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We want to be good and avoid the bad. Yet we move no closer to the good by only focusing on what to avoid. We must seek the light more than we fear the darkness.

Just Say No

From a young age we are taught No. Don’t touch that. Don’t go there. Don’t look at that. Just say no!

There is value here because as children we don’t have the maturity to discern good from bad. And a strong No protects us from much harm.

But we often maintain this limited mindset even as adults.

For example, our sexual ethic tends to focus more on what behaviors to avoid rather than on actively pursuing the beauty and goodness of our sexual expressions.

Likewise, many couples initiate therapy with a laundry list of things they want their spouse to stop doing. But they have little vision of the deeper intimacy and connection they actually desire.

And our news outlets are no better. The leading stories highlight conflict, corruption, and hate – things we bemoan and would like to eliminate. We are fed all the fears and anxieties of living in a broken world yet we rarely get to taste the splendor and wonder that is available.

Finding Our Yes

A better approach is focusing on the good we can say Yes to.

When we focus on the good we are becoming, much of the bad we seek to avoid becomes a nonissue.

If I want to fly to New York, for instance, my primary concern is simply to board the plane headed for New York. On this plane, I don’t have to worry about not going to L.A. This takes care of itself by simply focusing on where I do want to go.

The same is true in our life and relationships.

Seeking the light and focusing on the good moves us closer to the man we want to become.

This is not turning a blind eye to the darkness. There are many things we must still actively resist.

At the same time, our attention remains focused on the light.

Don’t get lost by merely avoiding the bad.

Seek the light more than you fear the darkness. And let this deeper Yes be your guide.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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