First of all, I just want to say, I worked really hard to organize my thoughts for this post! I realize my last one was somewhat scattered and that was mostly because I was brain-dumping. But I know that can be difficult to read, so I tried a little harder this time! Also, I appreciate your patience as I’m getting my life in better order and blogging may not be super timely each week. My goal is to publish one post per week, but I’m not going to hold myself super tightly to Mondays because I’m not ready for that strict of a deadline just yet. One step at a time! 🙂
I think most people would agree that a life well-lived requires sacrifice. Jesus demonstrated this first and foremost. He was the only ever perfect human and he took it upon himself to demonstrate true love and true sacrifice by making the ultimate sacrifice of his life on the cross. I am saved by his sacrifice alone and I, the speaker of many words, am rendered temporarily speechless when I stop to think about what he did for me. ❤
But his sacrifice was only the beginning of my life. *I* am still an imperfect human being and while I am saved by the blood of Jesus, this doesn’t mean I am without fault or blemish. I make mistakes, I fail, I embarrass myself, I have to re-learn the same lessons until I can’t take it anymore. I’m a sinful, selfish, human being. When I stop to think about how this all connects, I realize that Jesus was the true picture of sacrifice. His life here on earth was just getting us ready for what was coming in our own lives, especially when we choose to follow Him. He is the example of how we are to live. Yes, he did it perfectly and we cannot; however, it’s our goal to strive toward (even though we won’t achieve) perfection, because it’s what he told us to do. When you love someone, you want to please them, you want to deepen your relationship with them, whatever that cost, right? That’s how I feel about my relationship with my savior.
And that cost? Sacrifice… of my will, of my comfort, of my perfect, ideal way of life. Nothing, this side of heaven, comes without some sort of sacrifice.
With that in mind, I began to think about the goals I have for myself, primarily as regards my relationship with God, my health (mental and physical), my marriage, and my parenting, because those three areas are basically the cornerstones of my life and require the majority of my focus now and forevermore. I’ve been putting too much stock in making and striving to reach goals that I can completely control. I can control administrative tasks, chores, food that I eat, and a dozen other things. And while these things have their place in the grand scheme of life… when they begin to take precedence over the things that are eternally important, they suddenly lose all value.
I am a very black-and-white thinker. I think that comes along with being a control freak and insisting that everything have a controlled place at all times. But suffice it to say, I have a really hard time living in gray area…which is basically 99% of life. Making goals that are more complex and harder to measure progress on has always been more difficult for me. I tend to hyper-focus on the little areas within those goals that I can 100% control and brush the rest aside. This is just a recipe for disaster.
I’ve realized (and am still learning how to do this well) that in order to make lasting progress in the important areas of my life, I have to get comfortable with being out of control, being uncomfortable. I need to accept that I am sacrificing being 100% comfortable 24/7. This doesn’t mean I neglect self-care or belittle the importance of having comfortable, safe, spaces in my life. But it does mean that a LOT of what I previously considered necessary is not truly necessary; at least, not in the eternal sense.
I am sacrificing some of my evenings to spend time with my husband.
I am sacrificing two hours of sleep to get up early and cultivate my mental and physical health.
I am sacrificing being liked by my kids 24/7 because I LOVE them and sometimes love is tough.
I am sacrificing 100% control over my children so that I can take care of myself. Others can love my kids well, too. It takes a village.
I am sacrificing making frivolous purchases so that my husband and I can afford to go on a nice date once a month.
I am sacrificing the “need” to schedule every minute of the day and learning to enjoy empty space. It’s not only practical (we arrive to places more on time now! Ha), but it’s freeing. Breathing room is important.
I could go on, but I figure you get the picture. Sacrifice is terribly difficult, but exponentially rewarding. After making some significant sacrifices in the past couple of weeks, our family is already reaping the benefits of my perseverance. I still drive the struggle bus quite often, but it’s becoming less disheartening. My attitude toward sacrifice has changed. I see its place… and I praise Jesus for new mercies every morning! ❤