Let’s be honest, there is no one on the planet that enjoys hearing the word NO. Myself included! Does anyone else have a rebel personality that when someone tells you no, it lights a fire within you to battle to the bitter end in order to get your way? Ughhh, that is totally me and I’ve been this way since childhood.
I was the oldest child (& grandchild) in our family until my older step brother Ryan came along when I was fourteen, and my younger brother Keithan is just 15 months behind me. Keithan and I spent the bulk of our early childhood at our maternal grandparent’s home while Mom worked multiple jobs and put herself through college. I have always been fiercely independent with a cunning tongue, so fights with Keithan often looked like me battling with words and him responding with action (aka. fists). Although younger, my brother always had the advantage in physical strength. My Mom would famously say, “If you’d stop running your mouth, he’s stop beating you up.” HA!
I vividly remember childhood scolding’s from my beloved grandmother. She would seat us separately down on the couch, then after we calmed down she would pour into our lives. Essentially she exerted her authority and influence to say no. No to the fighting, no to the nasty words, no to the hurtful actions, and no to whatever harmful thing our wills desperately longed for. In wisdom, strength, and purpose my grandmother no’s were a necessary part of leading us toward growth, maturity, and truth.
When God says no, I am often reminiscent of that rebellious child who would kick and scream to get her way. There are times in my life that God has said no so clearly and yet I still pushed forward, plowing my way through and making a huge mess in the process. Over the years I have learned the wisdom of hearing God’s voice and trusting His no’s, but it hasn’t been easy.
When we moved in New Jersey six years ago my health was at its lowest, my husband and I truly did not expect that I would ever work again. I’ll share more with you about my recovery in next week’s post “Our Journey to this Crunchy Life.” As I got stronger and was able to work again, I began to pursue licensure as a Professional Counselor as well as a Marriage and Family Therapist here in NJ. I jumped through all the required hoops, submitting documentation about my education, internship hours, passing tests, supervisor recommendations etc. After months of waiting and multiple appeals the answer to my pursuit for a career as a licensed Therapist here in New Jersey was a solid NO. Long story short the NJ state boards rejected reciprocating my licensure from Texas, rejected several of my Dallas Baptist University classes, and in order to move forward with licensure they shackled me with requirements that would be far too costly both in time and money to ever be feasible for our family.
In my wildest dreams I could have never imagined a scenario in which God would say no to this request. Never. Why would He allow me to fully recover from my health crisis and then not be able to pursue the career He so gifted & called me in? Why would He direct me to get a Master’s degree, take on student loan debt, and work my booty off in 2,900 hours of internship? Nothing about any of it made any sense to my brain or my heart. I had worked so hard and my health crisis robbed me of so much, why would God allow this no, how was this possible?
Maybe you can relate to praying hard for something and God, in His sovereign authority and wisdom, says no. Ughhh! Dealing with the disappointment can be SO heart breaking. Whether your no is about a career, health issue, infertility, relationship struggle, or some other deep desire. No’s are not fun but at times they are necessary. No’s are often God’s way of protecting us and preventing us from going down a path that is outside of His perfect plan for our lives. But it’s also troubling to often never get the answer to those haunting “why” questions.
If you are experiencing a no from God right now, here are the actions I recommend.
Continue to Ask, Seek, & Knock!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” Friend I want to encourage you to continue to ask, seek, & knock in prayer. What may seem to be a no from God, might just be not yet or not now. God isn’t obligated to do everything we ask Him like some supernatural genie in a bottle. But He tells us in his word that when our desires line up with His will they will be done. Jesus says in John 15:7-8 says “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” Ask, seek, & knock are verbs, that means they require a bold action on our part, so never give up praying and believing.
Press into Him!
Next I want to encourage you to press into Jesus. Press in, don’t pull away. So often when we are working through hard emotions like disappointment, fear, grief, and confusion our tendency is to run away from God. In my experience nothing good comes from running from God. As hard as it may be, I want to encourage you to press into God. Matthew 11: 28 if one of my favorite reminders from Jesus, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Our rest, our solutions, our futures reside in Jesus. Maybe you’re mad at God, not a problem – He’s a big boy & he can handle your anger. Press into Him. A loving Parent doesn’t always give us what we want, but our Heavenly Father does care about every tear that we have cried (Psalms 56:8) and He is the solution for our aching heart.
Choose to trust God, even when He says no!
I still have no idea why God would completely shut down my ability to become a licensed counselor here in New Jersey, but I trust Him. I pressed into God with my shattered heart and He comforted me with His peace. I choose to trust that God is directing my life according to His perfect plan, even if my life looks different than I expected. Trusting God and pressing into Him renews my hope!
Nothing about your situation may make sense to your brain or your heart right now friend, oh man I have been there. I want to encourage you to trust God, even when He says no. He is trustworthy, and He has a plan and purpose for everything He allows to be part of our story, press in & trust Him – He will renew your hope!
What no’s from God are you currently wrestling with?
How can I pray for you as you press into God this week?