Ever play the opposite game as a child? You know the one... Yes means no, no means yes. Stop means go, go means stop. Don't means do, do means don't. This was one of my most treasured memories as a child. Well, not really, but I do remember it well. The ability to pester my mom and sisters so easily, as the game always ended with a fight being started between one of my sisters and, typically, me. I will say, I was really good at tricking my younger sister into saying precisely what I wanted, which always used to make her mad. Although, I never remember it actually ending in getting what I set out for. Hmmmm... Maybe I should re-think that one. Ha, maybe I should re-think even admitting to that. Yeah, definitely gotta think this one out. :)
So, I was reading the first few pages of this book I am thinking of borrowing, and something really profound hit me. Not really related to anything I am going through currently, but just the concept has got me thinking. This might be dangerous... :) Anyway, the statement is, "It's funny when you say "yes" to something (like the man of your dreams), you don't think about the fact you are also saying "no" to something else." ~ Angie Smith (or Amy Spiegel, but I am thinking Ang is referring to Angie, not Amy...), in Letting Go of Perfect. This might not be a "light bulb" moment for any of you, but it certainly was for me. I don't usually make decisions on a whim, but there are times that I have said yes or no quickly, without thought, and regretted my decision later. There are things I say, "Yes! Absolutely!" to, that I suddenly realize I will have to accept my response means I can no longer do this other thing over here, too. When I say, "Yes! Absolutely a fourth scoop of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch (Ben & Jerry's most yummy flavor - ever), please!" means the scale will say, "No, Cil, you are absolutely not down four pounds anymore." By the way, my example was in no way stating that I have ever eaten four entire scoops of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Five scoops, quite possibly. Four, absolutely no way. I will also say those times where I have said, "Yes, I can do that," that has led to that phone call that says, "I am sorry. I took on more than I could handle, and should have said no." Words are power. Even simple ones like "yes" and "no."
In Matthew 5:37, Jesus tells us, "Let your yes be yes. Let your no be no." Obviously, Jesus didn't like the opposite game. Maybe he was tired of breaking up the disciples' fights over yes meaning no and no meaning yes. Or maybe he just was tired of remembering it was opposite day. I am totally getting sidetracked thinking of all the silly random thoughts of the opposite game. Moving on... Christ was a man of his word. When he said yes, he meant yes. Yes was an absolute promise. When he said no, there was no moving him. He meant no. As humans, how often do we allow ourselves to be pushed into doing something we really don't want to do, or know that we shouldn't be doing? And all because we didn't allow our words to have the power of yes or no. I have found myself, at so many different points in life, found myself praying, begging for that no answer to be changed to a yes answer. And, I can honestly say, when God has shown me his answer is no, it has never changed. It has also never led me to a situation he wasn't bigger than. Allowing our faith and trust to be so strongly tied to a simple yes or no is an amazing process. Knowing that even when God's "No, Cil," answer comes along, it isn't because he wants me to beg louder, tithe more, serve longer, wear certain clothes, or DO anything. It just means, "No." When God decides the answer is, "Yes, my love," does it make it anymore special? It really shouldn't. Sometimes a "no" answer is so much more than a "yes" answer. The book explains that when you say yes to one thing on the menu, you have said no to every other thing on the menu. So, when God says, "No, Cil. That isn't what I want for you." He isn't saying that I can't have anything. He isn't even telling me he won't allow it. He is just simply saying, "No." No part of that answer means I am alone, he doesn't love me, or that I am not good enough. He is saying, "Yes, you can have so much different. Choose my way. Just trust me."
I have been struggling with happiness not being an emotion lately. Happiness is not an emotion. It is merely a state of mind. I can choose happiness, like I can choose anger. I have prayed and prayed and prayed over something. I really thought God was opening doors, showing me his blessing, and telling me, "Yes, Cil. It's your turn." I have begun to realize I overlooked his subtle, "No, Cil. This isn't it." No means no. Why do we struggle with a "No" answer? Do we doubt God's amazing goodness? We, or maybe just me, really struggle with having the faith that God will show us the way, then when He shows us, we don't accept it. We don't like it. Why is that? The "no" answers are just as amazing as the "yes" answers. As if I don't say it often enough, "For I know the plans I have for you... Plans to prosper you, not harm you, to give you hope and a future." The Message reminds us His plans will not abandon us. His "no" answer doesn't mean I am going to be destroyed. It doesn't mean I am alone. It doesn't mean I should despair, give up, or stop serving. It just means His best is on the horizon. Why should I fight so hard to settle for what I want, when I can easily have what He wants to so lovingly give to me?
This statement has really made me reflect on the past that I said yes to. I made decisions and said yes to quite a bit. Quite honestly, I said yes to more than I could have ever imagined taking on. I do not regret these decisions, and thankfully, will not have the chance to rewind and make over. I saw something a few days ago that reminded me of some really amazing factors in life. Life is a journey. Sometimes the path is clearly marked and visible. Other times, it is dimly lit and overgrown. Sometimes, the path leads us through valleys, with no other way out but through. At times, the path leads us over mountains, and the view from the top reminds us how beautiful the path has been. Other times, the path leads us to obstacles, like a tree in the road. These obstacles present us with different choices. We can say yes, climbing over that tree and moving ahead towards the goal, or we can say no, turning back, looking for an easier way, any way to hang on to try and re-write our story. When you say yes, and choose to move on, you must say yes, and move on. When we say no, and choose to linger, turn back, or search for the easier route, we must remember that at some point, we are still going to have to climb over that tree to reach our destination. We can't get to the destination by moving backwards. There are times we must choose to let go and move on. It doesn't mean we didn't cherish the moments along the journey to that tree in the road, it just means in order to get anywhere, you have to get over it.
I am not really sure how I got to this place of maps, trees, and paths, but I am pretty sure I am done thinking for the night. I need to remind myself me yes means yes, and sadly, that means no to the possibility of other things. God's no for me is more encouraging, because that means His yes is still coming, and I have something amazing to look forward to. Gonna climb over this tree, maybe shedding some baggage I can't carry over, and get to my destination already. :)