Responding to the Conscience
Seven months ago, I packed up our three animals, my clothes, and anything I might need for six to eight months and drove away from our apartment in Arizona to Maryland for a job. This was the only solid job offer I had received in six months, and we were against the wall financially. I tearfully hugged my husband, and I could see the emotion in his eyes, too.
As I drove out of the four feet of snow, my heart started hammering wildly, more tears sprung to my eyes, and I started to have trouble breathing. My mom, who had traveled from Maryland to help with this move, asked if I wanted her to drive.
I sniffed, shook my head, and gripped my steering wheel. But I glanced in the rearview, and when I did, I heard a murmuring in my head: why are you doing this? Don’t go.
Crying, I kept driving. Because I didn’t feel like we had a choice; it was take this job to help support our family or hate each other because he would be the only one working.
. . . . . .
When was the last time you had a twinge of conscience? How did you respond to it?
This question was asked by one the blogs I follow, one of my favorite blogs actually. While I could have responded as a simple comment on the post itself, I felt compelled to create a post of my own about feeling the twinge of conscience. Because our stories are our testimonies.
I responded poorly. And I’ve never told anyone.
. . . . . .
The entire move, I couldn’t help but feel I had done something wrong. A gentle whisper pervaded my thoughts: don’t do this; turn around. The logic part of my brain, though, the part that handles finances and planning, was shouting at me: what are you going to do otherwise?!
Looking back, I now feel that small, gentle whisper was God telling me I was not doing what He had asked of me.
As the months progressed, things got worse. Tears became frequent, practically nightly. My heart ached (and still does). I began to see things in a different light. I was no longer excited for the opportunity; instead, I was miserable.
But I never told anyone I was miserable. I feigned happiness day in and day out. Because I felt if I let people know I wasn’t happy, I was showing weakness. If I let them know I felt I hadn’t made the right choice, I would be scolded.
In the months since, I have learned not to care what others think of my choices. I should not concern myself with what others think of my mindset or my aspirations. What matters is if I am doing what I have been called to do.
. . . . . .
I mentioned I was going to begin a fast. Week one did not go as planned, and I beat myself up for every mistake, as I am prone to do. I grabbed a cookie or two one night; I ate a few M&Ms at work out of sheer boredom. I decided the pre-packaged frozen chocolate covered fruit we have is acceptable since it curbs sweets cravings, but I realize that’s not staying true to fasting desserts.
But I have heard another gentle whisper on my heart during this time, so maybe I’m not doing everything entirely wrong.
This whisper has told me to “fast” complaining.
I realized I have complained about what I am unhappy about, what I don’t like, and just things in general. I am feeling angry all the time again, and that’s not a healthy state to be in.
Instead of complaining about my day or what I struggle with, I am going to change it to thanking God for another day and another opportunity. Instead of complaining out loud, I am going to give those concerns and frustrations to God, whether that means openly praying them during my prayer time or writing them in my journal as they arise. Either way, I am going to release them because, otherwise, they just poison my attitude.
. . . . . .
When I complain, I can feel a nudge of stop doing that. But, as we all know, once we begin complaining, it can be difficult to stop. But I know that nudge is my conscience, or God, telling me to stop and re-examine before I continue to speak.
This time I am going to respond better.
This whole experience has showed me that I have been self-centered in the past. I have been able to see that I gave up gifts I had been given to pursue things the world told me to pursue, because the world told me those things were necessary.
I am writing more now. I found avenues to publish material to get my content out there. I have reconstructed my blog to reflect my writing aspirations. (I hope you like it. Let me know!) I am actively working on writing pieces I had put away for years because I was told, not by friends or family or my husband but by society, that it would never matter because no one would ever care.
We all make mistakes. We all do things we shouldn’t have done. We all get off the path at some point. We don’t always listen to our conscience’s whispers to us. What matters, though, is that we eventually do.
I am choosing to actively listen.
. . . . . .
When was a time you didn't listen to your conscience? What did you learn from that experience? What are the steps you took to change it?