When a weighty expectation is placed on a child, the weight becomes too heavy to bear and eventually crushes her soul. She learns from a young age that if she’s ever to secure love she must meet the expectations of those around her. She aims to please and loses herself in meeting the needs of everyone around her.
Saying, “Yes” is her automatic response because she knows that’s what They want.
But she doesn’t know what she wants.
And she doesn’t really know what God wants.
All the lines are blurry.
Saying, “No” is saving my life.
But it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Because saying No means disappointing people and letting people down.
Saying No means missing out on good things and great opportunities.
Saying No means doing less and letting go.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
The fear of the Lord is a hard concept to wrap my head and heart around because God is love, right? (1 John 4:8) And yet, we are told over and over in Scripture to fear Him.
What if the two concepts actually go together rather than contradict each other?
When I stop and think about how fear drives most of my daily decisions in life – everything from the fear of being late, to the fear of missing out, to the fear of disappointing someone – my eyes open to the truth behind what this verse really means.
Fear is in the driver’s seat but we get to choose who’s face it is we fear.
When I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat do I look over and see Jesus’s face full of unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace?
Or do I see someone (or something) shaming me or withholding love from me with disapproving silence?
Fear always has a face.
If we can begin to name our fears and recognize the face behind those fears They will grow smaller and God will grow bigger.
A shift happens and we begin to hear God’s voice above all the rest. We care less about what others think (even though it still stings a little). We stop guessing and second guessing ourselves. We default to Him and what He wants, instead of defaulting to our old decisions based on shoulds and have tos.
With both hands wide open, we hold our Yes in one hand and our No in the other – and then we ask Him. We ask Him what He wants.
Knowing we live our lives for Him alone and not for anyone else.
God is reframing what my No actually means. I used to think saying No was selfish and saying Yes was currency for the Kingdom. Somehow I thought I needed to earn my keep in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of fellow Believers. But here’s the-thing God’s economy doesn’t work like the rest of the world.
He doesn’t want my earnings; He wants my surrender.
In saying No to the out-in-front things God is opening up doors in hidden places. I’m walking through doors I never thought I’d walk through and my intimacy with the Lord is increasing.
I’m learning to live this life with Jesus. To be with Him rather than just do for Him. I’m learning Jesus doesn’t just love me from afar but that He actually likes me up close.
I’m tasting freedom, unshakeable peace, abounding hope, and steadfast love. I’m letting go of the fears that have been in the driver’s seat for far too long.
I’m learning to fear God alone.
The lines come into focus.
Saying, “No” is saving my life.
My spiritual life. My soul. My hidden life in Jesus. My relationship with Him.
I wasn’t made to meet the weighty expectations of my past, I was made for more. For more of Jesus. And for more of who He created me to be.