About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. 1) mostly struggle with saying no … Especially when I know it’s not within my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong I love it when God is challenging enabling me to push through into a new area … It’s more when someone turns up for a meal with you bringing their dog with them … And happy for them to jump all over you while you are trying to serve lunch! (I know not very gracious … But animals have never been my thing)

    2) not so much a sin … But wrong attitude maybe? Like when at the store and an expensive item is marked wrongly, I can’t help but take advantage of it. And then having pointed it out… The following week it’s still wrongly priced. BUT I do love a bargain!

    3) The bit where Annie describes that your “yes” to something is a ” no” to something else. Looking at it this way would make it a bit easier to move away from things that are damaging and towards those that are healing. (Annies friend eating salmon because it keeps her healthy….)

    • Oh Klid, you hit the nail on the head right there:

      “2) not so much a sin … But wrong attitude maybe? Like when at the store and an expensive item is marked wrongly, I can’t help but take advantage of it. And then having pointed it out… The following week it’s still wrongly priced. BUT I do love a bargain!”

      It’s things like that, they hit home. Yikes!

      • Klid,

        If it makes you feel any better, I love animals but the scene you described is very reasonable for not liking what’s going on :).

        And so much of this study is about perspective, isn’t it? If we adjust ours, everything shifts (and usually for the better).

  2. I have had my biggest trouble with the yes/no dilemma over leading worship. I was the worship leader at my church in England for four years before moving to America. I play guitar just enough to get myself into these things, and sing reasonably well. For years at my current church, I was the default backup whenever our worship team was out of town. I lost my love for it over the years, and was at the point of saying yes, because I find it hard to say no when there is a need I can fill. Around Christmas 2012 I felt strongly convicted by the Holy Spirit that this season of my life was done, and I should say no. So I prayed hard, and determined to say no the next time I was asked. My Pastor came and asked me within about 45 minutes! It was the best yes I ever said. I was so at peace with it. It has been hard at times to say no, but also peaceful. I have said yes twice in the past two years. Last Christmas I led for a children’s holiday meal, which I wasn’t at all comfortable with. Two weekends ago I led worship (this time with my ukulele) at a women’s retreat, and that, though I didn’t want to do it, was a huge blessing. So although I am still completely at peace with my no in this area, I know the occasional yes isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    • It is a brave thing to stop saying yes every time someone asks for help. Especially in serving in ministry. So happy for you that you are able to find peace in those moments. They are moments of obedience! How novel is that? Realizing that saying “no” is just as much an act of obedience to His direction and will as saying “yes”?
      Thank you for sharing Sarah!

    • Sarah, sometimes we have to know when to say “no” so that someone else has the opportunity to step up and say “yes”. 🙂 I can completely relate to feeling like I should meet a need if it’s in my ability to do so, and I have a hard time saying “no” as well. I’m glad you found peace with your “no”.

      • Lisa hinted at my thought, too; that when you say “no” it means a “yes” for someone else. Being sensitive to particular time and place (and not feeling the need for “always”) seems wise.

  3. 1) It’s definitely harder for me to say “No.” It seeps into part of what Question 3 will answer, but saying no to others plays into something I fear: disappointing others. If I say no, they’ll think I’m not cooperative or not dependable or not willing to serve others. Saying ‘yes’ says I’m trustworthy, reliable, willing to help others, have a servant’s heart, (fill in the blank). On the flip side, I am VERY good at saying “no” to myself. I’m a much meaner person to Leigh than I could dream of being to anyone else.

    I’ll go right into #3.
    3) This fearful, disobedient daughter is repeatedly telling her loving Father that “You are not enough.” Oh I never say that aloud! I would never directly think those words. He has without yield, provided for me through some pretty dark and twisty times. I know He is faithful and trustworthy and unshakable. But my actions say that I believe He isn’t enough – my idol worship of every incapable human and his and her opinion and praise drive my shaky hands to do, my personality to bend and morph at will, my shoulders to carry whatever load is asked of me. So that they’ll “like” me. ….I hang my head in shame to admit this. It’s juvenile, it’s weak, it’s something I wish were not in my sinful DNA. I praise His glorious name that He, indeed, has carried me SO far from the level I used to be. When I was younger, I would twist and stretch for others without hesitating for a moment. The past 5 years I have – by the Spirit’s strength alone – grown leaps and bounds. I’ve discovered that boundaries are not fictional and they really work and are valuable and where have they been all my life because the hunch in my back has straightened a bit when I took off all that frivolous load that was never meant for me to carry. Because I know that I have such lack – But God – everything changes in those two words.
    I am exhausted and can’t take another step. — But God nourishes…
    I am done trusting anyone. I’ve been hurt too much before and I can’t..I can’t. — But God heals the broken shards of a heart. He constructs beauty from ashes and slivers.
    I am lost and have no idea which door I’m supposed to go through. — But God, in His wisdom, will not withhold from me. His love does not hang in the balance of this decision. He will not hold back His wisdom from me when I seek it. I cannot thwart His plan. If I remain in Him, no matter which door I walk through, He will bring great things from it. A mistake does not disqualify me. Often, there are more than two paths to the same end. If I align myself with Him, each day listening for His voice, I can rest in the freedom of choice and security that I am held. Every day. Every choice. I am safe.

