Sacrifice - I dislike the word. It requires giving up something I'd rather keep.
But can sacrifice be necessary, even liberating?
Last fall I wrote about an epiphany - "I can't do it all."
It should be obvious. I have limited time; I have vivid imagination. There is no possible way my hands can find the time to do all the projects my mind dreams up.
But still I try. And become frustrated. If only I can try harder, become more efficient, I think I could find time for everything I want to do.
When will I admit that I can't?
This winter, I read a post by Amy that I haven't been able to forget. She said that every time we make a goal, something needs to be sacrificed. We can't add anything to our already full schedule without losing time for something else.
Sometimes, I make a deliberate sacrifice (I'm going to stay up late and sacrifice sleep to finish this project.) Other times I make sacrifices by default, and it is my relationships that suffer.
As Amy said, "Setting sacrifices on purpose is significantly better than setting them by default."
I don't want to live life reacting to whatever whim strikes my fancy or whatever voice shouts the loudest. I want to deliberately choose what is the best use of my time in serving the Lord, my family and the others God has placed in my life.
Several weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing reading books. As you know, I love to read. I've often said that reading is like breathing to me. I can't not read.
But as busy women, striving to use our time wisely and to read only the best books, my friend challenged me to spend one day a week reading nothing but the Bible.
So for the month of March, I took on the challenge. For one day a week, I read nothing but the best book of all. An exception was made for school and books I read aloud to my children. If I deemed it necessary, I could check my email once during the day.
But no other reading. No books. No mail. No blogs. Not even writing, which for me is so much a part of reading.
I found out the depth of my reading addiction. I quickly learned that on Monday evening, I should clear off my reading material from the bedside table and sofa, because on Tuesday (the day of the reading challenge) I could pick up a book in a spare moment and start to read before I even gave it thought. When the computer screen stayed blank all day long, I found out how often I sit down "just to check email" and was startled to find the next day, that I had not missed anything urgent by missing one day online.
A surprising result of the "discipline of denial" was the motivation to stop procrastinating. Somehow, knowing I was going offline for a day propelled me to send an email, place an order, write a note, that I had put off for weeks.
It was coincidence that placed this reading challenge over Lent. I've always had a negative attitude about Lent. Christ asks his followers to take up their cross and follow Him every day of the year, not a only a few weeks before Easter. But this project this month has been helpful to me to step back and deliberately consider my use of time.
In the past months, I've been online far less. I expect that continue. I miss reading some of your blogs, but "I can't do it all."
Sacrificing the good to choose the best. Reading is only one aspect of a lifetime pursuit to spend my few days, hours, and minutes on this earth serving the Lord.
What about you?