The Things We Do For Love (Part 1)
I can remember some of the crazy things I used to do for my now-husband, then-boyfriend, named Ben. He has blue eyes that could insight riots, create gridlock, and cause spontaneous combustion inside my heart. One time when he was sick, I picked up his favorite grub from Home Team BBQ, and drove it 45 minutes one way. Because mac and cheese and banana pudding is a surefire way to beat the stomach bug, amen? Gone to Texas for several weeks, I felt the burning desire to write down all the things I’d miss about him on microscopic pieces of paper, fold them like oragami, and jam them into a plastic container molded into the shape of the Lonestar state. On another occasion, I spent my entire Christmas bonus on a new MacBook Pro for him to unwrap. Only the best for my man!
I will never forget the season where it felt like nothing to give him everything I had. Time, money, and energy seemed like limitless commodities. These days, “everything I have” puts us more in the socks-and-underwear-as-gifts category, but nonetheless, a sacrifice is a sacrifice. In a time where every minute counts, carving out time to scratch his back and say “I love you” feels like a major win. If my husband feels like he is scraping the bottom of the barrel, what does that mean for my relationship with God?
At the core of the Christian faith is this word, sacrifice. Jesus is the noun-form of the word, and therefore with great credibility, He asks us to use it as a verb in our own lives. The Google tells us that specifically, in order to surrender, renounce, forgo, or relinquish (all synonyms), we must give up something important or valued for the sake of other considerations.
Balance seems like an en vogue word these days, and for good reason. Our culture is one big whirling dervish of crazy over scheduled, and sadly under present lives. We show up to everything, but only part of us is there--the rest is thinking and plotting for the next part of our to-do list. We were really feeling this burden as a family in 2017, and God fully answered our cries for wisdom regarding the need, as he called us to forgo some things. Ben and I were super intentional about our time and scheduling this past summer. It worked wonders for our marriage, and truly, without much effort, we sacrificed some things for the sake of time together as a family that we so desperately needed. The (mental, physical, emotional, financial) effort it would have taken to have the time together, without the sacrifice, would have been insurmountable.
We all have the same number of hours in a day. Quite frankly, there are many times that I just want to grab a sister and ask her how she has the bandwidth to not only heat up her curling iron, but wrap some hair up in it too?! Makeup? Matching socks? PAINTED TOENAILS? The ultimate symbol of a well-managed woman. But the truth is, it all comes down to managing our resources. Surrendering those extra nine minutes in the bed is absolutely the difference between beach waves and the stinking “top knot”. Relinquishing the Starbucks for a $2 McDonalds latte, or even (gasp) a coffee made at home for pennies, could be an additional car payment each month. Giving up the once-a-month book club would put that time back on the table for a date-night with your man or a chance to grab coffee with a friend.
As followers of Jesus, being grounded in the Word and communing with Him is the ultimate source of balance. When we get that right, we have the ability to get a lot of other things right. What is my goal in 2018? How can I direct my resources so that the One I love isn’t getting the leftovers? As I develop habits and re-shape my priorities, I am instituting a handful of disciplines:
Wake up fifteen minutes before the kids. I find that 100% of the time, when I have spent even just three minutes talking/listening to God before my children bombard me with questions, I am a better mom/wife/human.
Start the year with a Whole30. I waste a lot of time prowling around the kitchen, looking for a snack. It is absolutely preventable. Out of the thousand things I love about the Whole30, the practice of meal planning and prep always keeps me focused on the real priorities of my day.
Choose books over Netflix. Ben and I challenged each other a few months ago in the reading department, and it was super beneficial. Until we got lazy again. So we are re-beefing up our self-control against the TV. We can do this!
Use cash to pay for groceries. I am super frugal. I feel no freedom whatsoever to spend money on frivolous things, and yes, name-brand ziplocs go into that category for me. For some reason, the grocery store can sometimes feel like a free-for-all, so I am starting with groceries and hoping to really get our budget in ship-shape this year.
We will talk more about sacrifice in the coming weeks, but I want to give you a chance to think on it alongside me. We want the lowdown! What are you hoping to do better this year? Could instituting a little sacrifice here or there help with your goals? What are the things you used to do for love, that could use some re-energizing?