    4) “We have say yes. Even when it’s scary or costly or unknown. We don’t screw up by saying yes to the wrong things; we screw up by letting all the floats in the parade pass us by and never jumping on one of them for a ride to the end.” (p.101) [Insert “We don’t screw up by saying NO to the RIGHT things.” in that same lovely sentence. And breathe deep and free.
    “Say yes to the situations that stretch you and scare you and ask you to be a better you than you think you can be.” (p. 105)
    THIS: “But brave people learn to say no.” !!!!!! YES, oh how healing words soothe an open-wound heart. Oh that I settle deep under the covers of this and sigh in relief. Mmmm.
    “I know what God can do, but even if He doesn’t, I still won’t worship idols. I will still worship the one true God.” — Even if people leave me, choose to walk away, I won’t worship his and her opinion. I won’t contort to please them if it means rejecting His truth. I won’t disappear into a man-made moniker because I already have an identity that is sealed in wood and nails and rocks rolled away.

    Oh that I can soak into these truths, every day anew. Because I see my strength increasing as I surrender ONLY to Him. As I learn what His love means, and how I can hold myself as His.

    • I typed in a distracted hurry. So many typos. 🙁 I hate that. Sorry! If you could decipher that, I applaued you. 😉

      • Dear Leigh, I applaud you for sharing. I hear the pain in the rush of your words. Pain in the hurry and self condemnation of your own typos, as you seek for approval from those around you, I encourage you. Stop. Be Still. Jesus Loves you Just as you are. He made you and what did he say after making each thing in our world…the light…the plants…the animals…the people…He said, “It is good.” Someone once told me, when the dishes are undone on the counter and I’m exhausted, learn to let them rest. They will still be there. Everything will be ok if I rest first and leave the dishes for later. So, I practiced sitting in the kitchen while it was a mess reading a book until I no longer felt the need to clean the kitchen. Until that no longer drove me in spite of my tiredness. Eventually, the kitchen was cleaned. Eventually, I had energy to do it again. I worked in a rested state no longer driven by my need for approval of…a clean house, a clean kitchen, perfection, etc. Blessings and Peace, Leigh

          • Leigh,

            Honey…I FELT the weight of your words, your heart, your past hurts. I’ve often said I’m a recovering people-pleaser, so I KNOW that need to do do do without discretion.

            BUT…to me, it seems like you’ve really begun processing, learning and applying. Those are BIG things…and reading blessed ME! 🙂 Thank you! (especially that your typos drove you crazy; I resemble that remark…;) )

  4. Whether the answer is yes, or no, if that answer requires me to be brave, put myself out there so to speak, It’s a challenge. This week I made dinner rolls to share with friends at dinner. Even saying yest to that simple little thing felt like a challenge. I wanted to do it. I was eager and willing to share. But, the challenge comes…the brave comes…in following through. In actually getting those homemade dinner rolls wrapped up, in the car, and up to the door of my friends house.

    Same thing. While sitting and visiting with friends, I actually speak up about something. I know what I have to say might be helpful in this situation. I know it has the potential to bring comfort and relief. But, it’s up to me to say yes. It’s up to me, because no one is going to ask me. They don’t know to ask me.

    I think the bravest yes and no are the ones we offer without being asked. It comes from a willing heart, a pure heart. Not because of guilt. Not because we should. It comes because the spirit moves in us and we are moved. Following this movement of the Holy spirit inside me…this takes courage.

    My favorite quote…”I know what God can do, but even if he doesn’t…”

    • “I think the bravest yes and no are the ones we offer without being asked. It comes from a willing heart, a pure heart. Not because of guilt. Not because we should. It comes because the spirit moves in us and we are moved. Following this movement of the Holy spirit inside me…this takes courage.” <– This…oh lovely. Such wisdom here. I will keep that with me. Spirit-truth. Thank you for speaking brave.

