of a nine-year-old. So, the girls began to bake. Brooke measured and poured, whipped and stirred, and carefully placed a batter-filled cake paninto the oven. Then she turned on the oven light and watched the cake bake. Her cake becameher whole focus. She couldn’t stop looking at the cake and grew increasingly impatient with theslow-passing minutes on the timer. Nothing kills patience like solely focusing on the object of your desire. And tragically, impatiencebecomes the breeding ground for compromise. About 30 minutes into the 45-minute baking time, the cake looked done. It smelled done. Brookeand her friend wanted it to be done. She reasoned it must be done! Hope helped retrieve the cake and placed it on the counter to cool. And it wasn’t long until the cake imploded. The cake couldn’t withstand the pressure of an undone center … and neither can we. If we obsess over the cake and make it our whole focus, character atrophies. If we make growingin godliness our obsession and keep our focus on God, our character matures. And a maturecharacter makes for a solid and well-done center. I thank God every day for every “no” He has graciously allowed and continues to allow in my life.Our key verse Proverbs 16:3 teaches, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he willestablish your plans.” Through placing my focus on God, I have embraced His plans for me, and Itrust that a “no” from Him is really a blessing. I used to pray, “God, let me, let me, let me!” I now pray, “God, please never let my success outgrow the character necessary to handle it.” Indeed, it’s because God loves us, He sometimes says no.