4word: What are some ways professional Christian women can seek and secure rest and peace in their lives?
Lysa: I think we all have to look at the rhythm of our lives and really decide what we want it to look like. Then we have to make a plan and intentionally take steps to lead us in that direction.
For example, I love being in ministry, but I realized I had a tendency to prioritize projects over people. As a result, I was really lacking peace in my life and relationships. So our family started a tradition called Monday Night Dinners. We all gather together at our sticky farm table to share a meal and spend time together. It’s a constant in the midst of everyone’s busy schedules and our favorite day of the week. Getting intentional with this part of my life has pointed me toward the deep soul rest that I’ve longed for!
4word: How attainable is the “Proverbs 31 Woman?” Can any woman adopt her traits?
Lysa: It’s funny that you ask that – when we started this ministry I was afraid women would see us as “perfect” because of our name! In all reality, we’re just a rag-tag team of passionate, imperfect girls dedicated to living out the truth found in God’s Word.
Honestly, I admire the Proverbs 31 Woman. I really do. And I think most of us are striving to be like her in different ways. But instead of striving for the elusive goal of perfection, one of our core values here at the ministry and in our own lives is making imperfect progress: small steps of progress wrapped in grace.
4word: If you could tell a professional Christian woman (single, married, or working mom) three things, what would they be?
- Give God the first moments of your day. When we wake up, our mind is like a dry sponge. What we soak up first will saturate us most deeply. If we don’t want to be consumed with the stresses of our day, we must soak up what will renew our mind instead: God’s Word. Even if it’s only for five minutes, we’ve got to put the world on hold until we’ve checked in with God. Our team at Proverbs 31 Ministries developed an app called First 5 to help you do just that!
- Say “yes” to God. I’ve seen God move in amazing ways ever since I began living a life radically obedient to Him. Even when it feels uncomfortable, choose His way above your own. You won’t regret it!
- Stay in the plans God has for you. It can be tempting to look around at what everyone else is doing and compare your life against theirs. Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else’s circumstances, I remind myself out loud, “I am not equipped to handle what they have—both good and bad.” When I want the good things someone has, I must realize that I’m also asking for the bad that comes along with it. It’s always a package deal. And usually if I just give a situation enough time to unfold, I thank God I didn’t get someone else’s package.
4word: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Lysa: You are loved by God. On those days this doesn’t feel real to you, recite this out loud:
I was created by God, who formed me because He so much loved the very thought of me. When I was nothing, He saw something and declared it good. Very good. And very loved. God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live… loved. (From Lysa’s book, Uninvited.)
We love Lysa’s advice on keeping your priorities in check with what God wants for your life! Do you need to learn to start saying “no” in favor of giving your “best yes?” If you know another woman in your life who needs to learn this lesson, share Lysa’s story with her!
Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives with her family in North Carolina. Connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.