Sunday, May 29, 2011

Living in the "No."

Two months.

Sixty days of detox, as if from an addictive substance, but more costly. Through this detox, with sober, bright-eyed clarity, I have come to realize just how addicted I was. 'Was' being a past-tense verb because, by the grace of God, I am no longer addicted but am in a life-long recovery. This is day sixty of that recovery, and I, cautiously but with great anticipation, share that there is, without a doubt, life after God's "No".

A breakup, really. I have endured, yet another, breakup. This one being of the greatest magnitude I have experienced to date. It was big. And ugly. And tearful - buckets of tears that have literally soaked circles on my bedsheets. A pain in my heart that I have felt like no other. An emptiness. A void, complete with a wondering of what to do, now.

And, as many have experienced after a terrible breakup, in those first few days of raw, exposed emotions, I zombied-around, putting one foot in front of the other, willing myself not to cry too much in front of others, hushed requests of prayers from those closest to me, everyone knowing something had happened but not knowing what.

Clarity presented itself in my thought-life. I realized very quickly how consumed I had been; constantly thinking about, envisioning, daydreaming, expecting. Very few thoughts that weren't in relation to this partner; very few moments that weren't given in loyalty to my obsession. Completely consumed.

Consumed by something God forbade me to have. My obsession manifested itself into a moment-by-moment dagger of a reminder that He shook His head in denial of my request, my plea, my demand. And, no matter how swiftly I moved, no matter how creative I was in orchestrating events, no matter how I bargained or ignored, His answer stood and still stands. "No."

Opening my tightly-clutched fist of a life-long dream - not a person or habit - was what brought me to my knees. God said "No" to a defining adjective of my future that had morphed into my reason for living; what I pined after, obsessed over, worshiped. I allowed it to consume my life; I lived for the high it brought.

I stopped living the life I was called to live and started living the life that I thought would bring about this dream. I closed God up into a me-shaped box, demanding my will over His, expecting Him to change His will to look like mine.

And, so in the midst of this anarchy, I did not hear His voice until I was invested, in love, heart-attached, full-blown infatuation.

It's a wonder I heard Him at all that night, but I did. Heard Him loud and clear. "No."

Surrender is not a white flag in the air, as depicted in history books and on movies. Not for me, anyway. Surrender is much bloodier than that; a final realization through exhaustion and loss of will power that I can no longer do it anymore. I fall face-first, prostrate, in the mud, muck, and mire, that I have most certainly caused, and weep. I give up; relinquish control; admit that I am powerless. Humbled.

A quiet strength, most assuredly the Holy Spirit within me, finally accepted His "No" as authority. Through a rainfall of tears, a small, humbled voice within me whispered, "Okay." Surrender. Acceptance. Deliverance.

Two months. Sixty days. One foot in front of the other. Step-by-step. Eyes clear and bright. Sober from the addiction and obsession of a dream not meant for me. Cautious with great anticipation of what is to come. Living in the "No".

Faith in the hope that God is true to His Word; that He has plans for me - plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Faith in the hope that He has begun a good work in me and that He delights to finish that good work. Faith that now that my hands are no longer gripping a self-manifested strategic life plan, that I will be able to take hold of the plans set for me by God.

Faith that living in the "No" has a greater purpose.

Faith that He has something planned that is more beautiful and more fulfilling than any dream I could come up with.


  1. Bethany, I've said before what a gifted writer you are. Your gut-wrenching honesty and journey is powerful to those who read it. Thank you for sharing. I find encouragement for my journey when I read about yours.

    love ya

  2. Very honest and moving. I pray for you every day. I know God has heard, and answered, your prayers and mine. Thanks for sharing such a personal struggle and awesome victory. Love you always, Jo Ann

  3. Such a powerful post! May we all find the peace to accept God's answers, especially when we don't understand them.