i’m not big on math. i made it up to calculus in high school but promptly dropped the class when i failed the first test the start of my senior year. i wasn’t about that failure life back then. well, nothing has changed. failing sucks. but i blame mr. hayman, my trig teacher for making math a mammoth, insurmountable mountain in my life. something about the way he taught sucked all of the joy and understanding out of math and i’ve hated it ever since. why am i talking about math? because my bestie candi said something tonight during our regular sister conference call that made me push the pause button.
of all things, we were talking about dealing with the harsh realities of hearing no. i’ve talked before about how no one ever died from hearing a no. seriously, this no is not unto death. but as with all matters of the heart, it’s never that easy. no does hurt. especially when you were expecting a yes. candi mentioned a sermon she was listing to about the “divine no” and things got deep from there. we’re taught that doing x, y, and z means life will turn out a certain way. but as my friend candi said, you can’t always solve for x.
truth is, life is not a fixed equation where you can choose from a set of formulas to get a desired outcome. trust doesn’t work that way. faith doesn’t work that way. life doesn’t work that way. so what do you do when you get a major no? i don’t know about you but i go through every single stage of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. thankfully, i have amazing friends – soul mates – who are willing to walk through all of those stages with me.
but i understand what it means to get a “divine no” to something you were beyond certain was a yes. as my friend began to tell us about this sermon she heard, she admitted to having to push the pause button because she, like most of us, got stuck at the no. omg those “nos” suck the big suck! it’s like, hey god, this mountain in front of me? how am i supposed to move it if you said no? but no is not the end.
as we dissected the meaning of the no in each of our lives, i got a bit of revelation for my personal “nos.” we have become a very narcissistic society and by default, we make everything about us. what did i do wrong? what is wrong with me? what if we asked different questions? how does my reaction to this no bring glory to god? how can god use my reaction to this no to work in someone else’s life, maybe even someone i don’t know?
if everything in life is interconnected, and our ultimate call is to be “fishers of men,” then i have to believe the way i live with the no is just as great a witness as how i walk in the yes. we never know who is watching us. we never know how god is using us to strengthen the faith in someone else’s life. what if your faith, causes someone else to believe they can walk in their calling? what if that calling means they were going to bring nations to god? your faith walk through your response to your no just increased the kingdom of god for multitudes. we don’t always see the big picture and that can mean not seeing the ministry in our handling of the no.
this is easier said than done. remember the five stages of grief? sometimes i get stuck at anger. sometimes i move through the first four stages only to revert back to stage one. depending on the magnitude of the no, it is hard to not be crippled by the weight of it. to quote my friend candi again, sometimes you’re just not ready to deal with your own truth. like her, i want to push the pause button some days and take a break from the reality of that no. but life goes on and so must i.
i will never like hearing no. but after our conversation tonight, i hope that i mature enough in my faith in god and trust in his love for me to handle the nos with grace. there is something on the other end of that no that i want – a better me, a better life, a better witness of who god is and all he desires me to be.
to be clear, i have zero answers. but there is a song for everything and so i share this delighting, powerful witness from donnie mcclurkin – i trust you lord.