Are Your Compromises Hindering Your Freedom and Integrity?

are your compromises hindering your freedom and integrity

At 36, Elizabeth was proud of her accomplishments. A thriving career, a loving marriage, a bright energetic daughter, and an entourage of friends that loved and supported her.

Yet, when you talked with her or spent any time around her, you detected a brokenness that was difficult to explain. There was the person she wanted you to see, an accomplished professional with a full life, and a distorted reflection that was her true self.

People say you know a person by the company they keep. I think you know the person by the compromises they make.

People are what they do in the secret spaces of their hearts. The truth of their lives surfaces when the pretense that keeps their image intact is revealed.

The Truth Came Out

Elizabeth experienced her unveiling on a Friday afternoon as her workweek was ending. She was looking forward to the weekend and some planned time with her best friend. She glanced at the clock, 4:35 p.m., as the phone rang. The display reflected her boss’s number. “Hey Liz, I need to see you in my office.”

Elizabeth gathered her coat and purse, thinking she would leave from his office for home, and made her way to his suite. She knocked confidently on the door. He responded, “Come on in!”

find your purpose

As she opened the door, the tension in the room spilled into the hallway. She hesitated, her confidence shaken, took a deep breath, and then stepped through the doorway. She was immediately distracted by the shadows stretching from the large corner window across the conference table. They fell onto the floor and rested at her feet. As she regained focus, she saw her boss sitting at the head of the table, the director of HR to his right. A file folder laid between them.

Elizabeth shifted, right then left, until she landed squarely on both feet, “What’s going on?”

He motioned for her to join them at the table. She sat at the opposite end.

Elizabeth shifted nervously in the chair trying to find a comfortable position. She could tell by her boss’s body language, and the presence of HR, that this discussion was not going to be friendly.

Her boss reached for the manila folder and rummaged through the file. He found two pieces of paper and started to read a list of client names accompanied by the dollar amounts that had been taken from each account.

Elizabeth’s heart accelerated, and then it felt like it stopped, leaving her breathless and anxious. Her arms and legs became numb. Tears collected in the corners of her eyes. She had been so careful, small amounts that flew under the controller’s radar, a total sum of just under $9,000.

Elizabeth had spent 13 years at the same firm. She had grown up there—socially, professionally, and intellectually. Unfortunately, it would be the place where the pretense of her life would be laid bare.

People are what they do in the secret spaces of their hearts. The truth of their lives surfaces when the pretense that keeps their image intact is revealed.

Our Compromises Make a Big Impact

You may think this story is fiction. Unfortunately, it is based on the truth of a woman whose life was destroyed by deception and arrogance. She allowed small, seemingly harmless compromises to chip away at her integrity. Until one morning, she woke up convinced that her actions had no consequences. If she could keep the dark spaces in her soul hidden, then her reputation remained intact, and life would be fine. However, with each indiscretion, her heart hardened, and she was left with only one option: to live her life disguised, a distortion of the person she was created to be.

Before you tell yourself this could never happen to you, let me say, I never thought it could happen to me. But it did. My offense was not stealing from others. Yet, it was just as destructive and damaging.

work life balanceMy work was demanding. A career that as a young woman I would never dream of having. I told myself that it would take sacrifice to continue to advance. A willingness to take on more, travel more, give more until my job consumed me. The compromises started small, missing a birthday celebration to meet a project deadline. Then they shifted to choosing work over relationships, family events, and growing in my relationship with God. The accolades and advancements were far too enticing to consider prioritizing anything over work. Small, insidious negotiations fed by pride led to exhilaration, then exhaustion, and ultimately burnout.

My husband cautioned me to slow down. He encouraged me to reprioritize, but I was blinded by my success and numbed by the ongoing tape that played in my head: “You’re doing this for your family, it must be God’s will.”


I collapsed at work just outside the elevator door.

Suddenly life became very clear. My concessions had resulted in the loss of my health. But even more importantly, they resulted in the loss of myself.

Safeguarding Our Health, Freedom, and Integrity

I wonder what decisions you are making today that will have eternal consequences. Small, daily compromises slowly altering your perspective, taking you further away from who you hoped to become, who you were created to be, and enjoying a life of freedom that God offers to us all.

want to grow your faith start nowThe Bible reminds us: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

If living an honest life in relationship with God is what sets us free, then living a dishonest one apart from His presence only entraps us in a life of bondage to success, money, and social pressures.

Elizabeth ignored the truth, her freedom evaporating each time she cheated an account. I evaded the truth. My sense of worth diminishing each time I selected work over life.

At our core, we want to be women of significance. We want our lives to count. But along the journey, we can’t forget that each thought, every decision, all our actions matter. The truth matters; God’s truth matters. And more than that, God’s opinion and our relationship with Him are what bring us true meaning.

When we know where our significance comes from, it allows us to walk more freely and make wiser decisions. Our choices and the compromises we make have a compound effect, and we believe that living lives of truth, love, and integrity will make a positive impact on those around us rather than leaving a wake of destruction and pain.

Because we are women of grit and grace, we want to be women who leave our mark on this world. A mark that will carry on forever.

At our core, we want to be women of significance. We want our lives to count. But along the journey, we can’t forget that each thought, every decision, all our actions matter.

Feel like you’ve made one too many compromises for your life to matter? Think again, and watch this…

Struggling to find your true identity? Don’t miss this episode of This Grit and Grace Life: How Do I Know What Defines Me? – 078

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