“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1,2 [MSG]
Growing up is hard!
Whichever way you want to slice this thing growing up isn’t easy! Some of us experience a decent transition. For others, it’s a pretty rocky encounter complimentary of bumps and bruises. But we all experience it. Unless of course, you belong to a small percentage of individuals who claim ignorance as their bliss and have boycotted maturity. Sadly we can’t stay young forever like Peter Pan, and at some point, we must face those tests of growth. If we don’t, I’m convinced we’ll be stunted in our human development. Worse than that, we never become [Col 1:9,10]. Currently, I am being tested in the area of #sacrifice. If I’m honest it’s overwhelming. Why? Because I understand the risks for my destiny fading to just a dream from yesteryear if I don’t pass my tests.
Picture a 55-year-old whose talk and dress hasn’t shifted out of adolescent years because mentally they’re stuck! There’s nothing wrong with being youthful, but juvenile delinquency and confinement raises cause for concern when it’s time for me to be graceful, refined and owning my mature appeal [Hebrews 5:12]. I really don’t wanna fail, and have NO desire to repeat or revert back to stale life stages! Just like with any form of progress there are levels to this thing, so if I intend to get better I have to endure #sacrifice at multiple stages in my lifetime.
Religion, career, family, finance, health and wellness are ALL affected by whether or not we live a life of sacrifice, and different regiments are required for each. My upbringing was one of my first places of instilled #sacrifice. My educational path was and still is another area where #sacrifice rings true. Building the life you want comes at a price, and educating yourself is one of the few life investments that WILL pay you back [Proverbs 1:5].
“My intent and prerogative is to NOT waste my life on liabilities, but rather #sacrifice for life’s assets.”
Not only in tangible possessions but in character as well. To #sacrifice ‘fun’ for wisdom yields a perpetual profit after you’ve put in the time and years [Proverbs 3:1-26].Now that I’m almost 30 it feels like I am facing the utlimate test of self #sacrifice. Can I #sacrifice my old ways and die to who I thought Keisha was? Or even who I’ve wanted Keisha to be? There are those pivotal moments in life where along the journey you’re suddenly faced with a fork in the road and you know which lane you need to shift to but you’re also scared, hesitant, doubting and/or procrastinating. With any shift that calls for #sacrifice pain cannot be avoided. In fact, it’s a given!
And who willfully enjoys pain?! anybody?
Not to mention possible rejection and more effort on your part to meet the end result.
“And let’s not forget that often to #sacrifice is lonely!!!”
So while the world looks like they’re having a ball, you’re more than likely not. Thankfully looks can be deceiving and what appears to be green grass may just be astroturf (that fake stuff). What it comes down to after all the fluff fades, is that in order to meet the YOU that is making a difference in the world you have to put in some type of work and #sacrifice WILL be a part of that struggle [1 Cor 13:11]. Beyond what’s average and/or accepted as ‘the norm’ your sight has to change and that first comes about by realizing that before you could see, you were blind. Beyond acquiring a house, dog, husband, and children your #sacrifice is a downpayment towards securing a legacy that outlives you. It may sound like a tall order, but one thing that has been eating at me the more I am exposed to social networks, mass communication, culture and people, is that few have the stamina to think for themselves or desire uncommon change.
Naive and Oblivious???
For many in Western culture, we’re guilty of allowing the minute issues of not belonging or experiencing discomfort to plague and distract us from going hard after destiny. It’s something that blinded me for years. Emotions and feelings led me to believe I had a right to complain about life owing me something, when really God gave life permission to poke and prod at me, then cross its arms and roll its neck like ‘Boo when are you going to do something phenomenal with me?’
The worst thing we could ever do to our future self is rob the present of preparing to be phenomenal. So as I challenge myself I also challenge you to not run from a life of #sacrifice. Here are some things that I have grasped on the subject matter. Hoping they will be helpful to you too.
#Sacrifice starts with a decision
When #sacrifice is presented we always have an opportunity to make a choice. Weigh your options with and without the result of #sacrifice. Will this #sacrifice benefit you in the long run? Is it a worthy sacrifice or are you just getting played? (there is a difference between choosing to sacrifice and naively being used). What will be affected because of this decision? e.g. family, finances, routine. Why do you sense a need to #sacrifice? What will likely happen if you decide NOT to do it? Would your rejection of sacrifice put you in a place that causes you to miss destiny or be out of God’s perfect will?
