On Friday night I was walking through Target, doing some shopping for the essentials of bachelorhood: protein powder, a Mother’s Day card, and shampoo. As I went down the aisle to grab the protein powder, I was struck by a young mom with two little kids. The little girl was in the cart and the little boy was sitting in the seat of the cart. Both kids had to be under the age of 4. I heard laughter and broken conversation of a mother and her two kids, until her young son said the quote of the day.
“I can’t take it anymore. I just want Nutter Butters!”
He did not scream, yell or whine; he simply made his desire for Nutter Butters known to his mother. She was not threatened, nor did she seem to mind. In fact, what I heard from her immediately was laughter before I myself almost dropped my protein powder in laughter. She quickly moved on to assure her son the Nutter Butters were coming.
I do not know anything else about this family. They could have been at Target on a Friday night for hundreds of reasons and there could have been just as many reasons for his Nutter Butter desire. Maybe he was promised Nutter Butters for good behavior, or there could have been Nutter Butters in the cart he wasn’t allowed to open until they fulfilled their obligation as law abiding shoppers, or maybe, he just really likes to say Nutter Butters (if you watch The Walking Dead, I really want to see Abraham turn Nutter Butters into one of his one-liners in season 7).
Honestly, I do not care about the context. I needed to over hear this conversation.
I want to be in touch with my needs, wants, and desires as much as this little boy is. I long to genuinely ask for things and accept whatever answer I get. As I process, grow, and learn to develop every part of myself into a mature man and leader – I am learning the importance of validating my emotions and not believing the lies thrown at me.
Asking for things is risky. I could be told no; it could lead to rejection. However, being told no does not mean I am unworthy.
Not getting what I want is not a reflection on who I am or my worth as a man.
However, if I don’t ask how can I expect anything from my silence?
Can I live without the metaphorical Nutter Butters I do not ask for? Sure, I am already doing it. Can I thrive without asking for it? Will I be able to grow through risk without allowing other people into my heart or soul? Is my stoicness going to create opportunities for emotional connection?
As I reflect on this, I think about the ultimate scenario where a Son asked His Father for something and was told no – Jesus ask God, this: “‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup (death on the cross) from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.'” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus – the fully God and perfect man – was told no.
Have you ever thought about that before?
Being told no does not mean you are unlovable, unworthy, despicable, inadequate, stupid, or lacking. In fact, it is Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection that makes me worthy. For that, I am incredibly grateful.