As you stare at the days ahead of you, be willing to give something up. And be willing to give it up with no expectation of return-on-investment, other than gained maturity, wisdom, and a heightened sense of self.

(If you can’t tell, I’m writing this to myself.)

As an adult who walks this earth, and as someone who lives a commonplace life (no servants to answer my door, in other words), I have countless opportunities to do withoutÚ chocolate, Facebook, sleeping in, the dollar section at Target… they’re there, everywhere.

Wisdom helps us dictate throughout our days what to say yes or no to—it’s a hallmark of adulthood, in fact, this ability to say “no” when our flesh wants to say yes. It’s not easy.

Saying no is about quieting ourselves so that we can hear who we really are. -Tsh Oxenreider

And it’s not about holiness, or about proving ourselves a worthwhile person who’s better than our neighbor who’s chowing down on junk food. It’s about quieting our soul so we can hear who we really are. It’s about nitty-gritty, down-to-earth awareness.

This reminder to say no has no agenda beyond what it is— a simple reminder, a call to action, that life isn’t always about our immediate gratification, and that this week, you can choose to remind yourself of this through a simple “no.”

Think about your default indulgences, the rituals in your life you save for your escape hatch…is there something there you might need to set aside for a short period of time in order to strengthen your soul? Could you benefit from a brief hiatus from that (fill in the blank) in your life?

I know I have one, so this week, I’m going to start the simple practice of saying “no” to that thing so that I have room to listen, to grow, to learn, and to mature by denying a small thing in my life. I’m curious to find out what I’ll learn from this centuries-long practice of temporary self-deprivation for the betterment of my spirit. I hope God’s voice becomes clearer.

What’s been your experience in saying “no” to yourself so that you say yes to maturity?