      • Sarah,

        I haven’t even thought of that–the “yesses” we say in response to Holy Spirit nudges. You’ve given me something new to ponder…. 🙂

  5. I have a hard time saying “yes”. I’m an introvert, and while I can make small talk with the best of them, I have a hard time really getting out and getting to know people and make connections. And how can I meet needs, how can I allow God to work through me to bless others, if I don’t know others well enough to know what their needs are? I feel a blog post coming on about this topic. It’s really heavy on my mind lately.

    Right now, there’s one big area where I’m feeling that “God is not enough.” I was out of work for eight months, we’re behind on our house payment, trying to work something out to keep our house, trying to catch up on bills (my new job pays a fair bit less than my old job, so even with us both working, it’s not like we’re flush with cash), and BAM, we get a letter from the IRS saying that hey, we’ve refigured your taxes from 2012, and we think you owe us another whackload of money! Money that we don’t have. So the trusting of God’s provision is a real, ongoing struggle for me, because in my human mind, I can’t make the math work, and I fear that we’ll lose our house and uproot our kids, and I’m constantly reminding myself that God knows the outcome, God won’t leave us, God is in control of this situation. (And the thought occurred to me that sometimes it feels so much easier to ask for prayer for, say, health concerns or marital problems than financial issues. I don’t know why that is.) It is hard, hard, hard for me to just let go of not knowing where money will come from between paychecks to put gas in the cars or food on the table.

    • Lisa,

      This IS a hard season, friend. Human response is understandable, and because you can’t SEE God, it’s hard to trust in this area. My, how he’s stretching you and your family. (And I’m praying for you as I write…). Your first paragraph demonstrates great wisdom, though–how can you meet needs (and say Yes or No) when you don’t people well enough to know their needs?? Thing is, it works the other way, too…for people to know YOU.

      🙂

  6. Q1. My hardest time is saying “no” to whatever made of chocolate. Even when I made the decision not to eat between meals or I have a no-carbohydrates day. And my hardest time in saying “yes” is to applying for a driving course (lessons).

    Q2. I’m often guilty in saying YES to a late movie watching, when I should’ve said NO and get some more sleep. The result is fatigue on the next day. This is something I’m struggling with.

    Q4. “Saying yes changes everything. Walking through the door, agreeing in the moment. Sometimes ii is just what is needed to show you the next big yes.”
    “Say yes to Jesus in every way – every chance you get.”

  7. I have a harder time saying Yes. Yes usually takes me out of my comfort zone and my introverted personality really struggles outside of my zone. Yes leads to social events where I’m surrounded by people I don’t know (remember the introvert part?). Yes leads to awkward first dates and serving in a ministry where I feel that I am in over my head. But I know that many times God has blessed that Yes and made it an incredible experience.

    This book has been water to my thirsty soul. I have recently been presented with an opportunity to teach English overseas and the thought terrifies me. I’ve been struggling with the decision to go or to stay and Annie’s words have prompted me to consider how my fear may be controlling my decision rather than the will of God.

    I went on a short road trip over the weekend with my brother and took Let’s All Be Brave to read in the car. I had just finished these two chapters and had closed the book so the words could marinate in my mind. My brother had a Christian radio station playing but I wasn’t paying attention to the music until I heard the words “You make me brave.” Some of you might be familiar with the song You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music but I’d never heard it before. The bridge goes on to say, “You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” Needless to say I’ve had this song I repeat ever since! I shouldn’t be surprised at God’s timing of placing that song in my life at exactly the right time, but the fact that He loves me enough to do it still amazes me.

    Favorite quote: “Say yes to the moments that will only come once.” (pg. 105)

  8. Q1. Do you have a harder time “saying yes” or “saying no”?

    Annie’s chapter on “saying no” was so convicting — my area of struggle is the same as hers. I read that chapter while sitting in my car in the parking lot before a marketing event at my job. Ten minutes later, there I was standing at a desert table with these decadent truffles. Why can’t I just eat one? Chocolate is like my kryptonite. I think I am motivated more by my flesh than by anything. I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning because I fall in this area all the time.

