Every night when the girls are tucked in (and Sofie is fidgeting all over the place until she literally passes out after falling out of bed 30 times and asking for Matt to "shnuggle" her 60 times), we read a chapter from one of their Sonlight books, "Leading Little Ones to God."
It's been a great book, going through who God is and how sin spoiled the world, God's love, what Jesus did, how to pray, why we go to church, communion, Jesus' return, etc.
But a few weeks ago, I read them chapter 61, and as soon as I read the title, they both popped up, horrified. "God's Children Learn to Say NO!"
"NO!" both girls gasped together.
I have inadvertently taught them that saying NO is a bad thing.
We do not say "no" to Mommy and Daddy or Gertha or Micheline or Miss Emily or Mr. Phil, but we say, "OK!" and do it with a happy heart. We do not say "no" when someone needs something or asks us to do something or asks us to share something. And we definitely do not say "no" to God! They've learned a million times that we say "yes" to God and His Word, and when we are struggling, we ask Him to HELP us say "Yes!"
So it was with great interest that we all read and listened in on the author's encouragement that when we are tempted to do wrong, to believe lies, or to fall into sin, that we learn to say NO. The scripture passage focused on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the situation they were put in before an idol, and the way that they refused to bow down as the crowd around them, under threat of death, did.
They said "NO" to the king. It was not easy. But they were brave young men. The Bible tells us about these three young men because they dared to say "No" and the Bible tells us that the great king even praised God when he saw how God took care of the brave young men.
The chapter went on to encourage Lil and Sof to literally say "NO" out-loud when they are tempted, when they want to sin, when they know something is wrong, or when they know something is happening that should not be to themselves or to someone else.
Sometimes it is hard to say "no," I read to them to finish, but the Lord Jesus will help us when we ask Him.
This chapter has surprisingly come back to me time and time again these past weeks.
Turns out I too have gotten so stuck on YES that I've forgotten that maybe He has some NO to speak into my life!
This is probably dumb, but I've been trying to be very deliberate about saying NO to anything that is not Christ's reality or God's altogether different stand. I'm not talking about saying "yes" too often and committing to too much or anything like that. Not talking about yelling "NO" at the Oreo's Aunt Brenda gave us, though that would probably be a good idea.
I'm talking about saying--many times even out loud-- "NO" to thoughts that I KNOW are not HIS reality, even if I'm tempted to make them MY reality. And I've been asking Him to SHOW me, clearly and immediately, those NO's and to help me to bravely NO them.
For a brain like mine, that means releasing myself from responsibility of the happiness and well-being of literally and absolutely every single person in my life every single day.
NO. Not mine. HIS.
For me, it means saying NO to crazy expectations that everything is going to be perfect and everyone is going to be happy or else I have FAILED.
For me, it means saying NO to holding on to hurt, to frustrations, to pain. NO. Not mine. His.
For me, it means saying NO to the many distractions the enemy uses just to keep us from the Lord.
For me, it means saying NO to worry, out-loud, each time it creeps in.
Tonight, a godly woman far more wise and experienced than me, shrugged her shoulders at me.
how dare she
I was explaining a particularly painful situation in my life, and she listened well, and then said no more.
Something snapped within me as her simple, "Let that go and move on different" resonated in my Spirit as His truth. That was exactly what I've been needing, and didn't even know was a possible response to the situation.
I'm sharing tonight because it is very possible that it is His "NO" that our lives need right now. That we can speak the NO into someone else's life... maybe someone who WANTS and NEEDS to hear it, but we are always too afraid to say it. Because most often, it's far easier to say "yes"...or nothing at all.
May we be brave enough to say it...brave enough to NOT allow it...brave enough to NOT dwell on it...brave enough to NOT think it, to not do it, to not hold onto it, and to speak His NO to others.
The more we are in His Word, the more we will recognize HIS "no," and know when it should resound in our own lives.