You Can’t Have It Both Ways

For years before my deep conversion, I led a “double-soul-life.”

I am a cradle Catholic, but I truly encountered Jesus as a Person for the first time when I was in high school. Once I met His gaze, I couldn’t shake Him entirely. But I tried.

On the outside, I upheld moral standards. On the inside—in my personal, private life—I faltered. I defended the Church’s teachings, but turned a blind eye to the Commandments that were a little too inconvenient for a high school girl with a boyfriend. I refused to miss Mass, but avoided God in prayer. I led campaigns for the defense of life and clean water in third world countries, but would participate in ruthless gossip about a classmate.

I sought earthly pleasures and happiness while trying to be just good enough to warrant eternal happiness. I was the generation that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel. I wanted it all: both the ways of God and the ways of the world. I wanted to be a good Catholic while remaining attached to my sins. I desired to walk in the way of sinners while also delighting in the law of the Lord (Responsorial Psalm).

This double-soul-life never satisfied me. Eventually, my charade crumbled. I was left only with the reality of who I really was. And Him. He was always there.

And who I really was wanted all of who He really is. So I allowed Him to “teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:17). For the first time, I experienced lasting happiness, true peace, unmatched clarity, and authentic affirmation.

Of course, this is a lifelong journey. Daily, I have to choose Jesus over myself. Daily, I have to choose the way of holiness over the way of the world. Most days, I fail or fall short. But there’s not a day that passes without my deep understanding that I can’t have it both ways, and that my Lord’s way is the only one worth having.

Daily, I have to choose Jesus over myself. Click To Tweet

To better understand and identify sin in your life, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s section on it here.

Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. You can find out more about her here.


  • Reply
    Stephanie McCutcheon
    December 14, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for baring your soul, Olivia. You described me to a “tee.” Unfortunately, I was much older when I came to the same realization – “late have I loved thee, O God!” Choosing Jesus brings more peace, joy, and love than I’ve ever known.

    • Reply
      Olivia Spears
      December 14, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      I’m right there with you, Stephanie! Praise the Lord for His patience, even now when I choose the world over Him. Extra thankful for Confession and new mercies every morning!

  • Reply
    Maddy Scott
    December 14, 2018 at 8:06 am

    You described me too! God bless you and your journey with Christ this Christmas. ❤️

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    God Bless I see myself in your words x

  • Reply
    Sharon Taylor
    December 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I’m right there with you also, Olivia; and a late bloomer as well! So thankful for our truly merciful and loving God! And thank you for your comforting words. A blessed Christmas to all!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful! I feel deeply identified. Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Wow it was truly like you just described me! And also helped me identify my behaviour.
    Thank you

  • Reply
    Adeline Schneid
    December 14, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Felt like I was the one who wrote this! Thanks for sharing, sister!

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