I was speaking with my youngest daughter this morning, while doing her hair for school: It’s okay if you don’t want to hug your stepbrother, ‘no means no.’ She agreed. And, ‘yes means yes.’ (I think she understood me? But now I’m speechless.) More importantly, ‘no means no,’ I stressed this time.
Last night: Daddy, I’m a teenager, I don’t like it when you pick me up. ‘Okay, I won’t do it in public.’ I don’t like it ever. ‘But you’re my baby. I’m always going to pick you up.’ (I hated to interject, but I had to.) Please help me teach our daughters that their ‘no’ truly means ‘no.’
“No.” A simple, yet powerful word. A word that should hold weight, should hold meaning. So why does it lose it’s power? Why, coming out of the mouth of women, girls, is it not heard? I, too, have had “No,” stripped from me. It pushed me down into a cave of isolation, depression, not knowing where to turn. When “no” is meaningless and carries no weight, it leads to fear – if not dealt with effectively.
We, choose fear as a coping mechanism, thinking it is a protective factor. In all actuality, it is our biggest enemy. Fear keeps us from living our life to our fullest potential. And, we cannot have fear and the love of God in our lives, right?
1 John 4:18 KJV “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Fear prevents growth. It prevents us from drawing closer to God, and keeps Him from completing a work within us. I know this firsthand, I battled fear for longer than I care to admit. But, there is life after fear, there is living. I find myself occasionally, glimpsing back at my frenemy fear. I even see traces of it creep into different aspects of myself. Wait, that didn’t sound right! That didn’t sound like me. I just reacted completely out of character – no I reacted like the fearful kind.
I saw this in myself even recently. I’m not even ashamed to say. We all have our battles to fight. I began to be reactive rather than proactive. Even jumping at every noise. This isn’t right!
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
A sound mind. Why should I be afraid? What happened a year ago, what happened several more years ago, is all in the past. I’m here, I’m healed. I made it through. By the grace of God, I survived! I have nothing to fear.
Today, I can say, “No.” Today, I can say no to fear.