    I am trying to be wiser about what I say “yes” to. I try to ask myself “what really matters in light of eternity”? This weekend for example, I had a friend who requested that her birthday dinner be at my home. Can I tell you what a scary mess my house was? I decided to just do a little light cleaning (although I need to scrub just about every dirty, dusty surface), and keep things simple. (I remembered what Shauna Niequist said about hospitality, and I tried not to get myself into a tizzy). I said “yes” to a peaceful weekend with my friends — I let go of my expectations and didn’t get stressed. Everyone brought a dish, and I put together a salad bar with lots of toppings — it was easy peasy stuff. And as we sat out back, talked, and listened to each other’s stories, I was so glad that i had said yes — because my people matter to God and they are worthy of my time. They matter so much more than my to do list.

    Q2. Tell us about a time when you said Yes when you should have said No (or visa versa)?

    There have been times when I’ve persisted in friendships and relationships that are no longer healthy for me because I’ve been too afraid to let go. I have tunnel vision, and I sometimes can’t see how letting go can birth something new and beautiful. Now that I am a bit older and wiser, I realize that it’s ok to say “This doesn’t work for me anymore.” I don’t have to be “besties” with everybody.

    I think if a friendship is sucking the life out of you, that it’s ok to say, “I need to work on myself for a bit, so let’s take a break.” There is a fine line between encouraging a friend and being co-dependent in our relationships.

    Q3. I think that faith is going to be tested. Will I still follow after Christ if He says no to something I really wanted to happen? Disappointment and unmet expectations are incredibly hard pills to swallow. I know that God can do “anything,” but when He doesn’t do “my thing,” will I still cling to Him? I always try to tell myself that God knows better than I do what is best for me. I find myself praying this one sentence prayer a lot — “Lord, help my unbelief.”

    Q4. Share your favorite quote from Chapters 9 & 10. “There is always going to be a no that may be expensive but right” (p. 117).

  9. This middle part of the book, for me, is where it turned from being “a great book I read once,” to “yup.. I’ll be revisiting this often because it is foundational to my life.” How do I know? All the tears.

    Q1: I have the toughest time even answering this question, so I’d say “yes” and “no” are at a photo finish level of difficulty! Guilt, opinions of others/the fear of letting them down, and money: those are the top things I try NOT to let sway a decision too much. Yet they have a big pull on me.

    Q2: I should have said “no” to continuing on as a music major a lot sooner. I kept pushing and ignoring that inner voice saying that my priorities were way off and I was headed for burnout. God was trying to get my attention, but I kept going. And eventually ended up with physical problems with my hands that continue to this day. It’s changed my dreams, the direction of my life, and limited me. I’ve also been strengthened, deepened and refined by the struggle. I do wish I could change some things. But I’m also very thankful for who I am today because of it.

    Q3: trusting Him to provide what I need.

    Q4: “I know God can answer this prayer, but even if He doesn’t…” and how Annie said in the video, “It would be much easier if we were questioning whether He could do it” and “we get stronger by wrestling, you don’t get stronger by walking away from the hard questions.”

  10. Q1. For me, saying no is definitely harder. No when it comes to others because I don’t want to disappoint or let down anyone, or seem “uncool” to anyone. No when it comes to myself because I lack self-discipline. Luckily I have grown alot in this area over the past few years thanks to an ever-growing faith and supportive friends & family, but I still have a long way to go.

    Q3. The biggest sin I struggle with is worry. I have bad anxiety and find myself having to stave off panic attacks, the triggers of which are usually large group settings like meetings or movies or church, or when driving over bridges. I let the fear of what could happen (bad panic attack) overwhelm me in these situations instead of simply lifting up my voice in prayer, instead of simply relying on the Holy Spirit’s strength in me. I focus on wrong thoughts when I should be focusing on “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” Phillipians 4:8. That deceptive whisper is so hard to ignore, it is a daily struggle. My Mom once told me that whenever I feel anxious, I should start praying – pray for everyone I know starting at the beginning of the alphabet and working my way through. In the heat of the moment I can often forget to turn to God and pray, but when I do remember, I can breeze through the situation without a second thought.

    Q4. “Say yest to Jesus in every way – every chance you get”

    “I know what God can do, but even if He doesn’t, I still won’t worship idols. I will still worship the one true God”

  11. Q1. I have a hard time saying “Yes!” to God because of what other people might think about me. We’ve recently made a BIG commitment to shed this & say YES to God about our $$$. It’s been a huge blessing. Nothing less. In other words, I fear saying YES when the world is going to shout a resounding NO. The funny thing is that “NO” never happens. It’s just a lie!! And, even if it does echo, it’s but a tiny drip compared to an overflowing faucet from Him.

