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“Look for the hardest decision to make. That’s usually the right one.”

I’ll never forget hearing my dad absent-mindedly drop that truth bomb on me on a quiet car trip. I don’t even remember the context-but I remember the deep clarity it brought me. It’s a motto I’ve frequently fallen back on many times as I’ve gotten older.

" Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord." – Psalm 119:1

I’m going to make a bold claim here: I think Dad's statement resonated with me so deeply because integrity is hard for all of us sometimes. Integrity means making the hard decisions. It means we have to have awkward conversations with people we love. It means owning our mistakes when it would be so much easier to just sweep them under the rug. Sometimes, it even means being wrong… and who likes to be wrong?!

As hard as integrity can be (wow, even admitting this is awful), I think if we’re honest, at one point we’ve all felt the relief that comes once those awkward conversations are over. We always feel closer to the people who hug us after we admit our mistakes. I think the joy referenced in Psalm 119:1 doesn’t come from some holier-than-thou mountaintop where we never make mistakes. We’d be a weird tribe of people if none of us messed up, wouldn't we? We certainly wouldn't have real joy.

Joy comes from when, as a community, we follow all of God’s commands… especially the ones about forgiving one another when we make mistakes (Colossians 3:13).

History shows us that integrity isn't a trait we have by default. It's a daily practice. The frustrating thing about those pesky “daily practice” things is that you have to practice them daily.

Are there hard decisions in your life right now? Will you join me in building integrity daily? It'll be messy, it'll be rough, but God promises us a greater joy in the end.