Making the Hard Choices

Hilly PathLately I’ve been feeling discouraged about my daily tendency to repeat certain sins. I often let pride, fear and selfishness reign instead of reaching out for and clinging to God. I’ve noticed it in the smallest of details in my day. Not just choosing wrong actions, but dwelling on sinful thoughts like they’re a melting piece of chocolate in my mouth.

In the moment I feel justified—as if I have no other alternative. But when I come to God each day and pour out my heart in prayer, I’m reminded of my willful, independent, rebellious choices. I confess and grieve for the sins I’ve committed. I know that God forgives me even before I utter the words. He extends grace with abandon. But I feel there’s something missing each time I step away from the altar and head out into the world.

Am I really not receiving His grace—embracing it?

Am I giving God lip-service?

And if so, then am I really repenting or just unburdening a guilty conscience?

I may not know the complete answer to these questions. I trust that God hasn’t finished revealing the truth to me in this matter. And believe me, He is gentle in His revealing—never condemning or pushy.

But here’s the one thing I see and hear clearly—echoing in my head lately …

Make the hard choice!

I am much too easy on myself. I give myself an out, time after time. For some reason I’ve convinced myself that I don’t have to make the hard choice each time I’m at a crossroads. I’ve convinced myself that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But, as I come face-to-face with my sin each time I pray, I am further convinced that it does.

It does matter.

Every time I chose to avoid the hard choice—to act in God-honoring ways and resist sin—I hurt myself, my husband, my marriage, my sons, my friends, my influence, my spiritual progress and, most importantly, my relationship with Christ. Ultimately, I am resisting taking Christ’s hand—climbing that narrow, rocky path of earth. In fact, every time I choose not to make the hard choice …

I’m actually making it harder to choose the hard choice next time.

So each day I’m challenging myself to resist my earthly desires, my selfish propensity to sin and make the hard choice to obey. Each time that obedience will look different, but I know that much of it will require eating a heaping helping of humble pie! Even beyond that, much of it will require accepting the pain … the pain of this broken world, the slights others regularly sin against me, and the unimaginable evils that live right alongside Christ’s beauty and redemption.

What hard choices are you resisting?

Are you willing to make the “hard choices” along with me?

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” –James 5:7

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” –Galatians 2:20

Photo by robmercier00
 

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Linking up with – NOBH, Monday’s Musings, Matrimonial Monday, Playdates with God and Marriage Monday’s

  • Oh, Beth, you are singing my tune! Just this morning I was praying for forgiveness for choosing the same old wrong paths. Ugh. My biggie is procrastination. I have been praying the Prayer of Jabez of late, especially to keep me from evil and deliver me from temptation.

    • Aww, sweet, Kim! I love your heart. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Oh, Beth, you are singing my tune! Just this morning I was praying for forgiveness for choosing the same old wrong paths. Ugh. My biggie is procrastination. I have been praying the Prayer of Jabez of late, especially to keep me from evil and deliver me from temptation.

  • Those hard choices try to evade all of us, Beth. I appreciate your honesty about it. This rings true with me, too: “In the moment I feel justified—as if I have no other alternative.” May we always choose the way of grace though. In the end, it’s the easier choice, if we can just make the hard choice first.

    • Yes, this really has become more and more clear to me–how an almost stupor like condition takes over and I can’t seem to resist being foolish, rebellious or lazy in the moment, Lisa. It reminds me of Paul’s words, “doing what I do not want to do …” (Romans 7:15-20) Thanks so much for your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Those hard choices try to evade all of us, Beth. I appreciate your honesty about it. This rings true with me, too: “In the moment I feel justified—as if I have no other alternative.” May we always choose the way of grace though. In the end, it’s the easier choice, if we can just make the hard choice first.

  • Oh yes, life’s all about a serious of hard choices day in, day out.
    My son-in-law modeled this well for me this weekend when he told his 3 year old daughter quite firmly, ‘you have a choice to obey or to disobey.’
    That says it all, yes?
    Grace, grace, my friend …

    • I really is that simple, Linda … if only it were that easy! But then, if I’m willing to die to my desires and live to Christ, it becomes His burden, not mine, right?! So what am I waiting for? 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by. I hope to swing by your place, but am out of town at the moment, so my time is very limited. But I’m going to try!

  • Oh yes, life’s all about a serious of hard choices day in, day out.
    My son-in-law modeled this well for me this weekend when he told his 3 year old daughter quite firmly, ‘you have a choice to obey or to disobey.’
    That says it all, yes?
    Grace, grace, my friend …

  • Stacey

    CONVICTED!!! As if your words weren’t enough, I was letting a Hershey’s Kiss melt in my mouth as I read. Coincidence??? I think NOT!! 😉 Love you, my friend!

    • Ha ha! I love it, Stacey! But now you’ve got me craving a sweet morsel too! 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by to encourage me, “sweet” friend!

  • Stacey Micklevitz

    CONVICTED!!! As if your words weren’t enough, I was letting a Hershey’s Kiss melt in my mouth as I read. Coincidence??? I think NOT!! 😉 Love you, my friend!

  • Pam

    I love this post. I know that you are a person who works hard to model Jesus, in being full of grace and yet truth, at the same time. I usually err on one side or the other-full of grace, or full of truth, but not balancing the two. Working on that!!

    • Yes, Pam, that skill of balancing is so elusive to me too. I was just talking about that struggle with my traveling companions today. I’m just so glad we also have a traveling companion for “life” in Christ who enables us to do so much more than we can do on our own. Love ya!

  • This is convicting. My husband and I finally worked through an issue that’s come up several times in the last couple years, Saturday night. I forced myself to think of a different way to express my feelings, as what I’d said in the past hadn’t been clear. It was hard, but it was good. I struggle with laziness a lot… what you wrote is motivation to get off my rear and get to work!

