Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Shepastor: “Understanding the Origin of the ‘NO’ Means Everything!”
“NO” is a legitimate answer. At times, “no” is necessary for our health and well-being. “NO,” can at times be discouraging and heart-breaking. Depending upon the situation, “NO” can help, heal, hurt or derail. Today, Shepastor, explores the importance of understanding where the “NO” is coming from as we seek to ascertain God’s will and purpose for our lives in general and ministry in particular.
Shepastor: “Understanding the Origin of the ‘NO’ Can Mean Everything!”
All of us at various points in our lives desire and need affirmation. As children we need a nurturing and encouraging hand to guide us and tell us that we are unique, beautiful, bright and have something to offer. As teens, we begin to assert our independence, yet we secretly look over our shoulder from time to time to get the affirming nod that we are “OK.” As we move into adulthood, depending upon our history, the quest for affirmation takes on various forms.
For some, affirmation is sought out through a series of unhealthy relationships. Others stop at nothing to gain certain levels of notoriety. Others come to terms with their “somebodiness” and understand their worth, gifts and mission in life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Although we may feel confident in our relationship with the Lord and know that our help comes from above, there still may be times when we question our life’s purpose, a specific goal or direction.
When knocked upon doors remain closed, when proverbial detour signs keep popping up, when projects fail and dreams fall flat – we are confronted with the daunting question, “Whose “NO’ is it?” We are well acquainted with the scriptures that tell us,
“The steps of a good man/woman are ordered by the Lord,” “Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path…”
But when the path keeps winding and the glimmer of light becomes dim, we begin to ask ourselves the question, “Whose ‘NO’ is it?”
- When you’ve been to seminary and served faithfully in the lay ministry, but for some reason still can’t get ordained,
- When you’ve jumped through all of the hoops and prepared yourself well for pastoral search committees yet, as a woman, you still don’t receive a call to pastor a church
- When you’ve applied to doctoral programs and can’t get accepted
- When you’ve written a manuscript that you are convicted is from the Lord, but can’t get published
- When you can’t find a job
- When you can’t find a mate
- When you just can’t seem to get to where you want to go…
You are confronted with the question, “Whose NO is it?”
Your answer to that soul-searching question will mean the difference between dogged pursuit of your dream, goal, aspirations etc., and bowing in humble submission.
For those seeking a break through, I humbly offer the following…
Through prayer and discernment, fasting and consulting Holy Spirit led mentors and friends – strive to make a distinction between the aforementioned. In other words, is the “NO” answer due to human sinfulness such as sexism, racism, ignorance or mean spiritedness on the part of those giving the answer? Or is the locked door, no matter the situation, God’s decision to move your life into a different direction? Having the answer to that question is critical!
It is critical because understanding the origin of the “NO” determines the strength of your pursuit. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord God Almighty has placed a vision, a dream, a call, a ministry within you, no devil in hell or human on earth can thwart your determination to attain that goal. God plus you are a majority! No weapon formed against you will prosper and you will ultimately gain the victory! God will open doors that no man can shut and close doors that no man can open! God’s voice and His Holy Spirit will compel you to continue to doggedly pursue and you will overcome!
If on the other hand, in your innermost being, you have heard the Lord say, “My child, that is not My way for you,” or, “this is not the right time for you,” or “I have something different for you,” or “STOP!” and because of stubbornness, pride, foolish ambition or misguided thoughts you keep going in the wrong direction, you will not prosper in your pursuits. When you reach the proverbial fork in the road and are asking yourself if you should continue on the path pursuing a particular goal or if you need to let it go, understanding the origin of the “NO” means everything.
Before deciding either way, before allowing naysayers to discourage you or well meaning friends to encourage you to follow a path that is not the path the Lord has ordered for you, go before the Lord and stay there until the answer comes!
Are you trying to figure out the origin of “NO” in your life today? Have you just come through a discernment process and have an answer that may help another? Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com.
Until next Wednesday
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,