Lately I’ve been ruminating over the fact that so many of the things worth doing in life are hard.
I’m just going to come out and say it – it’s hard to have convictions, especially when those convictions are counter-cultural. When you try to stretch your dollars; when you try to reach your children’s hearts and not just actions; when you try to eat whole foods; when you try to fill your mind with intelligent, wise thoughts; when you try to go against the culture – it’s hard.
I get very frustrated when I read frugal blogs or money saving blogs and the women that write them are constantly screaming at you (through the use of too many exclamation marks and overcapitalization, which seems to be a major problem on many of these blogs and Pinterest articles) that they can’t imagine how ANYbody could possibly spend more than $200 a month on groceries and life is so much SIMPLER this way and to actually pay FULL price for an item is just UNTHINKABLE I mean who could POSSIBLY actually want to buy mayonnaise at MORE than 50 CENTS???!!!!!!
I’ll be honest – I would so much rather pay full price. I would so much rather walk into a grocery store and buy the highest quality item at whatever price it happens to be at that moment. It’s much, much harder to try to pinch pennies and make things yourself. The whole idea that eating at home is more satisfying than eating out just doesn’t resonate with me. I’d much rather eat out at Panera, because they make a better salad than me – or Maggiano’s, because they make a better pasta than me. And really, the fact that I didn’t have to dirty pots and pans and dishes means that it tastes infinitely better than even my best recipe. So no, it is not really always more enjoyable to eat dinner at home than out.
Since I am fully aware that many of my (and my husband’s) convictions are intensely personal and not shared by many other thoughtful, godly people, I can also get awfully jealous. People who don’t feel convicted about Christian education get to send their kids to school for free. People who don’t feel convicted about children in church can put their kids in the nursery and actually pay attention in the service. People who don’t feel convicted about TV shows get to watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette (which my husband recently banned me from doing). People who don’t feel convicted about whole foods cooking can buy premade frozen meals and enjoy the ease of making them.
I have multiple friends who don’t use microwaves. That sounds hard. Sometimes I’ll bet they wish they could just pop something in the microwave. I have friends who compost. That sounds hard. I’ll bet they’d say it was easier to just throw things in the trash.
If I were to pretend that trying to teach a 13-month-old to sit through a sermon were easy and any other way was unthinkable, I would be lying. Perhaps some people are so passionate about certain things that the thought of doing anything else seems outrageous and stupid. And if you are, that must make your life easier – but don’t discourage others who aren’t always excited about following their convictions. I’m not tempted to put my children into public school, but I cannot possibly deny that it would be cheaper and easier than homeschooling or Christian schooling. Most of the time, MY way of doing things seems outrageous to me.
None of this is to say that following your convictions is not satisfying. But satisfying is very different from easy.
In the end, I think that this post is really about encouraging us all to accept that we are all at different places in our convictions. We need to be each other’s cheerleaders towards their own convictions, not towards ours. We need to have understanding that other people may not find things as easy as we do. We also need to acknowledge when it’s hard to do what we think is right or better, because pretending that it’s easy as pie is only confusing and frustrating to much of the rest of the world. When we don’t agree, we still need to support and be reasonable. I am thankful that recently I’ve been able to chat with a couple of friends who support, advise, and listen to my convictions even though they don’t share every aspect of them. I hope that I can turn around and do that for another.
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