Freedom in the “NO”
Published by Alycia Humphrey
Many of us have almost eliminated this little word from our vocabulary. We have allowed ourselves to be pulled into the new acronym ‘FOMO’— the fear of missing out.
Webster defines the word No as: not so —used to express negation, dissent, denial, or refusal. The word No can lead to so many other words that take on similar meanings; veto, contrary, forbidding, prohibit, rejection, withholding, and choice. Each of these words having their own specific definition and outcome of the word. So why has it become so difficult in our culture to say No?
Let’s go back to the beginning (the B’resheet) of time when The Lord put Adam and Eve in the Garden and said they could consume/eat from any tree. Yet there was only one tree they were not to eat from or else they would surely die. So why didn’t Adam and Eve obey and say No to eating from the one tree? You see dear friends you are not the only one who struggles with this little word. Even God’s own creation couldn’t say No. But why was that? Why was it that everything else God gave them in the Garden wasn't enough? Why did they insist on partaking of the one thing that the Lord knew was not good for them?
When a child reaches for a hot stove or begins to run out into the street in front of a car you will hear the parent will say “no don’t touch that” or “Stop don’t run into that street.” We can see that saying No in these examples kept the child from suffering from a burn or possibly even death. As children grow up they may begin associating No with withholding something from them that they want. Others may associate it with I shouldn’t because that is not what’s best for me.
This little two letter word No opens up a world of choices for humanity. It’s not always used just in the negative form. So why is it so hard to say?
When we take a look at modern day culture we can quickly begin to see the painful and damaging effects of saying yes when we should have said No. Unwanted pregnancies, huge debts looming over us, incarcerated individuals, unhealthy habits that lead to stress, worry, depression, and health issues that result from not properly caring for ourselves. You’re possibly even thinking of some of your own answers to add to this list right about now. So why is it we refuse to say No?
As I ponder the statement from my friend I am reminded of another word that is the byproduct of not saying No…entangled. When situations, opportunities, or questions arise that we should say No to (but we don’t) we become entangled. By definition entangled is: cause to become twisted with or caught in and involving (someone) in difficulties or complicated circumstances from which it is difficult to escape.
How many times have You or I become entangled and caught in a predicament that could have been avoided by simply saying…No?
Entanglement is like being caught in a web. Just as a spider waits for its prey after spinning the web, our inability to say No causes us to become trapped too. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us that the things that tempt us also tempt others and when we trust God He will and can give us a way to escape that temptation. This is how we become freed from the webs we weave —trusting in Christ. As we grow and our love for Christ matures we begin to truly value and hold sacred the word No.
We learn that there is Safety in No.
Today ask the Lord to show you any areas in your life where it has become difficult for you to say No. It all starts with just one No…then it becomes two and three and before you realize it you are no longer chained to ‘FOMO’ or the man pleasing spirit.
Jesus Christ has given His life for us so that we may have life and the fullness of life.
Let us pray—God I surrender my constant yes to You and ask that you would help me learn when to say No. I thank you that You are patient with me and that You are more than willing to teach me how to say No. Thank you for loving me. Amen
There's power in saying no. I used to be a yes person to everything only to find out that am getting lost and off track on something that deserves No iny life till I had t ask God to help me to say no and mean it when it's a no !
God bless you for sharing this
Very powerful and caring message. This is now my prayer. Lord help me to say no when I know I should.
Thank you for sharing and I pray the Lord will strengthen you in this journey with Him.