Don’t you love those words from Meghan Trainor’s song, “No”? It is one of my favorites because it is exactly how I want my daughters to respond in awkward or inappropriate situations.
I want them to understand, leverage, and use the power of no.
No can stop injustice or end abuse. It can bolster self-confidence and it can preserve one’s priorities (indeed, a common denominator of effective people and leaders is their willingness to say “no”). No can be one of the most powerful, liberating words in our vocabulary.
Even when God tells us no it can be a good thing. When it comes to my prayer life I usually hate an initial no from God; however, after I’ve lived a little longer I often come to appreciate the wisdom in His noes.
Some of the things I wanted when I was younger would likely have destroyed me. Some of my dreams were birthed out of egoism instead of purity and love for others. Some of my ambition was self-centered not God-centered, and I’m honestly really grateful that those prayers hit a brick wall.
On the other hand I have prayed for some really wonderful things that probably should have received a yes and I’m not sure why they didn’t. Perhaps human free will got in the way. Perhaps God had a bigger plan that I still don’t understand. Or perhaps the answer wasn’t no but rather not yet and maybe they are still going to happen. Regardless, I think we sometimes need a little coaching when it comes to the power of no so here are a few pointers:
- Use it—use the power of no to strike down injustice and forbid oppression.
- Embrace it—let the liberating effects of a good, healthy no (whether from God or your own volition) enhance you.
- Keep hoping against it—even as you thank God for the times He wisely says no, continue pushing for the things that you believe should be a yes. Sometimes no is really not yet and the Apostle Paul’s words will eventually prove true: “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).