That feeling in your gut when you know you shouldn’t have done something….

That feeling in your gut when you know you shouldn’t have done something is called conviction.  It sucks.  And it’s awesome.

All at the same time.

This past Wednesday I went on a Mother-Daughter adventure.  We went shopping, we went out for dinner.  It was lovely.  We went to Staples.  I’ve been researching, thinking on, dwelling on… a tablet.  To be more specific… an iPad.  I have thoroughly thought this through, and I knew exactly why it would be a good idea for me to have one, too.  I get my own classroom this year at school.  This is a new thing for me as I’ve previously been pushing a cart from classroom to classroom.  The only, and I do mean only downfall to this is that I don’t have a SmartBoard or a computer in my room yet.  I believe they’re coming, but I’ve gotten quite accustomed to their presence, and I have to go back to teaching without them.  I know, spoiled, right?  So I convinced myself that I needed a tablet, because I don’t like the idea of hauling my laptop back and forth from home to school.  That’s how they get broken.

During Chapel during 2nd week of Family Camp, the Pastor talked about how the sub-conscious of our minds will go to great lengths to convince us to justify things we shouldn’t do.  He used the example that if he has a weakness for cookies, in a strong moment he decides not to keep cookies in the house.  So at 10 pm when he wants cookies, his brain reminds him that he’s out of laundry detergent.  Naturally, it’s an emergency, and he has to go immediately to get laundry detergent.  So off to the 24 hour Sobey’s he goes to pick up laundry detergent.  While he’s there, he remembers that he needs milk.  To get to the milk, though, naturally he has to go through the cookie aisle.  In the cookie aisle, there’s a teenager stocking shelves with new kinds of cookies.  It’d be rude not to stop and talk to him, and when the stock-boy asks if he’d like to try this new kind of cookie, of course it’d be rude not to take them…. so he walks in the door from Sobey’s at 10:30 pm with laundry detergent, milk, and cookies… and he says to his wife “I don’t know how it happened!!”  He explained that our brains will do this as a way of getting around what we tell them when we have patterns formed.  It will form new pathways to get us to what we know we really want, no matter how much we’re trying to deny ourselves.  I don’t know if this is a real-life situation, or if it’s simply a funny illustration, but boy does it ring true for me right now.

As I was saying, I convinced myself that I needed this thing.  I convinced myself that my 1300.00 MacBook Pro wasn’t a good enough tool, and that I needed a tablet.  It’d be better if I could hold it in my hand.  I’d be a better teacher, because I’m up with all the latest technology.  I’d look cooler to the kids.  I’d look better to my Principal.  My MacBook would be safe at home.  I’ve got the money in my savings account so it’s not even like I’m putting it on my credit card.  I need it for school.  I NEED it.  These were all things I thought through for a good three-four weeks while I researched tablets.

Wednesday night, I bought a tablet.  Not just any tablet… I bought an iPad.  I put it on my VISA, fully intending to pay it back off with the money in my savings account.  But you know that feeling you get in your gut when you know you shouldn’t have done something?  Yeah… that yucky feeling that no one likes?  We don’t like to feel guilty.  Well, that’s how I felt.  I justified it away again, for a little bit…..

But it kept coming back.

I told myself, no… it’s fine.  You saved for this, you need this.  It’s fine.  I set it up anyway.  I downloaded apps.  I felt even guiltier, and an even stronger sense that I shouldn’t have this awesome thing.

So I prayed about it.  I asked God what HE thought about me having this awesome thing.  It basically came down to this — if He didn’t want me to keep it, He should just keep doing whatever He was doing and right shortly I wouldn’t even want it anymore.  Well… that’s what happened.  I didn’t want it anymore.  I’d put it in the box on Thursday night after playing with it and setting it up nearly all day, and I didn’t take it out of the box again until today.  But the other important part to this ‘saga’ is that I’d dramatically roughed up the packaging when I opened the iPad, thinking it was mine to keep forever, and who needs the packaging when that’s the case?  I knew that sometimes, stores won’t take products back if the packaging isn’t in good enough condition.  I prayed again.  If God wanted this iPad to go back to the store, if I wasn’t supposed to have it, Staples needed to take it back even though the packaging was crumpled and crinkled.  Well… I took it out of the box again.  In the parking lot at Staples to clean the screen off and wipe away my filthy fingerprints.  They took it back.

And then… that weight lifted.  That ugly feeling of knowing you shouldn’t have done something but you did it anyway… it was gone.  I relaxed knowing that the money in my savings account can buy the bedroom window in my new house that desperately needs to be replaced.  I relaxed knowing that the money in my savings account can buy the paint I want to paint the ocean puke off of the bathroom walls (it’s seafoam green… it has to go).  I relaxed knowing that I’d listened to my Father.  Knowing that obedience is worship.  Knowing that by returning the iPad, and not having another thought about it… was worship.

