I’m trying to cut back on caffeine, for personal health reasons. After significant research, I’ve decided this really stinks. There is not a suitable replacement for a nice, steaming cuppa Joe, first thing in the morning.

Tea just isn’t the same. First, it lacks the rich, wake-me-up smell of coffee. Second, compared to coffee, it just tastes weak. Third, did I mention it’s just not the same? For me, one good cup of coffee is better than a thousand cups of whatever herbal watered-down concoction you want to give me.

I’ve tried decaf, but what’s the point? Drinking decaf coffee is like pouring water in your gas tank. It’s a mean trick, and will leave you sputtering and coughing before it kills you. If I’m gonna die, I’d rather die fully caffeinated, full-speed ahead.

This has led me to experiment with various recipes and caffeine levels. I’ve ordered decaf beans to grind with my caffeinated beans in a variety of ratios. I’ve added flavored creamers and sweeteners to create a just-right, reduced-caffeine masterpiece. I don’t like any of them as well as I like my freshly ground, fully-loaded, 8-cup-pot-a-day of java wonder.

But despite the amount of loyal adoration I pour into my cup each morning, my coffee doesn’t offer me the same level of commitment. Caffeine is a mean friend, luring me in with its flavor and aroma, then stabbing me in the mug with its long list of negative health consequences.

So here I sit, the author of a column called “Coffee Talk,” drinking a cup of cinnamon spice tea. It’s scandalous. Do they have rehab centers for struggling coffee addicts? Maybe a halfway house, where they serve tea that smells like coffee?

This whole experience reminds me of a quote I heard many years ago. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have anything you want. You just have to decide what you want most, count the cost, and go after it.

I can have the coffee if I want it! Or, I can have good health. But for my particular set of issues, I can’t have both.

The same is true for almost anything in my life. I can be thin and fit — but to do so, I need to eat healthy and exercise. Or, I can eat all the carbs I want, and spend my days on my couch watching Gilmore Girls reruns! But if I choose the second, I probably can’t have the first.

Sometimes we get to have multiple things on our want list. We can have successful careers and successful relationships. We can have good health and good friends. But at some point, we have to make choices about what’s most important to us, and say no to the things that don’t fit into our best-life equation.

Despite our best choices and best intentions, sometimes we don’t get exactly what we want. Health nuts still become ill. Devoted spouses still experience the sting of unfaithfulness. Hard workers sometimes don’t get the promotions they desire.

But one thing is for sure: when we spend our lives seeking God and trying to please Him, we will be rewarded with His presence. And according to some pretty impressive sources, one moment in His presence is worth the cost, no matter how high.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.