“The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone” or “An act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god.” (Source: Webster’s Dictionary)
Thankfully, I’ve only experienced one of those two definitions for sacrifice. I’ll let you guess which one J.
The topic of sacrifice has been on my mind a lot these days. Lately I also seem to be having frequent conversations about sacrifice and achievements. I’m both saddened and surprised by the number of people I encounter who don’t seem to understand the concept of making sacrifices in order to do what you have to do in order to get what you want or need.
I’ve had to make many costly sacrifices in order to fulfill what I believe to be my calling in life. I’ve sacrificed my desire to live a lone without the frustration of having roommates. I’ve sacrificed having great paying jobs in order to work for non-profit organizations where I get to do what I love. I’ve sacrificed having nice brand named items in order to keep afloat financially. There was a time when I was filled with anger and regret about many of my choices in life; but thankfully through much reflection and meditation over the years, I’ve learned that sacrifices are never wasted.
People who have goals, a calling, and a mission in life know and accept that sacrifice is part of the journey. Achievements will always require sacrifice; some will be small, others will be major. As I type these words, I want to give you a message of hope by telling you that your sacrifices are never in vain. They are not random, pointless, useless; they are important.
I noticed these key words in Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of sacrifice, “…giving up something that you want to keep…”. Sacrifices are difficult because we are required to give up something that we don’t want to. We are placed in a position of now verses later. The question being asked of us is, “Will you give up this in order to achieve that?”. It’s not an easy decision sometimes, but your willingness and ability to give up something against your own wishes means two things, a) you’re serious about what you need to do; b) you have your priorities in order.
I wish I could say I am great at making sacrifices, but that would be a bold lie. I suck at decision making when my emotions are involved. Giving up my wants for the unknown takes me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that sacrifices are always for the better. We are not sacrificing something in order to make life worse for our self or others.
I know from experience how difficult sacrifices can be, so I’ll share with you the most important lesson I’ve learned, “Let it go.”. The harder and longer you hold on to something physically, emotionally, and mentally, the more difficult it is to move forward. If I hadn’t spent so much time grieving, and being bitter about whatever it is that I had to give up, I probably would have had more happiness, joy, and energy for the things I was making sacrifices for.
Being broke for years while I worked full-time and paid my tuition for graduate courses would have been a much easier process had I not spent those years crying about living in cramped, moldy smelling basement suites. Instead of gratitude, I was miserable. I hated my job, I hated where I lived, and I hated not being able to socialize because I had no money to do so or needed to stay home and tend to school work. An attitude of sacrifice would have allowed me to see that I was giving up something I wanted in the present for something that would better my life in the future. In other words, I forgot to enjoy the journey.
Let “it”, whatever “it” is, go. Grieve briefly and move on to what ever it is that will take you closer to where you are meant to be. Trust the process, trust God.
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31