Integrity requires that we choose to live courageously by our core values over the comfort of taking the easy way out when faced with a tough decision that calls our values into question.  Recently someone offered me a high profile speaking engagement that may have helped our local community spread the word about our ministry.  They also required that I sign a release form that gave them ownership of the content I would present.  I chose not to speak.  

In past years, I might have been distracted by the perceived opportunity to share with our larger community all the wonderful things that I believe Northstar Community participates in out of my unbridled enthusiasm for our mission.  I wouldn’t have thought about the implications of willingly signing over my creative and proprietary rights in the process.

Today, I realize that this was not a respectful request when the speaker (me) was not being paid or even acknowledged for their work.  This is not an integrity move, and it took more courage than it should have for me to respectfully decline the offer.

Many carrots will be dangled in front of our faces that will tempt us to make decisions that are not consistent with our core values.  One way I am learning to distinguish a real carrot from fake fruit is giving myself time to make decisions.  All decisions.  Even small decisions.  Pausing to prepare, think about the implications of my choices, notice and acknowledge times when I want to avoid acting with courage - this time is necessary for me to live with integrity.

It’s not easy.  What shortcuts have you been tempted to take?  How have you allowed an “opportunity” to blind you to the cost of pursuing it?