Sacrifice. To give up something important or valued for the sake of other considerations.
We live in a culture obsessed with living in the moment. The trouble with this philosophy is that 'the moment' is temporal. We cannot sustain the moment so we often chase the highs from one moment to the next. This leads to some unintended consequences. If you aren't willing to work through the hard stuff, you unwittingly doom yourself to a shallow life. Because the things that bring true, lasting fulfillment usually take time and investment. If you want to live a long life full of energy and confidence---you probably are going to have to sacrifice your in-the-moment eating habits. If you want to be in love with the same person for your entire life, you may have to compromise some of your plans and desires for the sake of theirs. If you want to be financially stable in the long run, you might have to work two jobs for a season and not buy all the things you really want. Everything has a cost. Discipline is not a bad thing. It can, like all things, be taken too far, but sacrifice itself can lead to some really positive things.
There are things that I care deeply about, but I am held back by my limitations. We are in a season of life that is extremely busy and I often feel stretched thin. Giving a bit of myself to all of the things pulling at my time just means that no one gets all of me. And I hate that. I feel like no one gets me at my best. But how do I change that?
At the beginning of the summer I felt completely overwhelmed and had to sit down and really evaluate some things. What did I truly value. Those are the things to focus on. Simultaneously, if something is holding me back from those things maybe I need to focus on getting myself to a place where I can invest in the things I care about.
There are a ton of things I want to give my time and resources too---my spouse, my son, my family and friends, my church, my job, causes that I care about, activities that I enjoy---etc. Some of those things will never be sacrificed for the sake of anything else (JP & August), but others need to be sidelined temporarily.
I concluded that I was never going to make any progress in any area if I didn't get more focused. So, the two goals I singled in on were: get out of debt & get into shape.
If we can get out of debt then we won't be held back financially from investing in the things we value or making big life changes if needed. If I can get in better shape I'll have more energy and confidence to give to the things I care about. These two "basics" trickled down and effect everything else.
So we jumped in. Turns out, it's hard to do these simultaneously. Saving money isn't always compatible with healthy eating. Working extra jobs isn't always compatible with getting to the gym. I'm not giving up on either goal, but as a family we've been focusing mostly on the debt goal. We both work full-time and have a son who needs to be cared for so picking up an extra job on the side like waiting tables just wasn't realistic. We had to find other means of secondary income. John Paul picked up a couple overnight shifts at his parents campground for the summer (seasonal) and has been fixing iphones for people on the side. I've always had some extra income from It Works (vitamins, skincare, and body wraps) which is how my mother makes her living, but decided to pursue some other means of income as well (more on that later). My hope is that by making sacrifices now, we will have more freedom later. The freedom to read and write daily, to invest into things we care about, to change careers or go back to school, to have more children, to travel and see my family more often, and on the list goes.
I feel held back, but at least now I'm holding myself back with an end game in mind rather than being held back by my circumstances. Sacrifice is never fun, but it can (hopefully will) lead to better things.