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Why You Should Give Up "Good" Things

Uncategorized Oct 14, 2021

This photo was taken recently as my brother tied the knot to his stunning bride on a day that was nothing short of perfect. In the 80+ weddings I’ve attended (yes, you read that right), few have been more impactful for me than this one.

Sure, this is my one and only brother, and watching him cement his manhood was incredibly moving for me (I cried multiple times throughout the day). And yes, I had the chance to give a speech where I absolutely roasted (and toasted) him in front of his friends and family, bringing me great joy in the process. But there was a subplot to this story that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

A few years ago, my brother was dating a different girl. She was kind, fun-loving, beautiful, and clearly loved him with all her heart. As the relationship developed, it was becoming clear that there was an issue they were likely to face for the rest of their lives: religion.

My brother is a devout Christian and one of the most godly men I know. While the girl he was dating was spectacular in so many ways, she was agnostic and didn’t have much value for faith. She was respectful, and when they talked about what their lives might look like together one day, she always made it clear that she would leave room for my brother’s faith. But it was also clear this fundamental difference between the two of them was going to worsen as their relationship developed.

I rarely play the “older brother” card. In fact, I believe most of the “cards” that can be played to assert unfair advantages should be folded by default and only played if they will help others more than they will help you. This was one of those moments.

I asked my brother if he really believed this relationship was the best God had for him. I made it clear that I trusted him and that he had my support regardless of how the relationship turned out, but I explained that while the religious differences feel small and manageable now, they were going to grow significantly later.

Then, I explained to him a principle I learned in my dating years that has changed my life.

Every “no” is an investment into the “yes” you’ll one day give.

I couldn’t promise the time or the conditions, but I knew that if my brother could say no to this relationship, God would give him an even better one at the right time. I had seen it happen with my friends, and I knew it from my own experience as well.

My brother took my advice. Right before their one year anniversary, he ended it, knowing in his heart of hearts that God would give both of them relationships that would better suit them long-term. That was 2017, and just a few short years later, my brother has married the girl of his dreams.

I can’t promise the same outcome for you, but this principle does not fail. Playing the long-game is hard work. Navigating relationships is even harder. But short-term sacrifices for long-term gain is the mark of every man of integrity.

In case you don’t have a big brother in your life to guide you, allow me to be the one who gives you permission: You’re allowed to say no. In fact, if you are willing to say “no” to good things, God will give you great things.

Cheering you on,

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