I wanted to get my nails done. We had some extra money, and I knew my husband wouldn’t really mind—he’d probably even say that I deserved to treat myself! But there was something in the back of my mind that made me feel guilty, so I was contemplating what to say to him before leaving the house.
Should I tell him up front, “Hey, I would really like to go get a pedicure—is that okay?” But what if he said, “Well, money has been a little tight, maybe you should wait…” and I didn’t want to wait? So then I thought, I’ll just get out and—oh, surprise! There’s a nail place right here. I’ll just pop in and see if there’s much of a wait….
It was ridiculous, and in hindsight, I was overthinking it. Getting my nails done was not a necessity, and it was not worth stressing about. It wasn’t even important. But I let it wiggle down into my thoughts, and I played out all the possible scenarios.
In the end, I chose poorly.
I left without telling him, and I got them done without telling him, and I came home and hoped he wouldn’t notice. It was crazy, really, because we share a bank account and he would see the charge tomorrow. Plus he is very observant and would likely notice my toes. I chose a white lie, and I regretted it. Now, I was heading home with guilt and I’d been thinking about it the whole time anyways, which made the “relaxing” pedicure not so relaxing. It was all so silly, and so sinful at the same time.
Because I knew what was right, but I chose wrongly. I knew my husband would probably not mind, but fear of not getting what I want or the possibility of his logical thinking interrupting my plans made me choose secrecy. I regretted it instantly, and I prayed all the way home.
I am using this example because it’s so ridiculous and clear what I should have done. But don’t we face these little battles internally every single day to some degree?
Should I spend my time on this thing that doesn’t really matter when I haven’t read my Bible?
Should I say this to my friend, even though it’s not very honest, but it would make our conversation go more smoothly?
Should I choose this, even if it is not making me more like Jesus?
The definition of a white lie is this: “a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone's feelings.” But my friends, I would argue that there is no such thing as a harmless lie. Because a lie is a non-truth. It’s an obstruction of reality, a bending of the truth in a way that benefits us or prevents us from facing a response or reaction that is undesirable. At the end of the day, it’s a sin. No matter how “small” it may seem. I don’t want to be overdramatic, but I do want to respond to sin with deliberate action and obedience.
Our thought lives matter because they play a role in a bigger story. Our thoughts are part of this internal battle we face every day as Christians. Paul explains it like this: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:3–6, emphasis added).
My obedience that day was not about my nails. It was about choosing honesty and the willingness to be told “no” to something I wanted. It was about denying myself for the interest of my family. It was a small decision in the moment. But if I continue to make these “small” decisions in favor of myself instead of the interest of my family, I will find myself in a world of trouble. The battle is bigger than the simple choice to get a pedicure. The battle is about having a pure and sincere heart before God that affects everything I do (1 Tim. 1:5). The decision was less about my nails and more about holiness. And I chose self over sacrifice. See, there’s nothing wrong with pedicures. But there is something wrong with deception and avoidance of the truth, and that’s the territory I found myself wandering about aimlessly that day.
I want to encourage you today to take a step back and think about your choices and decisions. Are you making them for yourself, or for the good of the Kingdom? Is your motive to avoid conflict and keep the peace, or to choose the better portion that pleases God? I want to choose Christ over comfort, and holiness over ease. I want to lay my choices out before Christ and know that I made the right decision at the end of each day. I want to have a clear conscience before the Lord and be able to say that I delighted more in Him than in myself.
What does this look like for you?
Maybe you feel I’m overthinking it—just make a decision, who cares?! But I can’t help but call these words to mind from 1 Samuel 16:7: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” My heart was not aligned with God in that decision. It was solely worried about myself, and the things of my little kingdom.
If I cannot choose to honor Christ in the small things, why would I be able to choose Him in the hard things when it comes to holiness? It starts with the small, daily surrender of a heart that’s chasing after Him alone. Let’s not overlook the simple choices as a starting point. Let’s take those baby steps of obedience that are building up a faith that rests on Christ alone, not on self or our own ability. It may seem small in the moment, but will accumulate to produce a faith that’s bigger than we could ever imagine!