Though I was allowed to participate in chorus where I developed a love for the Phantom of the Opera (I actually knew those songs!) at sixteen, I wasn’t permitted to do much else. Being a member of chorus wasn’t exactly considered “cool” at the time, but that was the only social group both my parents said yes to.
Drill team was off limits and other extracurricular activities many of my schoolmates were participating in were expressly prohibited.
Because of that, I went through my phase of feeling unpopular, like I didn’t fit in with the “in-crowd.”
I suppose, in many ways, I didn’t.
My dad made sure of that. There was very little I could get away with under the watchful eye and discipline-heavy hand of dear old dad.
Though I wasn’t a perfect child, looking retrospectively, I see there were plenty mistakes I avoided, not because I was so focused on doing everything right…
Mr. Joseph Brinson, Sr. just wasn’t having it.
Today, I’m so thankful my father loved me enough to restrict me.
As a high school know-it-all, I believed I was completely mature at that age, but there was so much I needed to learn. I felt grownup, especially when I entered my senior year, but I was still pretty naïve.
Had my father not drawn hard lines in the sand, set firm boundaries, and enforced his rules, I’m sure I would have gotten caught up with the wrong crowd.
These days, what I once resented my father for are the very things for which I am eternally grateful.
He protected me, shielded me and helped me avoid unnecessary pain, problems, and pitfalls, just as our Heavenly Father does for each of us who daily submit to His leading.
Though we are continually growing in wisdom and knowledge, the Lord knows there are still blind spots in our lives, things we cannot see or fully understand.
He knows there are roads we might wish to travel, that would only lead to our hurt and destruction. In His sovereignty, He foresees danger and treachery that is imperceptible to you and me.
So, in order to shield us from hurt, God closes doors we wish He would open. He blocks off roads we think we need to travel to get where we want to be. He takes away things we assume we need to be happy and whole. He shuts us out of cliques and groups of people we would readily join and embrace as allies, though they are only enemies disguised as friends.
Though everything in us cries out to have what we want, we must learn to thank God for the restrictions. Rejoice over closed doors. Celebrate when God says no, because that means He is restricting us from hurt, and redirecting us toward happiness and wholeness.
Whenever you feel tempted to fret over what God has not granted, remember this. Everything you need, His word promises He will provide. To remind you of this, I’m stirring Philippians 4:19 NIV into your cup of inspiration which says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
When you drink down the contents of your cup of inspiration, you will be reminded that God is your life-giving supply. All your sustenance is found in Him. Even when He says no, it’s what we need, because God’s restrictions are always much-needed blessings in disguise.
When our Heavenly Father doesn’t answer in the affirmative, no matter how desperately we want Him to, we have no need to mourn over what we missed out on. In fact, we should rejoice over it.
God’s no’s, my friend, help us miss out on turmoil, hardship, heartbreak, setbacks, traps, and pitfalls.
That sounds to me like a reason for gladness, not sadness.
Now let’s pray.
God, there are many times when everything in me wants what I want, right when I want it. I can find it really challenging to accept Your will when it differs from my own desires. But I know Your way is best. So today, help me to submit to Your plan for my life anew. Teach me to thank You for all the things You didn’t give me, because every yes and every no work together for my good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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