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We can’t have it all. More of this often means less of that. And we must learn the wisdom and value of meaningful tradeoffs throughout our life and relationships.

Perhaps it’s human nature to want to have our cake and eat it too. But we soon realize we can’t keep it if we want to enjoy how it tastes. And if we choose to hold on to it then we miss its tasty goodness.

To be sure, tradeoffs are not always so dramatic – all or nothing decisions. They often come in matter of degrees.

For instance, moving closer to the city comes with more convenience and more traffic, while moving farther away comes with less traffic but more drive time.

We have to decide just how much convenience, traffic, and drive time we’re okay with. And we each will have different degrees of how much we’re willing to tolerate. But we’re making tradeoffs all the same.

And this principle holds throughout life.

For example, doing the work we love might not have the highest earning potential. All the same, we have the responsibility to provide for our families and so must decide how much we focus on pursuing our passion and how much we focus on simply making enough to support our family.

We also have to tradeoff the time we spend with our family with the time put into work. The more time we spend at home means the less time we spend at work. But less time at work also means less ability to provide for our family.

It’s an imperfect and elusive balance of tradeoffs.

Do we move closer to work or to our spiritual community? Is greater preference given to cultivating our friendships, our kid’s education, or other cultural values important to us?

It’s rare for one decision to satisfy all our desires and we must make meaningful tradeoffs.

This is not giving up on what’s important. But it is prioritizing the most important things in this particular season of life.

And we’re better prepared to fully accept the cost of our decisions when we’re intentional.

Don’t frustrate yourself trying to do it all. Be intentional about the tradeoffs of life and live life to the full.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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