A Choice Is A Limitation



Christian speaker, author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot wrote letters to her daughter Valerie eleven months before Valerie’s wedding. The letters were compiled and published as the 1976 book Let Me Be A Woman.

In these letters-turned-chapters, Elliot speaks to the beauty of womanhood that is given by the Lord.

Chapter title names include “Self-Discipline and Order,” “Love is Action,” and “Love Means a Cross.”

One of the most thought-provoking chapters is entitled, “A Choice Is A Limitation.” In it, Elliot makes simple but profound statements on marriage, vocation, and vows:

There have been many revisions and improvisations in modern weddings … In one of these improvisations the phrase has been changed from “as long as ye both shall live” to “as long as we both shall love.” This cuts the heart out of the deepest meaning of the wedding. It is a vow you are making before God and before witnesses, a vow you will by God’s grace keep, which does not depend on your moods or feelings or “how things turn out.” As others have said, love does not preserve the marriage, the marriage preserves love.

When you make a choice, you accept the limitations of that choice. To accept limitation requires maturity. The child has not yet learned that it can’t have everything. What it sees it wants. What it does not get it screams for. It has to grow up to realize that saying Yes to happiness often means saying No to yourself. … To choose to do this is to choose not to do a thousand other things. … To do this is not to do that. To be this is not to be that. To be a woman is not to be a man. To be married is not to be single — which may mean not to have a career. To marry this man is not to marry all the others. A choice is a limitation.

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