if i had a title, it wouldn’t all seem a muddled mess.

i understand in my head that sometimes doing what’s right is not always doing what you want to do.

it’s the foundational principle that i live my life on. it’s the crux of my testimony, of my faith–the wise exercising of my agency. i try very hard to do this well, to make the choices that will get me closer to becoming the person that i want to be–i’m trying to live so that the self-centered natural part of me submits to the nobler spiritual part of me, to my Father’s will.

i believe that it would be impossible for me to understand life if all it involved was following one instinctive urge after another, doing whatever i wanted because i wanted it. imagine that for a moment. there would be no order, only chaos. no kindness, only hedonism. no love, only lust or at best a self-interested investment in someone else. there would be no times when you have to lay what you want on the altar of what is best in order to do what you know is right.

i am not always good at this. sometimes i eat cookies for dinner and say things that i shouldn’t say. sometimes i’m too selfish to see that i am being unkind because i’m more interested in making someone feel bad than i am in being the bigger person. sometimes i choose to fritter away my time rather than do something meaningful with it. sometimes i don’t open my eyes to the very real opportunities i have to be generous and open-hearted to people who probably need it far more than i know.

some decisions just aren’t that difficult for me anymore. i made them a long time ago, and every time i choose again to not do it–or to do something good–the results, how i feel, and everything about how it shapes my life confirms that those decisions are right.

sometimes, though, the decision is between something really great and something truly wonderful. when the truly wonderful trumps the really great, but your heart wants the really great nonetheless, that’s when things get a bit more difficult. i know what needs to be done. i’ll do the thing that results in the truly wonderful, and i’ll try to do it with joy. sacrifice is important. i get it.

but sometimes sacrifice sucks.

and that’s how i’m feeling right now.

4 Responses to “if i had a title, it wouldn’t all seem a muddled mess.”

  1. But why should instinct be bad? What about the idea of becoming a person whose first instinct is always to do the right/best/good thing? (I don’t necessarily know the answer to that, but wonder what you think)

  2. Wow…way to put what I’m feeling right now into words. One of my friends always reminds me of two things when I’m making those super-huge sacrifices that completely suck and make me cry:

    1. Think back on the last huge sacrifice you made. Directly or indirectly…it allowed something great into your life. Let the memory of that wonderful thing be what pulls you through the trials that you’re in right now.

    2. Jer. 29.11

    I’m hoping it’ll get better soon.

  3. you wrote out so many thoughts that i also share, but in a much more eloquent way than i could ever do.

    i guess all we can do, is trust that the decision we are making, so long as it’s thought out and for the right reasons, will all work out one way or another.

    hope that the great and the truly wonderful things come to you always.

  4. Z–I think I’m probably talking about the same thing you are talking about here. I believe that it’s necessary in this life to learn to not listen to our baser instincts–the self-centered natural ones that would overrun us if we let them–and instead become a person whose default position is to be the better person. If someday my instincts are always to do the right thing, then that means that I have listened enough to that still small voice that encourages that behavior that I have transformed myself.

    I guess my point is that, in some ways, that instinct is developed. In others, not so much. Sometimes you have to consciously choose to do the thing that is against what you WANT, so that you can do what’s RIGHT.

    I hope that makes sense. Your question’s such a good one.

    2–LindzML: Many thanks for that scripture. It’s a very good one, one that I will mark and refer to often. And it’s a good point–the huge sacrifices we make only bring us huge blessings. And blessings are where it’s at.

    3–Brookem–Thank you. It’s true. At some point, you just have to do the best that you can and know that, if it’s for the greater good, there really is no bad in that. I hope you are doing well.

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