Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sacrifice

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?

12 comments :

  1. Great post, Gina. Some of the very things I've been pondering myself. You said it well. :)

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  2. Hi Gina. I have the same issue with over stretching myself and also being guilty of reading emails and blogs etc. without planning the time properly. This week I decided to be more mindful of the way I spent my time. Each evening I set myself a list of goals for the next day. I was shocked at how long the list was and how small a fraction of it was possible once I took out of it the essential chores like cooking and washing up. I found, though, that by setting the goals i did at least get some of them done instead of wasting time flitting between lots of things and not getting anything done properly. Even though I gave up work 8 yrs ago to raise Little Son, I still find it hard to proerly focus on household work. i would have been sacked if I had been like this in my career!! I also agree that religion is for every day and that we should live our whole lives spiritually, not just once a week or for a special festival or event. Love from Lily. xxx

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  3. Hi Gina just found your blog & have spent an hour reading old posts..I would like to try your miracle bread but need to know if the T is for teaspoon or tablespoon ! figure this is important for the recipe to succeed LOL especially as I will be making it Gluten free Hoping to hear from you soon Claire in Australia

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  4. Yeah, I have the same issue. I've recently started a business and that makes the computer time even worse. I find that when I'm dreading doing a task ahead of me that I sit down for 'just a sec' to check e-mails. After all, what if an order came in? Those 3 minute sessions several times a day can really stop my momentum. Thanks for a kick in the pants this morning. I needed it!

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  5. Claire -
    Thanks for visiting! Sorry for the confusion on the recipe. I use T for tablespoon and tsp for teaspoon. You are right- it does make a difference!
    Happy Baking!

    And thanks to all of you for making me feel that I'm not alone!
    Gina

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  6. Thank you so much for this post. I think it is something we all struggle with. Our pastor issued a similar challenge to us just recently concerning spending more time reading God's word. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless.

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  7. I find I get a lot more accomplished when I stay off line. (Right now I am at an odd spot because I am down on doctor's orders.) It is hard to do, but when I'm up and about I try to limit myself to half an hour a day. It allows me time for my charity crocheting/knitting which is very important to me.

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  8. Great post on sacrifice, Gina. Thank you. It works to engage some time a day or a week to read an inspiring book and find inside a deeper sense of being.

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  9. Hey Gina!
    ALWAYS give yourself a break, especially when it is Holy Spirit driven!
    God bless you with a awesome week!

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  10. Thank you for this post. You hit on some things I am working on/with, too. And I am going to give the reading challenge a try. More to break an internet habit and also to deepen my Bible study.

    I love the recipes, too!

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  11. Gina, have been enjoying your writings, recipe's for some time even though I have been a silent fan. This post hit a nerve. I realized about a year ago that I had been reading all kinds of Christian fiction, nonfiction, etc but had never finished reading my One Year Bible. I was ashamed. I made it a priority and a goal to read the One Year Bible and reduce my reading in those other books that took up my reading time. It has made such an impact on my Christian life, that my goal has been to continue with the daily reading. God's word is always fresh and revealing as we mature in God's word. Good post!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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