When are sacrifices worth it?
The story of the narrow gate and wide gate in the bible refers to Heaven and Hell but can be applied to everyday life as well. The inspiration for this article came to me when “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascall Flatts came on. At the beginning of the song, he says “ I set out on a narrow way many years ago”, and it reminded me of the path that I am currently on.
Although the song does not directly relate to my journey right now, that line stuck out to me.
Today I had a meeting with my “supervisor” of sorts in regards to my career, and we talked about how I would need to be disciplined in order to get full benefits. I have to be diligent with my savings and spending, keeping receipts and recording each transaction. I will have to put in long nights and weekends working in order to meet quotas, missing out on time with family, friends, or even just a relaxing evening alone. More personal sacrifices include scheduling time to meet with a therapist so as not to go off the tracks again. Making sure that the limited spare time I have is spent working on bettering myself, and my faith. Along with that, the biggest sacrifice is knowing that I will be changing the lives of others. If I misadvise a new family then their loss will be on me. I am sacrificing my ability to live in the background, not making any impact. The narrow gate to Heaven is meant to be less accessible than the wider one to Hell, for only those willing to put in the effort and sacrifice parts of their life will earn the right to arrive at the desired destination.
A while back, I had a conversation about the gates of Heaven and Hell with another Christian. We discussed why the gate was narrow if the Lord is said to be open and willing to accept all people as His son or daughter. The conclusion we agreed on was that while we can be accepted into His love, we may not be worthy of such a paradise. If one chose to claim they were a Christian but gave no efforts or sacrifices to love the Lord as much as He loves them, do they still deserve a place in the ultimate paradise? My personal stance is no. Just like in the physical life, an effort is needed to achieve your goals and wants in the spiritual life.
To bring things back to a less religious point of view, what are some ways to tell when a sacrifice is worth it? From my personal experience, I have learned a few questions to ask myself before reaching a conclusion. I feel that using unbiased data is crucial to achieving an accurate and proper result. Here are some of the questions I ask myself when deciding whether a sacrifice is worth it.
- Will I come out on the other side as a better person?
- Is this sacrifice of my own intentions or am I acting off the influence of another?
- What is my end goal?
- Am I prepared mentally, physically, and financially to make this sacrifice?
- Will this negatively impact those around me that I care about?
- Is this sacrifice negatively affecting another aspect important of my life?
- Is this a sacrifice that I will be able to follow through on?
Usually, after going through those seven questions, I know my decision. However, as a piece of advice, I would write down my thoughts and reasoning and leave it for a week or more then go back to it to make sure I still feel the same way. If not, see if there are any modifications that can be made to better suit your journey, and wait again.
Some people wish for a time machine; whether to go back and change something or to fast forward and see if it works out in the end. Stop wishing for that time machine. This moment is enough, you are enough. Make sacrifices, reap the rewards. One of the largest leaders in my company told me this recently in a meeting of ours; when you are young, you want to have fun and party. In this business, if you work hard early on, you will have all the time you want to enjoy. The money will be there, the knowledge will be there, but in order to get 30 years of freedom, you need to be willing to put in those 10 years’ worth of early mornings and late nights working. I will take the lessons I have learned already in this career and use them in life. Seize the day and the opportunity. To seize the opportunity, be open to receiving each and every moment as a new opportunity.
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