About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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  1. Mary, too often I am quick to volunteer to fill a need at church before praying and thinking. Although service is admirable, the enemy loves nothing more than servants of God so burned out that they quit. So, I try (emphasis on try) to remember to wait 24 hours before I say yes. I am learning that it is okay to say “Can I let you know tomorrow?” or “I’ll have to get back with you.”

  2. Mary,
    Wonderful post! I must say that I have finally learned to live in the season of “Maybe”, but it’s only taken me 52 years to get there (I’m a slow learner). As a reformed perfectionist and “Yes” sayer, I’ve learned that everything that is offered to me is not necessarily God’s will for my life. Maybe, what I pass on is an opportunity for someone else to bring glory to God. Who am I to hog all the good stuff?? I applaud your season of “Maybe”. I wish I could have read your post, oh say 20 years ago! Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, that’s exactly what I faced – all good things are not God’s best for me. Uggghhhh, that’s so hard to truly accept! It may take me a couple more decades to really get this concept, but I’m trying! 🙂

  3. I am like Grace – quick to volunteer before really praying about an opportunity. I think a lot of times if I would just really stop and pray about it, God would give me the answer whether it be yes or no, more quickly than I think.

    Great post!

    • You know, it’s interesting that you say that about God giving us an answer. It makes me wonder how much of my quick yes tendency is a lack of faith that God will show me the best answer. As in – “I might as well say yes, because nobody is going to tell me what to do…” Hmmm….that’s really making me think!

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! (Okay, slightly strange way to begin a comment to a post about the word maybe). In college, I would say yes to practically every opportunity available. All it did was leave me exhausted and frustrated. I would read about resting in the Lord and think it somehow didn’t apply to me. Yet as a post-grad I’m slowly learning that not every opportunity is one that God wants me to take. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Lesley, I love that you’re figuring this out now – and so enthusiastic about it, too. 🙂 Seriously, I wish I could’ve started learning this one years ago (but am thankful for the conviction now!).

  5. YES! This is my year to cut back. Thank you for these words. Mine is due to health though. I need to “wind up” some projects, resign from some organizations or at least from my roll in them, and lower my stress level. I am having some problems with my vision and I want to concentrate on certain things. I am carefully asking God where to go so that I am still in His will, actually I think I will be more in His will once this is done. Thank you for your words.

    • Becky, it sounds like you’re being extremely wise about how you approach your new season. What a blessing to find yourself more in His will despite health issues.

  6. I tend to dive quickly into different career choices. I say to myself–Hmm that sounds interesting yay let’s do it. Then after working in that field for a while I realize that I don’t like it, not good at it & want out. Do I pray before making the leap–heck no!

    In a sense I am just like you all. Now if we could all be in a season of Maybe–& pray more about volunteering/jobs whatever that would solve a myriad of problems & truly frustrate the evil one! 🙂

  7. OH this is SO me! I am often way overcommitted because I’m a party girl and just want to be busy and have fun ALL THE TIME. Recently ,I’ve slowed down and changed my ways though. We’ve just started attending a new church, and since we were VERY active and involved in our old church, we decided to put the restraints on and hold back on every ministry we wanted to JUMP into right away. It’s been about 6 months now, and I recently got an e-vite to a lovely women’s ministry event. I had three choices of response – Yes, No, or Maybe. Amazingly, I had the presence of mind to guide my computer mouse from the Yes box over to the Maybe box, and clicked it. Success! I then took some time to find out a few things; to find out if I could actually move a few things around to clear my schedule so I could go, and also to see if, after a little time passed, I even WANTED to go.

    Turns out I DID want to go, and when I atended the event last night, I had a blast and even signed up to do more. It was a big difference approaching this event and ministry as a “maybe” instead of a “sign me up-I’ll do anything” person. It’s taken years to learn this lesson but it’s so worth it!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Beth. What a difference intentionality – and seeking God’s wisdom and guidance – can make!

  8. Yes, THIS year was declared a Year of No.

    After reading Holley Gerth’s You’re Already Amazing and discovering what God was doing in my heart, I was able to say Yes! to things regarding the ministry and the people God was leading me to and No! to all other requests. The other requests were good, possibly even wonderful things, but they just didn’t fit with how God made ME. At this halfway point of the year, I am learning that I must even limit my Yes! in order to do the Yes! things WELL. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me today that I have permission to say No sometimes!

  9. This is me! You’ve described me to a “T”!
    Season of Maybe, huh? Yes! I’ll do it with you!
    🙂
    Seriously, though, your words speak for me too, and I do want to learn how to say “let me think about it” before taking on commitments.

  10. Love the Rachael Ray comment. I think of her crazy ways often when I’m getting things out of the fridge. Now, I’ll think of this post. I’ve learned through working with students to let them finish what they are saying (or complaining about). Sometimes they are asking and will need an answer, but sometimes they are just venting. Also, sometimes when they are asking a question about content, when they ask, they can explain what they think if I wait. So, no “years of yesses” but “semesters of pauses (before answering)” has helped me.

  11. I’m a recovering ‘yes’ woman myself, having spent the past 31 years of my life saying yes to please others and feel worth-while. It is indeed a tiring way to live.
    Learning how to wait to answer is my new method – because if I give myself 10 minutes to half a day before saying either yes or no, I’ve usually allowed a good enough time to seek God, weigh the pros-and-cons as well as look at my calendar.
    Thanks for showing that I am not alone in this process.

  12. A year of MAYBE… That is such a beautiful concept.

    I’m definitely a “yes” person, and always find myself overworked, stressed, and burned out. So I resolve to clear my plate and start saying “no” to everything, which just leaves me feeling useless and discouraged.

    But perhaps by saying “maybe,” I can begin to take the time to think things through and really consider if it is the right thing to add on. I can practice moderation – something I have never really been good at but know I should work on.

    Thank you for your words and your insight.