Can’t I just learn the hard way?

English: Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
English: Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Little man really wanted to try some of that vanilla I was putting in the banana bread.  “It’s yucky, buddy,” I said.  “Yummy in the bread, not so good by itself.”

“Pleeease?”

“You won’t like it.”

“But Mom, can’t I just learn the hard way?”

Oh my gosh, he is just like me!  How many times have I struggled and strained to have my way against all warnings and my own better judgment?  Course, I am not usually so honest about my stubborn streak; it takes an eight-year-old to be that forthright.  Me, I justify.  I give my arsenal of good reasons and my own persuasive puppy-dog eyes.  “Pleeease?”

When I know I should just say no instead of adding one more thing to my plate, I have to learn the hard way.  Why not rest when I need to?

When I know I am going to regret that second doughnut in about 5 minutes, I have to learn the hard way.  Why don’t I stop when I’m full?

When I’m smack up against a closed door I don’t like, do I listen to that still, small voice saying turn around?  Nope, not me.  I have to learn the hard way.  Just… gotta… force… it… open — there!

And unlike little man and his vanilla craving, my learning-the-hard-way tends to hurt.  Bad.  I burn out, dry up, lose faith, lose heart.  I trade freedom and joy for shame and a dark pit.  Why do we make it so hard on ourselves?  The funny thing is, God’s way — that narrow way we tend to associate with deprivation — is always the best way.  I never regret obeying him in the first place.

You ever have to learn the hard way?

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