No is a full sentence.
The tip of my tongue presses against the roof of my mouth along the ridgeline of my teeth, lips coming together as if to sip from a straw. Fear coupled with desire takes over. Suddenly, the jaw drops, the corners of my mouth stretch and before I allow myself a painful but necessary second thought, ‘yes’ comes flowing out of my mouth. The response comes from a soul that desires to engage, feel needed or maybe avoid disappointment among all sorts of other soul quandaries that cause me to compromise and move away from where God might be calling or leading.
I am realizing that ‘no’ is a full sentence. We don’t have to add any words to that.
As soon as we do, we might wind up adding something to our commitments that is not suppose to be there. What I’m learning is these yeses are preventing me from other more important work that God is calling me to that won’t be seen or appreciated by much of the world.
Using ‘no’ as a full sentence might get us in touch with a part of ourselves we are losing to activity and I humbly assert, even a hubris sense of purpose. ‘No’ might help us connect back to our finiteness and His majestic infiniteness. ‘No’ might allow us to tap into something that is of eternal value and power that our easy flow yeses cannot connect us to.
Like a kinked water hose, access to the living waters is available but further blocked by our tugging of trying to do a little more or pull a little harder. When instead, if I would just say no to more tugging and pulling, and actually stop, really stop, I could un-kink my soul and drink.
If yes is breathing. No is drinking. You can’t breathe while you are drinking.
The larynx is closed off while the fluid revitalizes the soul. Both breathing and drinking are necessary to living. The ‘nos’ don’t have to cause us to isolate and lose connection to our lives, our faith, our family. We are a one another body. But if we only breathe and never drink – we will eventually get quite parched. Are you thirsty? Is the tongue starting to stick to the roof of your mouth? Your soul might be positioned perfectly for a ‘no’.
What is it that you know you need to say no to?