Yes equals love in my world. No means rejection. Hearing no delivers a suckerpunch leaving me on the ground gasping for air, vulnerable to full attack.
I’m not sure how this faulty thinking rooted itself in my life. Maybe I was born with this disposition, perhaps childhood experiences influenced my thinking, or maybe I subconsciously chose to believe this way. Equating no with unlove created an overextended, trying too hard version of me.
This always-saying-yes and looking-to-be-loved-girl struggles. This crazy outlook sneaks itself out of my heart worming its way into my everyday actions. I struggle, unable to implement hard boundaries, enforce firm rules and execute consistent behaviors.
Thankfully, I belong to a really amazing God. One who empowers as He enlightens. As God reveals wrong beliefs and bad habits, He unveils strategies to combat and replace them with wisdom found in His Word. Scripture heard many times before breathes life into sin’s well-worn path deep in my heart.
“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you…in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3, ESV
When my yes to God began to sound a lot like no, visions of an empty-ish calendar danced in my head. Fear of missing out waged war against relief from too many commitments. Instead of producing deprivation, saying no has developed a contentment I’ve only dreamed of possessing. Fulfillment came from this unlikely place of my withholding.
I now find no less restrictive than yes. A yes allows only one thing. A no only rules out the one. This roaming within no engages me in unique ways. Wandering within the boundaries of no’s inspires me to explore my own creativity, push myself to new limits, accept previously unknown challenges.
Saying no can still feel bad, wrong, weak. Yet in the no, I discover an uncommon strength. The more I exercise my no-muscle, the stronger my yes-muscle becomes. Saying no to the right things builds a certain momentum; and this momentum unleashes opportunity to say yes to all the right things.
Because I dare to say no, I get to say yes–yes to what I’m called to do, created to do, love to do. I’m discovering fulfillment in the very opportunities God reveals to me when I heed His no. Deeds created long ago….”For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10, NLT
Exercising my no transforms my yes. My old washed out, overused yes enables its recipients. My new, strong answer, be it yes or no, empowers as it’s extended.
God couples Life experiences with my growing faith to enable me to see beyond His no’s. When God tells me no, I know I am loved. And because I am loved in God’s no, I can love others with my own no.