    Q2. I said “yes” to leading the children’s ministry for our church during Celebrate Recovery just under 2 years ago. While I LOVE ministry, I quickly realized that it just was the wrong timing and the wrong fit for our family! My husband and I now serve for AWANA together and it’s just nice to know that we finally found where we fit and we love it. It’s been a blessing to both of us to serve those kids.

    Q3. Little sins. Probably being impatient with my children and being hard on myself about being a mom. I need to purposefully realize that I am JUST the mom that God called for those boys!

    Q4: But courage does not equal right; courage equals stepping out and trying.

  12. I love the quote: “God is Enough!”
    I have never considered this before. I have considered that I am enough through Him, but never thought that He is Enough … That is to say, not that I never thought He was, but rather had never put it into those words. He is Enough. So much so, that I don’t need the opinions of others. I don’t need the influences of the world. All I need is to trust in the knowledge I already have, that God is Enough!

  13. Little sins: There is someone in my life who hurt me very deeply, and sometimes I still fantasize about her being hurt…I hate admitting that…and it really is mostly only happening when I am really hurting, but that doesn’t make it okay–God loves me in spite of my sins, and the command to love my enemy didn’t have a disclaimer of unless they have hurt you really bad and you are scared of them…

    • I have struggled with something like this. It’s not easy. I’m sorry you were hurt so deeply. One thing I found helped me. I started praying blessings on the person every time I felt the hurt and would rather not bless. It wasn’t easy. In fact, I’ve been practicing it for 6 years now. Whenever I feel anger, jealousy, bitterness. I pray blessings on the people involved. It has helped my heart.

      Dear Lord, please give comfort to VA. Heal her heart as only you can do. Bless her for sharing and give her peace. In Jesus name I as these things. amen.

  14. A favorite quote”I don’t know how, and I can’t put the right words to it, but I know that the courageous sacrifies are always worth it. ” (from page 132).

  15. Q1. Do you have a harder time “saying yes” or “saying no”? I definitely have a harder time saying no. I don’t want to let people down, and if I say no, then I feel I’ve let them down. I also love to be busy, and I want to help everybody. It seems that history points to me caring about the opinions of friends and family more than God. The little yeses that require discipline in my life? Saying yes to eating right. Saying yes to spending time with my kids. Saying yes to exercise. Saying yes to daily time with God.

    Q3. The little sins I’m struggling with? Not following where God has called me to for the last 12 years. All little “nos” which has culminated into one big “no” that needs to change. My struggle? Money.

    Q4. Favorite quote: “What is waiting for you on your map just on the other side of the next yes?”

  16. Both of these chapters were so convicting for me and very timely. I’m so thankful I read them when I did. Thank you, Annie for writing them. 🙂
    God keeps reaffirming an area I need to say yes in. Even though it’s a scary jump of faith for me. I have to believe He is enough and big enough to do this through us. Saying yes to starting the adoption process and trusting Him for the funds. Exciting but scary for this control freak! 😉
    I was also convicted that I need to be willing to say no, for health reasons, even though cutting out unhealthy foods is not easy! Saying yes to a healthier body and more energy, even if it means saying no to sugar, will be worth it in the long run. Thanks for the courage to say yes to this too, Annie!
    Blessings to you all as we seek to choose the best yeses and nos together!

  17. Yes is SO hard … I don’t always trust myself enough to know whether I’m hearing His voice or my own… Believing in God and having faith is brave. This book has opened my eyes to that. I know I can grow my faith by knowing our loving God and staying in His word, but books like Annie’s can help me realize my brave.

  18. My step father has recited “The Road Not Taken” at different times over the years. I could hear his rich voice as Annie continued on “the road is always going to split.” Yes, the road is always going to split. I watched my 26 yo daughter wrestle through quitting college for a season or to press on. She had to be brave and believe that either decision was ok. For her, courage wasn’t about right and wrong (either decision was full of stuff) but just making the decision and moving forward, trusting that she can’t mess up God’s plan. As I reflect on this, I am thinking I need to tell her I think she is brave when I see her later this morning 🙂

  19. Well, here I am again because earlier i commented about the next set of chapters instead of this time’s set. 🙂
    In answer to question #1 I have more trouble saying yes. I tend towards timid and also see obstacles more often than not.
    Favorite quote from the yes chapter: ” Say yes to Jesus in every way-every chance you get.” (page 105). Favorite quote from the no chapter:”I try to think a lot about how much the people in the Bible didn’t know. With that filter in place, we can identify courage much easier in the face of the unknown.” (page 112)