This is my son Brandon when he was around 10 years old.

His hamster, Chewy, had just died.

I’m sure I told him to smile as he posed by his dead hamster. But if you look closely, you can see the tears in his eyes.

Back in that day, pets were still a new novelty and having one die was a super big deal. We made a cardboard box bed for Chewy with a little soft cushiony bed and pillow and carefully tucked him in under a soft piece of fabric. We prayed for him. And then when the kids went to bed I buried him out in the back.

Right before my son Brandon went to bed, he asked if he could sleep with Chewy that night. I immediately pictured my son snuggling with his hamster’s cold little body. My reply – “No, we don’t sleep with dead hamsters”

He was very sad.

But hey, I had to draw the line somewhere!

As a parent we have to say NO to our kids wanting to do all sorts of crazy things.

Right now I have an 8 year old boy who loves candy. He would live off of candy and microwave popcorn. But if I let him eat all the candy and popcorn whenever he wanted to, he would be sick, unhealthy, unable to think clearly, and moody. (And I would suffer!)

So, I find myself saying NO to all kinds of unusual things.

  • No, you cannot suck grape juice through a straw into your nose
  • No, I will not eat your booger
  • No, you cannot sleep outside in the igloo
  • No, you cannot eat just ice cream all day today
  • No, dragging your brother down the stairs is not a good idea

Often, the most loving thing I can say to my children is NO.

Can you think of a time as a parent, grandparent, teacher, neighbor, friend, or employee that you’ve said NO or had someone say NO to you?

Many years ago, my husband and I had moved with our 3 small kids back to Utah after living in Maryland for a couple years. He was looking for a change in a career and we had several good opportunities lined up that seemed like a good fit.

Shortly after moving back, however, the job market and economy in the United States tanked. He was suddenly one of hundreds of unemployed job seekers looking for work.

It was such a difficult time for us. We were living in my parents’ basement. In an effort to stay sane I would research areas around potential job opportunities to find affordable housing near good schools.

However, the market was so competitive that he received no offers for employment.

I prayed. A lot. I did everything I could think of to help Ryan get a job. It was no use. He sent out resume after resume and had interview after interview. After several months of unemployment, we started to get desperate.

Desperation led us to think outside the box. And we decided to do something that we wouldn’t have considered ever before. Go back to school.

I was now pregnant with my 4th child and the thought of returning to school hadn’t been my first choice. But it felt like the right choice.

Ryan applied to a masters program at USU and we quickly moved to Logan. We spent 3 amazing years making really great friends and growing to love the community up there.

That only happened though because God said NO to our sincere pleadings. I would never have become who I am today without those hard experiences.

Sometimes the most loving answer God gives us is a NO. It means something better is coming. Experiences we may not have known were even there.

NO is not always a negative answer. It can be the most loving answer!

Think of times you wished or prayed for things to be a certain way.

Even if your hopes were worthy.

Even if they were valid.

Even if you couldn’t see why your prayer wouldn’t be answered.

And yet the answer was NO.

NO was a blessing to us all those many years ago! My husband’s job has led us to incredible experiences we would have never gained otherwise. I wouldn’t be sitting here in this home typing away if he hadn’t gone back to get his masters degree. He really enjoys his job. We have both been so blessed!

But only because when he was looking for jobs, God said NO.

What areas of your life have been blessed because the answer was NO?

How have you become a better person?

Now think of your relationship with your brain.

Do you say NO to your brain often? What if your brain thinks it needs or wants something that isn’t good for it? What if it wants to do something that will harm you in the long run?

The most loving thing you can say is NO.

We don’t like telling ourselves NO. I am an adult and I can do whatever I feel like! I like having freedom! But every choice we make has a natural consequence that follows. That consequence may be good or bad.

We can pick our choices, but not the consequences of those choices.

Do you want to eat chocolate cake everyday for the rest of your life? Go for it! But you can’t choose whether you will gain weight or what will happen to your blood sugar.

Want to eat french fries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Okay! However you don’t get to choose what happens when you eat all that sodium and spike your insulin levels.

If I never say NO my brain’s desire for instant gratification, I will gain weight. I will not be able to sit comfortably in a chair. I won’t be able to feel confident in my favorite pair of jeans. I will wear out my joints. I will be unable to play with my grandkids. I will miss big family life events because I’m either too sick or not around anymore to be there.

By always saying yes to the things my brain thinks it wants in the moment, I am saying NO to something else that I may want more later.

I have to love myself by saying NO. It’s the right thing to do. It is the most loving thing to do.

So when I come across that big slice of homemade bread, donuts, ice cream, or other foods that my brain wants in the moment but that I know can harm me, the most loving thing for me to say to my brain is NO.

NO I will not eat that type of food. I am worth more than that.

NO I will not allow you to make me feel guilty. I am better than that!

NO I will not give in to your temptations. I love myself more than that.

It’s okay to say NO to yourself just as you would to a child or someone you love.

Love is always the right answer!