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Your desire for a full and fulfilling life will necessitate your learning that following your desires does not mean following every whim, nor indulging your pleasures to excess, but accepting that life and sacrifice go together.

If you want to live debt free, you will have to stop impulsive buying. If you want to go back to school, you will have to sacrifice money and time. If you want to rise to the top in your career, you will have to devote long hours to work and be prepared to postpone starting a family. Choosing to marry a particular person means giving up wondering whether another one might have made a better partner. If you wish to commune deeper with God, you will have to devote yourself to periods of meditation when the goal is to empty yourself of turmoil.

I’m talking here about choices. I’m talking about deferring gratification, that is, learning to discipline your desires, postponing some pleasures and harnessing your passion for the sake of larger goals that you have in mind.

Why all this talk of monitoring our desires? Isn’t following your passions a good thing? After all, passion isn’t passion unless it makes you feel out of control and unable to resist. But that’s precisely the reason why you must pause and go within. Passion isn’t a bad thing in itself, but its power to consume you with such a thrilling, yet aching sense of yearning that causes everything else in sight to blur in comparison. Maturity from within advises you that there are seasons in your life when you have to postpone all that achy-breaky yearning until a better time, when you’re better able to live with the consequences of riskier choices.

How many times have you ignored a voice within cautioning you “Slow down, don’t lose your head?” What has happened on some of those occasions when you’ve ignored your inner voice of wisdom advising you to proceed with more caution?

–Renita Weems

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