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.”
“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?