Know No

No No!No is a hard word to say and an even harder one to hear, but God made it clear this week that it’s necessary to say no and hear no if I am going to walk in His Kingdom. I have a hard time saying no because I like to keep the peace and hate conflict of any kind. I also feel the need to please everyone. There’s nothing wrong with doing good things for others, and love means wanting happiness for those I love; the problem is my need to make others happy. There is a big difference, and the lessons this week were about discerning the difference.

The week was filled with no’s that taught important lessons in truth. The truth is hard to hear, but freedom depends upon it. The deeper lesson was that truth and decision are essential for my journey.  Obedience involves hearing and heeding no when God says it. He knows best when it comes to no. He hears it every day, and it breaks His heart. Earthly parents do their best to know when to say no. God knows exactly when I need a no, and He knows how badly it will hurt before He says it.

On Monday, I told my sister I wouldn’t be house sitting for her next month. The thought of a gorgeous home with a pool near the ocean for a month is very tempting, but God said no. I didn’t want to say no to my sister, but she was more than gracious when I did. She really just wanted to give me some space and a place to get away for a while. Not all the no’s this week have been that simple.

I have the tendency to let people run over me because it’s easier than standing up to them. I was faced with an angry confrontation that blindsided and left me reeling. I don’t appreciate others telling me who I am or what I should believe, and God helped me say no to that kind of abuse. That no was hard to say, but it felt great and freed my heart in a wonderful way.

Just as I was feeling good about my new found freedom to say no, it was said to me. God knew I needed to hear it, and He knew I needed to hear it in a way that would humble me. I don’t imagine we are ever prepared to hear no when it means giving up something we truly want, but that’s the only time no shows true obedience. I did what I often do when confronted with information my heart isn’t ready to hear; I slipped into denial and moved on to anger.

When I had time to absorb the hurt and realize God wanted the best for me, I knew the no was just what I needed just when I needed it. God is faithful to show me what is best, but I don’t always want to see it. I suppose it’s human nature to be hurt when I don’t get what I want, but God will take me beyond my own nature if I listen to His no and pray for discernment and direction.

I know God knows best when it comes to no, and I learned this week that saying it and hearing it as God desires is the way to find His way and walk in His Kingdom now. A friend reminded me that God is willing and able to help me in every way. Knowing God is the first step in truly knowing who I am. He certainly helped me know no in a new way, and that’s a lesson I hope I never forget.

To Be Honest?

When I see “tbh” in my newsfeed on facebook, I have to smile. On Thursday morning, a friend described “to be honest” as fishing for compliments. I agree and think “tmwiwth” might be more appropriate. “Tell me what I want to hear” is at the heart of my shout out to others, and it is also at the heart of my cries to God. This morning, God’s lesson was about coming into His presence with a true “tbh” heart. The lesson was sobering, to say the least. My heart is never ready for God’s honesty or the honesty of loving friends when I have a “tell me what I want to hear” attitude.

The noisiness in my heart comes from Satan telling me what I want to hear and me chiming in and chattering right along. It’s very similar to those conversations I have when someone hits a raw nerve, and we both start telling each other what we want to hear. Seeking validation is easier than searching for the truth, and the resulting conversation is cacophony at it’s very best. I leave those noisy conversations having much more faith in myself as the truth fades into the background; but just as junk food leaves me hungry, so do conversations filled with what I want to hear.

A true “to be honest” is the most difficult of all conversations, and it takes my praying life to a whole new level. The truth is beautiful and will set me free, but it is a two-edged sword that cuts to the very center of my heart. La La Land is anywhere truth is avoided, and I’ve lived in many versions of it for too much of my life. Avoiding the truth keeps me from hearing, and faith is forfeited in the process. My faith depends upon hearing, and walking in God’s kingdom depends upon heeding. I cannot get to the truth unless I begin my prayers and conversations with a sincere “tbh.”

Honesty isn’t about judging, and I’m not saying that it’s up to me to tell others the truth. I do need to be honest, but God is more concerned with my hearing His truth than with my straightening out the world. Some folks feel it’s their calling to make sure they tell others what they should and should not be doing. God forbid that I do that. I’m guilty of judging far too often, and I have come to realize it’s a great indication that I’m avoiding the truth in my own life. When I find myself in those negative conversations or judging, I know it is time for a “tbh” with God.

It is vital that I say and hear the truth with love. Without love, the truth is a battering ram that knocks the breath out of me and breaks my heart. Satan uses that battering ram very well and even disguises himself as God the Smiter! I felt that smiting this morning, but God’s voice was there when the din subsided. He gently asked if those were terms I thought He would use to describe me. I knew they were not. He went on to tell me the beautiful truth that I am His daughter and He loves me. After my heart settled down, He told me the truth I needed to hear with love. Satan takes a tiny bit of truth and runs with it in his direction hoping to get me to follow along. God speaks the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with love. Then, He picks me up, dusts me off, gives me a sweet embrace, and points me in His direction:)

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