We all like being told yes in a variety of ways – we like getting our dreams jobs, acceptances to prestigious programs, or being told we won something. Receiving feels good and I think it’s really easy to be thankful for the affirmation we receive through it.
For the majority of my life, I have lived with the luxury of a consistent yes. I was chosen for elite teams and respected university programs, coveted job positions and amazing opportunities to share my learning through conferences and speeches. I have ridden the high of constant approval that always affirms me that God is good and He wants us to have the joys and desires of our hearts.
Recently, I have been learning the hard lesson of no. There comes a time where this happens for all of us, and for me, it has come all at once. I was recently turned down to be a delegate at a conference I had my eye on for a while and have received consistent rejection letters for all the scholarships and awards I so carefully and thoroughly applied for over my fall reading week. The things I was working for became things that were not meant for me. To be totally honest, with each no, I became more frustrated and confused. More hurt, right in the pride.
The thing with no, is we don’t see it the same way as yes. Yes, means new and exciting and growth. No, commonly, means shut doors and disappointment and going back to square one. Yes is good while no is bad. Yes is happy while no is sad. You get the point.
But what if we didn’t think of no in that way? What if we received it with the same joy and grateful heart that we do yes?
God’s no is a beautiful thing. It is His way of saying not yet, not exactly or not for you. No is not a closed door or something you are missing out on – it is a shift in sails to steer you in a new direction. No also sometimes saves us. It can rescue us from ourselves – our pride, our greed, our worldly vision for our lives.
I am thankful for God’s no because it teaches me unfailing trust that He has something better in store.
I am thankful for God’s no because it keeps me humble.
I am thankful for God’s no because it stops me from taking a self-driven path.
I am thankful for God’s no because it grows me in ways I am not always willing to let grow. I am thankful for God’s no because it is leading to God’s yes.
My prayer is that we can begin to receive our no’s and yes’s with an equal amount of trust and contentment, knowing that God is working ferociously through both. He is planning our path, each so particularly, that knowing each step is intended is enough to rid me of the constraints I put on myself. I want to be thankful regardless of the answer, simply because the answer is His.