When God says No
Sharing how God said no to me in 2019 and how I’ve learned to find peace in the uncertainty
This is a word I’ve become quite familiar with in 2019. I’ll be honest and admit it’s not a word or response I ever look forward to hearing, but I’ve learned to see the blessings in this simple two letter word. Through this post, I wish to share a glimpse of my heart and give you hope in the goodness of God, even when He says no.
For those of you that are unaware, I am 21 years old and I’m a senior in college. College and your 20’s are uncertain times for a lot of people. This is a season when most are trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. That’s a lot of pressure! My story is no different. I’m a control freak and a planner, so this exaggerated uncertainty brings on a whole new level of anxiety for me. However, this has also forced (yes forced) me to rely fully on the Lord for peace. Without telling you my whole life-story over the last year, I’ll spare you the details and just give you a few examples of my most painful nos and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
I’ll start with the no I’m the most thankful for:
The start of 2019 ended a toxic relationship I’d been a tiptoeing through since I was 17. While I’ll admit I never dated this boy, I spent enough time with him over 4 years that it left an aching impression on me. The trust issues, insecurity, and brokenness built up during this time are still burdens I struggle to overcome. Deep down I knew this was never God’s best for me, but it was always a refuge I felt was there if all my plans failed. So, when God finally slammed the door with a loud no, I felt I had lost all clarity of what my future could be without my security blanket. I knew God had better, but it still hurt that he said no. I look back at see what a saving grace this was. God knew my heart needed healing and restoration for what was to come this summer, and He couldn’t do that if he kept coming back into my life.
The no that turned to a yes:
I remember wanting to write a post on this topic back in March, after believing my dreams of going to Washington, D.C. for the summer were crushed. I had applied to over 10 internships, only to get countless responses of rejection and I’m sorry. While this was only a change in one summer of plans, my anxiety flared, and I believed if I didn’t get an internship in D.C. then all my future political plans would fail, and I needed to re-write my future. While I was heartbroken and confused for God’s plan, I reluctantly accepted His no and started working towards a new goal. I sent out over 15 emails to churches and ministries all across the country. My thoughts were if God closed the door on politics, He wanted me in ministry. Although there were many responses of rejection here as well, I had several scheduled interviews and job offerings. However, shortly after I started this email process – God said yes to Washington. I said it best in my prayer journal entry on April 18th when I wrote: “I was joyful in the no, but my heart is exceedingly joyful in the yes!”. I don’t know why God let this happen as it did, but I’m thankful I was able to have peace, even in the waiting and uncertainty. God revealed His trustworthy character to my wandering heart when it hurt the most.
My most painful no:
As one of the most dominant themes of this blog, singleness is not a topic I’m shy to discuss. When I left for Washington D.C. this past June, I had just gone through a season of healing and maturity, but I truly felt I had never been more satisfied in my singleness and my relationship with Jesus. I had a new confidence and joy I hadn’t had in a while. So, my heart was ecstatic and sweetly surprised when my 2.5 years of singleness ended. Before now, I had only had 2 serious boyfriends since I was 14, but I don’t think there’s ever been anyone the Lord gave me peace that they were actually “the one”. After the drama and pain from the start of this year, I begged God that the next man I dated be the man I marry. This relationship was different. I finally felt valued and loved. I felt respected and cherished. I saw the Lord use this relationship to mend a lot of scars and brokenness in me I was uncertain would ever heal. I felt the presence of the Lord in our relationship and I truly believed my season of singleness and heartbreak was over. Be as it may, God said no to this too. I can’t fully describe the sorrow or devastation this no brought me. I’m still healing from this no and I’m sure I will be for a long time. I wish I could say I’m thankful for this no or that God turned it into a yes, but this one hasn’t ended that way. Yes, this no could always change to an outcome like that of the others, but right now it’s just a no. And I have to trust that even though I don’t see it now, this must not be God’s best for me in this season of life.
Sometimes God says no and we immediately have a heart overflowing with thanksgiving, because we’re able to see the goodness in the closing of one chapter and hopefulness for what is to come. Even though it’s still difficult to swallow this pill, we can see the virtues of the outcome. Other times God doesn’t really say no – but not yet. God’s timing is perfect, and his ways are always good. Sometimes He requires patience and faithfulness from us, in order for His great work to be orchestrated in our lives. On the contrary, there will be times God says no and our hearts will break and overflow we despair. The tears will flow, and the questions will arouse. We won’t be able to see how anything good could come from it or why a good God would allow it to happen. Sweet friends, this is where we must reject the enemy and cling to the truth we find in God’s word. I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but I do know one thing for certain: We serve a trustworthy God. He will never fail us or retract His promises. I yearn to tell you the end of my story and give you the fairytale ending and assurance you’re looking for, but I don’t know the end of the story yet. I do know He is always faithful. His plans are better than mine and I must fervently cleave to the hope that as long as I honor and serve him, He will never fail me. I don’t know who is reading this, or if any of these nos resonate with your life and your story. But I pray for the Father’s peace over whatever circumstance you find yourself in. We may not ever fully understand, but we can have peace. For His peace surpasses all understanding.