Saturday, November 27, 2010

I think the nerves of a parent get worn down over the course of the day. There's something about the constant questions and yelling and action that surrounds children that can be exhausting.

They can't reach something, they can't find something, they're fighting with each other, someone's thirsty, someone's peed their pants. It's demanding and we end up saying, "No".

I found myself saying "No" the other day. My daughter asked for a cup of chocolate milk in her naturally energetic manner. I told her No. A few minutes later, "Can we go outside?" Again I said No.

Daughter: "Can you find my crayons?"
Me: "No, you can find them."

"No, you've had enough. Not yet. In a minute. You'll have to wait. Not right now. Put that down. Get down from there. Sit down. Quit that. No, No, No."

After a few hours of this it dawned on me that all I had said to her that day was "No". And that didn't bother me so much as that I didn't know why. I was just saying No because it was my first reaction and it was easy to do. It kept me from interrupting my plans to do what she had asked. Even though they were simple requests I just said, "No".

I wonder how often I've unnecessarily said No to others. I like when people say Yes to me. I like when people cooperate with me. Yet I find it easier to dismiss their requests than to say Yes to them. So I say No. "I can't. So sorry, that won't work. I wish I could, but No."

A few years ago Jim Carrey starred in a movie called "Yes Man". He found his life isolated and uneventful and decided to change all of that. For one year he said "yes" to every one and every thing that came his way. As is expected from Jim Carrey, hilarity ensues. The underlying message of the film was to learn to balance the yes and no's of life. To say "yes" as often as possible and to say "no" only when necessary.

I don't find myself isolated and my life is certainly not uneventful. Yet I still feel the challenge to say "no" less and "yes" more. I wonder what I might be missing by rejecting opportunities. I wonder what friendships and experiences I'm missing by saying no instead of yes.

I wonder how often I've said No to God. I wonder how often He's asked me to do something and, just because it was easier, I said no. Maybe I said No because it was my first reaction and it was easy to do. It kept me from interrupting my plans to do what He had asked. They might have even been simple requests, yet I just said, "No".

It makes me wonder what I've missed out on. What experiences and rewards. What opportunities to minister to someone, to share the love of Jesus Christ. What blessings and what change in myself has been delayed because I've said no to something I should have said yes.

No. I don't want to say no as much anymore. Not to chocolate milk, not to my wife. Certainly not to the voice of God.

I will continue to say No to socks with sandals.

Everything else, I'll start with yes.

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