    At the same time, I take great comfort in the fact that God loves us whether we’re obedient or not. Our salvation is not dependent on our works, or lack thereof. AND it is GOD who gives us the will and desire to obey him. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!!

    Thank you for this, Beth.

    • Yes, Jaimie, when I wrote this I was thinking specifically about some lazy patterns in my marriage too. It’s so easy to fall into those patterns without even realizing it. I appreciate your honesty and desire to regroup and try harder each time. Let’s pray for each other in this and maybe we’ll see our burden halved! Thanks also for coming by and encouraging me, friend!

  • GailBP

    This is so good, Beth. I can identify on so many points. And I love how you’ve admitted you don’t know the complete answers but the hard choices are usually God’s choices. And I especially like your point that making the easy choice makes the next hard choice harder. Much wisdom, my friend. Bless you.

    • Yes, Gail this has been something God has been brewing in my heart and mind lately. I’m glad you resonated with it. And I always appreciate the encouragement on its relevance and impact. Thanks so much for swinging by. I hope to carve out time to come by your place. I’m at an out of town conference, so my time and accessibility are limited. 🙂

  • GailBP

    This is so good, Beth. I can identify on so many points. And I love how you’ve admitted you don’t know the complete answers but the hard choices are usually God’s choices. And I especially like your point that making the easy choice makes the next hard choice harder. Much wisdom, my friend. Bless you.

  • Great post, Beth!! By the way, when I clicked on the link submitted for our Link Up, it goes to a broken link: http://www.messymarriage.com/2013/04/making-hard-choices.htmlthe. I’m going in to change that right now.

    • Thanks so much, Fawn! I’m at an out of town conference and using the hotel Wi-Fi and it kept giving me an error message. So I’m not surprised! And thanks for the encouragement on the post too! 🙂

  • Great post, Beth!! By the way, when I clicked on the link submitted for our Link Up, it goes to a broken link: http://www.messymarriage.com/2013/04/making-hard-choices.htmlthe. I’m going in to change that right now.

  • Thanks so much, Fawn! I’m at an out of town conference and using the hotel Wi-Fi and it kept giving me an error message. So I’m not surprised! And thanks for the encouragement on the post too! 🙂

  • Yes, Gail this has been something God has been brewing in my heart and mind lately. I’m glad you resonated with it. And I always appreciate the encouragement on its relevance and impact. Thanks so much for swinging by. I hope to carve out time to come by your place. I’m at an out of town conference, so my time and accessibility are limited. 🙂

  • Yes, Jaimie, when I wrote this I was thinking specifically about some lazy patterns in my marriage too. It’s so easy to fall into those patterns without even realizing it. I appreciate your honesty and desire to regroup and try harder each time. Let’s pray for each other in this and maybe we’ll see our burden halved! Thanks also for coming by and encouraging me, friend!

  • Yes, Pam, that skill of balancing is so elusive to me too. I was just talking about that struggle with my traveling companions today. I’m just so glad we also have a traveling companion for “life” in Christ who enables us to do so much more than we can do on our own. Love ya!

  • Ha ha! I love it, Stacey! But now you’ve got me craving a sweet morsel too! 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by to encourage me, “sweet” friend!

  • I really is that simple, Linda … if only it were that easy! But then, if I’m willing to die to my desires and live to Christ, it becomes His burden, not mine, right?! So what am I waiting for? 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by. I hope to swing by your place, but am out of town at the moment, so my time is very limited. But I’m going to try!

  • Yes, this really has become more and more clear to me–how an almost stupor like condition takes over and I can’t seem to resist being foolish, rebellious or lazy in the moment, Lisa. It reminds me of Paul’s words, “doing what I do not want to do …” (Romans 7:15-20) Thanks so much for your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Aww, sweet, Kim! I love your heart. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Nancy Sturm

    Thanks for such a genuine, soul-searching post!

    • Thanks so much, Nancy. I really appreciate your encouraging words, my friend. 🙂

  • Making it harder to choose the hard choices. This is so insightful, Beth! When i put off the right choice, it does become harder to change it up–because of the web I weave.

    I hope you and your husband enjoyed the conference you attended this weekend. What a special thing to go together. I’m sure we will benefit from what you experienced!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Laura. Yes, the conference has been good and still going. I, too, hope that it stirs lots of helpful insights that I can share here. And as I said over at your place, hoping your experience brings a lot of godly wisdom for all of us to feast on! God is so good to bless us with these experiences and lovely people, isn’t He?! 🙂

  • laura boggess

    Making it harder to choose the hard choices. This is so insightful, Beth! When i put off the right choice, it does become harder to change it up–because of the web I weave.

    I hope you and your husband enjoyed the conference you attended this weekend. What a special thing to go together. I’m sure we will benefit from what you experienced!

  • Thanks for your kind words, Laura. Yes, the conference has been good and still going. I, too, hope that it stirs lots of helpful insights that I can share here. And as I said over at your place, hoping your experience brings a lot of godly wisdom for all of us to feast on! God is so good to bless us with these experiences and lovely people, isn’t He?! 🙂

  • rboerner

    Perfectly said. I don’t know how many times I say “If I would have just said “yes Lord” years ago I would be in a much different place right now. He would still be asking me to make the hard choice but man the blessings I have missed out on for choosing the “easy choice”.

  • rboerner

    Perfectly said. I don’t know how many times I say “If I would have just said “yes Lord” years ago I would be in a much different place right now. He would still be asking me to make the hard choice but man the blessings I have missed out on for choosing the “easy choice”.