I don't like it when toddlers say "no" before "yes"!
I really dislike that word. I know I did at least, when I was little. Even now, it's not my favourite thing to hear. Especially when I'm hoping for something. Like when I ask if I can go visit my sister, and because I have other things I have to get done first, it's a "no". Even if it makes sense, that "no" can still be plain frustrating.
God answers with that word sometimes too. I've dreamed of going overseas. The answer? You know it. But, it's not always disappointment and frustration.
I've learned it can be a weapon. Well, maybe not. Maybe a better title would be, 'powerful tool'. Really, it's not the word of itself. It's the action; actually, both.
Almost two years ago, I realized I didn't do well eating tea at night. I decided to do my digestion system a favour and give it a rest at night, when I slept. I kept my resolve that night. Not the next though. We were having my favorite type of popcorn -- flavored by my brothers with olive oil, salt and a bit of cayenne pepper. I could not resist the aromas. I joined them all in their evening meal.
That was the story for quite some time. One night, I succeeded, the other, I couldn't help myself.
In my see-saw of resolve, I learned something though. When I made that decision, and stuck to it, no matter how delicious the food, I was not tempted.
Sometime later, we had a splurge of watermelons. A paddock full of them. We were all thrilled. It didn't take long though before my brother came up with an idea.
"Hey, I dare you to do a week long fast -- just eating watermelons."
"I'll do it too," he added smiling winsomely.
"Sure, I'm up for the challenge." I grinned. Who could say no to a fast like that?
The first day was great. We both had a watermelon each at meal times. Considering it was mainly water, I had half of one in the evening too.
The next day though, was another matter. Mum made our very favorite meals. We could handle it when she made pasta salad with soya mayonnaise, even though it did look enticing. As dessert for that meal though, she made something that almost made me buckle. Pumpkin strudel. (Those of you who have never tried traditional strudel, have missed out on alot!) Strudel was always my favorite dessert growing up. We only had it about once a year, like when we visited our European grandma and great aunts. All of us children loved it - including my brother. At the sight and smell, he quit; leaving me more determined than ever to succeed.
I so enjoyed the pure, delicious juice for every meal, that my fast turned into three weeks. Then, our watermelons started running out. That was one sad walk through the garden... picking the last few.
If anything taught me self-discipline with food, that sure did. I look back on that experience and smile. Sure it was hard (even though it was yummy), but due to it and learning to say "no, thank-you" for teas, (another) brother gave me a very encouraging complement recently.
"Stella, you sure have food under your belt!"
At first, I was a bit taken back. Was that a backhanded way of saying I was fat? Like all my sisters I'm slim, so why would he say that? In fact I looked at my skirt and belt, bewildered for a moment.
At my look of dismay he clarified, "I mean, you have it under control."
"Oh. Thanks, bro!" We both laughed. He had meant it though.
It's not just food that this word has saved me with. Or rather, helped me lots. Occasionally, there has been pressure to compromise in ways, I'd rather not. Ways, that I know aren't right.
I'm glad I've learnt to say "no".