The power of sacrifice in our lives is highly underrated. In our fast passed hectic world we often find ourselves doing too much but accomplishing little. Sacrifice can help with that. We find ourselves doing what feels good instead of what is good for us. Sacrifice can help with that as well. We find ourselves doing what is easy but sloppy instead of hard but rewarding. Yep sacrifice can deal with that as well.
I have a new year's tradition of sacrifice. For the month of January I give up refined sugar and meat. Then in February and March I only give up meet. I started doing this because I realized I was eating too much fast food and candy. The act of sacrificing these parts of my diet that I enjoyed focuses my attention on my diet forcing me in to better eating patterns. This year unfortunately has caught me off guard and I was not ready to start the tradition on time and in a way I miss it.
This principle of sacrifice and refocus is powerful. If we want to learn something new but feel we don't have time we can give up something and put the learning in its place. I think it is important here that we give up something we enjoy, not forever but for the time it takes to change habits. The sacrifice of a favorite activity adds weight and importance to the act that is replacing it. It creates value. Say we stop watching a TV show we like so we can spend more time reading, and do this willingly and from a place of true desire to change, the reading time becomes more important to us.
Let's take a minute to look at the qualifiers there. Sacrifice must be done willingly and from a place of true desire.
Willingness: Sacrifice loses its power when it is imposed from outside. If we are not willing participants in an act of sacrifice then it is not a tool for change but a form of punishment. But by giving up something willingly we create an attitude of devotion to the replacing idea or action.
A place of true desire: We must truly want to make the change in our lives for the sacrifice to work. If we do not believe what we are doing is important we will grow resentful of the process. This is not a way to achieve the things we should do but instead to focus ourselves on what we want to do.
When we approach sacrifice this way, of our own choosing and for a purpose we believe in we create a powerful environment for changing our lives. Sacrifice is a tool of dedication and reeducation that can show how important an idea or action is to you. There are also many things in our lives which are extraneous that seem to give us pleasure but are not constructive. When we give these up as a sacrifice for a while we sometimes find that they are not as important to us as we thought. Giving something up has a way of clarifying its importance to us. Can we go without or do we miss it each day? Am I less happy for not having its one thing in my life or am I better off without it? These are questions we have to ask ourselves inside the time of sacrifice as well as after.
Sacrifice is a powerful tool; use it wisely and well and you will be rewarded. Have a great day and if you have any thoughts feel free to share them in the comments.