Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that the right answer is often no.
That ‘no’ is better than ‘yes’ – even when it seems as though ‘yes’ is much more glamourous.
I’m still young, still learning, still growing – and something I’m constantly reminding myself is that yes is a good answer occasionally, but no isn’t wrong.
Vague, maybe, this rant of mine on two English words we utter often. So hold on for a moment and I’ll give you some background.
I like yes. I like saying yes to new opportunities, to traveling, to meeting friends, to taking on jobs, to doing just one more course, to volunteering my time to just one more place…
and yet I often forget that yes isn’t the only right answer.
Busy doesn’t always mean best.
Fast doesn’t always mean finest.
Hard doesn’t always mean most valuable.
And it’s a difficult lesson to learn, that yes isn’t always right. Because what if this opportunity doesn’t present itself ever again? What if this is my one chance? But this will help me so much in the future, right? Won’t all these extracurriculars can only benefit me? Isn’t it better to work more?
My instinct says YES. DO IT. Go for it, dream it, live it, seize the opportunity. I love a challenge, I love trying new things, I love living moment by moment and saying yes.
But the more I experience of the world, the more I step into the oft-cold nature of reality, the more I realize that I’m not invincible.
None of us are.
We cannot handle it all – and instead of that being a sharp blow, can we let it lead us to be a little more intentional with the things we choose to say yes to?
It’s a challenge to view our lives through this lens at times; I get it. I crave taking every opportunity that’s placed in front of me, I desire to work hard, I just love doing SOMETHING.
But oftentimes, we have to say no to a lot of good things in order to say yes to better ones.
Not knowing what the future will hold, it’s sometimes terrifying to say no, completely clueless as to what opportunities will come and go in the future.
However, we’re not walking blindly; we walk by faith.
As Christians, we claim this verse:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Good is often mistaken for easy, straightforward, quietly eventless. That’s not it. Good can be filled with pain, with both ups and downs, joy and sorrow alike.
But in believing that God works in more ways than just our saying yes to every single thing that comes along, we can be free and find peace in knowing that God works through our saying no.
We can be quiet and listen for His voice in our lives as opportunities arise in front of us.
Sometimes the answer will be yes.
Sometimes the answer will be no.
And there need not be any guilt there, any shame, or regret, or bitterness over what could have been. As we make decisions, we place our lives in the care of One who sees the beginning from the end, the One who deeply cares about our souls and wants to lead us in the goodness He has for our lives.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
This verse reassures me, strengthens me when I feel as though I must take my life totally into my own hands, and gives me the peace I need to let go of my yeses and let God lead me in my nos.
As I said a moment ago, good doesn’t always mean easy.
But good does mean the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Good does mean hope, peace, and joy are free for us in all circumstances.
Good does mean we can glorify God in whatever position He places us in.
And good does mean that in the end, it’ll all be worth it.
This year, I choose to say no to some things in order to be able to say yes to the right things later on. I choose to trust that God will complete the work He has started in me (Philippians 1:6). I choose to believe that His good purpose for me will stand (Psalm 19:21), and that He will never leave me on my own to handle life alone.
I choose God’s goodness over mine – even when that means saying no, at first.
Because I know that He has some beautiful yeses planned.