Living with any sort of conviction is difficult. Inconvenient might be a better word. Living as a christian in Syria right now is difficult if not impossible. Living with conviction in America is inconvenient. Its especially inconvenient when the people around you do not share the same convictions. Whenever you explain why you do certain things, the response is usually an irritated look. Even among people who you would think appreciate the struggle, often the response is less than impressive. I recently had a conversation with someone who is converting to Orthodoxy and they expressed the difficulty in following the Orthodox calendar in a protestant culture. I’m not Orthodox, but I appreciate the dilemma.
I’ll use the official teaching on contraception as an example. Trying to follow the church’s teaching in Humane Vitae is inconvenient for a variety of reasons. Obviously, I’m not the first to write about this. A large family is a lot of work. More kids means a bigger vehicle, bigger house, bigger grocery bill, etc. Which also means I have to make more money. It also means less of other things like sleep and free time. When we started telling people my wife was pregnant with our fourth child we did not receive the reactions we thought we would get. Several people seemed annoyed, even family. I don’t want to sound like I am whining. Having a larger than normal family is a great blessing, but its also work. It is a daily practice of dying to self.
We live in a (christian?) culture that values pragmatism above all. What’s most convenient? What’s easiest? Getting four young kids to sit still during mass is not what’s easiest. Trading in my Jeep to buy a mini van wasn’t convenient. However, I need it. In general, I would say whatever helps you to die to yourself is probably a good thing. I have learned that my paycheck isn’t mine. It belongs to my family. I simply have the honor of working for it.
I write all this to simply say that living with conviction on any issue is not easy, but its worth it. Really trusting God means we trust that what he says is bad is bad and what he says is good is good. Dying to yourself is a good thing. Family is a good thing. Giving up because something is inconvenient is not a good thing.