I learned that conviction, while it sucked to have to give up something I really wanted, is a very good thing.  That conviction led me to do what I knew in my heart was the right thing.  I went about it wrong, I shouldn’t have bought it in the first place… but I listened really closely when I started feeling that uneasy sense of wrongness.  Let me assure you that the feeling of knowing you’ve done what’s right is better than the feeling of keeping that thing that’s wrong.  Or continuing to do that thing that’s wrong.  There’s a deeper satisfaction than what I got from the two and a half days I spent with the iPad.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that buying or having an iPad is wrong.  What I’m saying, is that I didn’t need it, I don’t need it, I shouldn’t have bought it, and that money in my savings account is there for a reason.  It’s there because I knew going into the summer I had things to fix on the house.  The house that God provided for me.  I feel better knowing that I’ve chosen God’s way.

I want to always choose God’s way.

Here’s the thing… and this is a next morning edited addition to this post.  God doesn’t give us rules to keep us from enjoying life.  He gives us rules so that we can enjoy life to its fullest.  He gives us rules for our good.  In this case, He gave me the rule that I shouldn’t spend $400.00 that I don’t need to spend… not so I can’t have fun… but so I can continue to save it for the things He meant for me to have with that money, and so that I can give Him the glory later when I say “I could have an iPad right now, but instead I have windows that reduce my energy bill.”  I prefer that way.  I prefer God’s way.

This reminds me of the song my brother has been singing incessantly for the past two days.  “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin.  Here are the lyrics:

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there’s life everlasting
In you there’s freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow

and here’s a link to the song on YouTube.

I know this post has been lengthy already, but as I haven’t blogged in a week, my list is lengthy as well.  Please bear with me.

115.  Big, warm blankets.

116. Board Games with Ashtyn and Tiff

117. Beating Frank at Ticket to Ride.

118. Cozy cotton PJ sets

119. Inspiring truth in a message I needed to hear.

120.  Women willing to share of themselves to teach and encourage other women how to relate to the men in our lives in a way that honours God

121.  Goofy worship team practices, and how everything seems to come together really well anyway.

122. That I live in a country that is free – I have freedom of speech, my internet isn’t censored, and I can worship God openly without fear of persecution.  I can write this blog!

123. The sound of an acoustic guitar.

124. Air conditioning.

125. The opportunity to influence young lives in a few weeks, and the ability to look to God for the strength to do it.

126.  God’s Grace — undeserved and yet totally beautiful.

127. Chubby 2 year old girl with flowers in her hands, hands clasped, eyes closed, and leaned on the church pew while the pastor prays.  Children follow our lead.

128. The way fog dampens and makes everything still and quiet.

There should be an island out there…

129. Harmony that blends naturally, effortlessly.

130. Bacon and Chocolate Chip cookies.  Together.  Trust me.

131.  Rumbling thunder and pretty cloud formations.

132.  Pouring rain.

133.  Conviction — it’s hard, but it lets me know I’m connecting deeper with God.

134. Mommy time.

135.  Anticipation of new beginnings in the fall.

136.  Friends willing to help me move.  Such an incredible blessing not to have to pay movers.

137. How counting gifts makes me look for more.

138. Accapella worship — how it doesn’t need guitars, drums, or amplification to be pleasing to God.

139.  Little babies falling asleep in my arms.

140.  The “terrifying glory” in a spectacular sunset.

141. The crisp freshness of fall’s pending arrival.

142. The silly noises my dog makes – how they’re a way she communicates with me.

143. The end of Family Camp.

144. Brother-Sister Adventures

145. My brother

146. The way God listens, hears, answers, and never lets go.

147. Sleeping with the windows open.

148.  Way less responsibility – an actual vacation

149. Strong hands to work out the kinks in my neck

150. The sound of crickets chirping in the woods

151. Not a single thing to get up for in the morning — turning off the alarm for the first time since mid-June.


All photos were taken by me.


5 thoughts on “That feeling in your gut when you know you shouldn’t have done something….

  1. Oh, that conviction hurts, does’t it? But the relief when we follow is so uplifting, as you note. So sorry it wasn’t the right time for your iPad. Your time will come. 🙂

    I finally got one. We had held off because it was truly not in the budget. When my husband’s laptop was dying, he suggested he take my laptop so I could have the most up to date system, since I am the heavy user. I went with a MacMini and iPad combo and am extremely satisfied on two fronts: One-I researched the right solution for me, and this is it for this season; two-It was all the more gratifying because I waited. So different than my behavior in years past!

    1. Thanks Kim. It’s ok that it wasn’t the right time. I have a perfectly functional MacBook Pro. There’s no need for an iPad. I’ll be much more satisfied replacing the bedroom window in my new house, I’m sure 🙂

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