Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love even more.
(That’s not an original, by the way, but I don’t know who said it first, so let’s pretend I’m really deep and that it came to me in a moment of intense internal reflection.)
I’m not very good at sacrifice. I prefer for it to be easy before I give it up. Kind of like the Law of Diminishing Returns. Economics 101? Anyone? At some point you hit a tipping point, at which time the thing you enjoyed before no longer becomes enjoyable. I vividly remember sitting in my college class as my professor from China taught this principle, using the example of beer. Enjoyable, enjoyable, enjoyable, BAM! Hangover. No longer enjoyable.
(Except for if you don’t like beer, then this illustration fails to drive the point home. That’s ok, do what I do. Substitute DQ blizzards. Totally get it now.)
What’s my point? My point is that I prefer to be on the side of No Longer Enjoyable, and then I’ll happily sacrifice. And then I feel good about myself and I willingly give things up for something I love more. And then I tie it up in a pretty spiritual bow, and wow, do I look amazing.
There’s been a perfect storm brewing in my life the last few months, and I suddenly found myself in the eye of it. I work Sunday afternoons to very late Sunday night. I get a little bit of sleep, am tired all day Monday, try to go to bed early in order to be up for work at 3:20 in the morning on Tuesday, am tired all day, drop into bed exhausted Tuesday night in order to wake up at 3:20 in the morning for work on Wednesday, and by the time Wednesday comes around, I am a mess.
This week I laid Asher down for a nap, put a Veggie Tales in Micah’s DVD player, told him Mommy needed a nap, and laid down on the couch desperately hoping to squeeze in a power nap to tide me over until bedtime. A few minutes into this Micah was on his belly, feet up in the air, happily watching Bob and Larry. He was swinging his feet and hitting the ground (as any happy, normal toddler would do), and it startled me awake. I snapped. I yelled at him to stop hitting his feet! This happened two more times.
All day I dragged along, as I do every week for 4 days out of the week. That night I was taking a shower and I suddenly remembered yelling at him and it literally brought me to my knees in shame. I was so ashamed that I had acted that way. In a single moment, the decision was made.
I was quitting my job.
For months I’ve felt like it was the right thing to do, but could not bear to give up my flight benefits. They’re my Precious. My dearly beloved, tightly-held, adventure-giving, tenderly regarded flight benefits. I cannot explain how dearly I hold them. I have a degree in International Studies. Traveling is in my life-blood. I know this all sounds rather melodramatic, but you need to understand. I am not on the other side. Law of Diminishing Returns, my backside. This is something I love. Like love love.
But it took 4 seconds to make the decision. I will not be 39 years old looking back wishing that I had used my flight benefits more. I will be 39 years old looking back ashamed and regret-filled because I could only give my kids my crappy leftovers four days out of seven. Not because I had to. But because I wasn’t willing to give up what I love because I love them more.
I’m not saying I’ll never work again. And this may only be for a season. But man does it feel great to do the right thing.