Bear in mind that when you make the choice to #sacrifice it’s not always necessarily because you WANT to do it either. Making the decision to sacrifice denotes that you’ve weighed all options and circumstances but are WILLING to do what is required to meet the end result.
#Sacrifice can start with you, but it should expand beyond your borders
After you make the decision to #sacrifice I believe what keeps you disciplined and committed to your decision is remembering the bigger picture and who will gain if you make it, as well as who will miss out if you don’t. Scripture shows us in so many places how the actions of those who endured and #sacrificed yielded results that went beyond them. Think of Joseph, Esther, Moses and of course the ultimate sacrifice [see John 3:16,17].
Made a new goal? #sacrifice comes attached
I’ve accepted that goals and #sacrifice are twins. They come pre-packaged and work in conjunction. If one malfunctions, the other is ineffective. Seeing the fullness of your goal really is reliant upon how you execute #sacrifice. It doesn’t matter how many times you ‘say’ you’re going to get it done if you don’t start making the changes. For example, I know what I want my nutrition and health to look like over the next 10-20 years of my life and even though I won’t hit 30 until next year I’m already making more of a conscious effort about days for junk food and days to eat clean. I’m opting out less for take-out and taking the time to find recipes that I can try and be creative with in my own kitchen.
In addition, I’ve felt the effects of a task that’s half done or I’ve not given my all to. Nothing that’s under prepped can be fully effective. There has to be #sacrifice to ensure that every requirement to meet the goal is fulfilled. It’s like you get all excited for your favorite cooked meal and the outside looks great but the core is still frozen. Your experience is ruined and so is your meal.
Committing to a team requires you count the cost of #sacrifice. I’ve had to walk away from positions because I wasn’t prepared to meet such a demand. There have even been times where I can now say I didn’t consider how #sacrifice was attached to the title / assignment. These days I’m more intentional about considering the level of #sacrifice attached to a goal, dream and / or personal desire. Even with friendships and relationships #sacrifice plays a part. If deep within your heart you know you’re more selfish than you are giving, serious human connections may be something you need to avoid until your perception shifts. In reverse manner, consider also who you’re sacrificing for. If you know the person in question knows little of what #sacrifice is you must be okay with setting the example and not looking for anything to be returned. Otherwise don’t even entertain the possibility of being connected.
Never judge another person’s #sacrifice unless you wear their shoe size
These days I’m less prone to take to heart the comments and critiques of those who offer unsolicited advice about my walk. I’ve concluded that my downpayment holds no value to someone who will reap no rewards from my sweat, tears and sleepless nights. My consciousness only has need of insight from those who sacrifice like I do or greater. Those are the non-negotiable prerequisites. You wouldn’t take dietary advice from a person struggling in their health and you likely wouldn’t take parenting advice from someone with no kids. So if our ethics on #sacrifice don’t match what good is your input to keeping me encouraged until I make it? [Amos 3:3]. My flesh already fights me to quit and/or ease up, and that’s the only vacancy in that job description. It got in by default because I can’t split my spirit and my flesh on this earth. The two must travel everywhere together as I learn to strengthen one and subdue the other [Romans 8:5].
It’s always easier to look at a thing and/or person and give your input, but if you’ve never been there and have no connection to the assignment you can’t possibly comprehend how the load feels for its carrier. This was my shortcoming during my younger years. I judged so many people and circumstances based off of what it looked like to me and how it maybe even was affecting me / how it offended me. But it’s always easier to throw the rock than to be on the receiving end taking the hits [Matt 7:5]. I’ve recently been getting my eyesight readjusted to not be so narrow in my thinking and consider a side that without insight from the Holy Spirit, I’d completely miss. Sometimes, a #sacrifice is not for you to know. But being mindful that every person has a battle, especially if they’ve been promised something from God is a smart way to stay postured.
IN CLOSING. . .
This may not be the typical ending most like to read about #sacrifice. All the comforting and consoling in the world won’t push you to the place of embracing that #sacrifice makes us great, and causes us to collide with destiny. It may be THE most uncomfortable and discouraging journey of a lifetime but after the tears have been shed, numbers deleted, friendship circles, diet plans and wardrobes have been altered, and we get to the other side of upset we suddenly realize pain was just a pre-requisite to something better…. And you got some smarts to compliment and maintain what your #sacrifice paid for.
“Sacrifice is never for nought!”