The Freedom of “No”

The Freedom of _No_

I was awake again, this time around 2:30am. My (almost) three month old was going through a growth spurt, and combined with a tiny congested nose, he and I were not getting much sleep. As I nursed him back to sleep, my mind played a reel of the work I was able to accomplish from the day and wrestled with the things that were left undone.

The familiar feeling of disappointment combined with a low-grade anxiety started to creep in the shadows of my heart, when a thought popped up out of nowhere.

Saying “No” to some things, means that I’m actually saying a wholehearted “Yes!” to others.

Of course! Why hadn’t I seen it from this perspective before? It was so obvious. It was so freeing!

Saying “No” in the right context, with the purpose to preserve something else precious, is a gift in disguise to us high-achievers. While it might sting like failure in the moment, it can actually be the thing that protects, prolongs, and produces fruit in another area of our lives.

The real challenge here (for myself and maybe for you too?) is to still our hearts, to listen, and to zero-in on the work that the Lord has called us to for this season. What is in front of me right now? Who has He allowed to come alongside of me? While I might have my own ideas about which direction to take my day, my responsibility is to submit all before Him and follow His lead.

“The Good Shepherd”

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.

Ps. 23 (HCSB)

Having the freedom to say “No” to that extra project means that I am saying “Yes” to the ones that I’ve already committed to.

Saying “No” to that social gathering means that I am saying “Yes” to time with my family.

Saying “No” to time wasted in lifeless work or self-centered busyness or mind-numbing entertainment means that I am saying “Yes” to something better!

Even the so-called spiritual or church-y things must go before the throne: is this what you’ve called me to, Lord? Is this contributing to (or taking away from) your purpose for my life?

My prayer is for a clear channel between His heart and mine. That I can discern *in the moment* what is of true importance and what can wait. Good Shepherd, help us to be led by your loving hand, even in our saying “No.”


Published by Sara Beth Longenecker

Sara Beth Longenecker is a writer and blogger based in Nashville, TN. She helps women sort through the noise of our culture by bringing them truth, beauty, and everyday theology.

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