My husband rarely suggests topics for me to write about. Mostly, he's just relieved when I don't write about him. He did, however, propose today's subject, and I'm going with it. 

While it's much more fun to discuss the dysfunctions of others, today I shall aim the spotlight on my own.

One of my endearing quirks became very apparent recently when we returned from a trip to visit our son and his family in California. (Note: dysfunctions are weird things other people do; "endearing quirks" are weird things I do.)

I knew I would be so wonderfully distracted by my grandchildren during our trip out west that I'd miss the final few rounds of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on TV. Not a big deal, I know, but Wimbledon is one of my favorite sporting events of the year.

Before we left home, I freed up all the space I could on our digital recorder (DVR) and set it to record the many hours of tennis action I'd miss. That was the easy part. The hard part was then avoiding media reports about the tournament. I didn't want to find out who won or lost before I had a chance to watch it.

I'm always that way about sporting events I record and my husband doesn't get it. Joe thinks knowing the outcome would make it more relaxing and enjoyable to watch. Sometimes I just don't know what planet that man comes from. Of course I don't want to know who wins! The suspense is a huge part of the fun.

After Wimbledon results were finally out of the daily news cycle, I could relax a little. Until, that is, I came home from our trip to a pile of unread newspapers. I handled those papers like they were bombs, afraid I might accidentally glimpse a headline that would spill the Wimbledon beans.

The problem is, I love reading the newspaper. In fact, I'm rather compulsive about it. One of the first things I usually do when we return from a trip is to read all the papers I missed while we were gone.

So there I was, as Joe wryly observed, torn by conflicting compulsions: my endearingly quirky compulsion to not prematurely find out who won at Wimbledon and my compulsion to read the newspaper.

Certainly my "first-world" dilemma was truly and utterly insignificant, but that's not always the case with our conflicting compulsions. Sometimes they can be a matter of life and death.

The Apostle Paul offered a weighty example of this concept in his letter to the Romans: "For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15)

Raise your hand if you can identify with Paul's inner conflict. Ok, that's what I thought -- we've all been there.

We want this ? and that ? and we can't have both. We want our will ? but we also want God's will. We sometimes want bad things ? but we also want God's best for our lives.

The Bible says there's an ongoing war raging between our "sinful flesh" and the Holy Spirit, who takes up residence in everyone who sincerely chooses to believe in and follow Jesus Christ.

But it also tells us there's a way to victoriously deal with this battle of conflicting compulsions. Jesus is that way. His power in us, helping us to trust His promises to us, can keep us on God's good path.

It's a big deal -- God's way leads to life; every other way ultimately leads to some form of spiritual, emotional, relational, or even physical death.

Jesus gives us a chance to choose life. Let's take it.

Crum ( lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at