A selfless life is one that knows how and when to give without giving too much. A self-sacrificing person may be a selfless person, but can also be a person that gives too much. Are you self sacrificing to a point of generosity, or self-sacrificing to the point where you rob yourself of things that are important to your well-being? Here is how to figure it out, to determine if you sacrifice too much, and how to remedy the situation if you do sacrifice too much.
Self-sacrificing individuals tend to give up doing things they want to do and doing things they love to help others. This is well and good until helping others leaves no room left in your life for your own enjoyment. Then every new request to help becomes extremely stressful, and you keep pushing through it because you feel you have to say yes when you should say no. It is very noble to be self-sacrificing, but not to the point where you no longer enjoy your life, you’re really stressed out and/or you miss out on really important things in your own family and your own friendships.
Self sacrifice is giving up things that are important to you. However, you should be able to recall some moments in the last couple of weeks where you took time for yourself. If you cannot remember a single moment in the last few weeks to the last couple of months where you took a moment for yourself to fill your proverbial cup, then you might have a problem with sacrificing too much. If you do not fill your emotional and spiritual “cups”, then you will be running on empty before too long. Self sacrificing crosses the line when you have nothing left emotionally and spiritually to give.
Take a moment. Read a Psalm or two. Get a latte (or whatever fancy drink you prefer). Paint or draw. Work on something that makes you proud of the talents you were given. Fill your “cups” before you sacrifice to fill others’.
Self-sacrificing types often say yes to several requests at once never stopping to ask when and where. This leads to double- or triple-booking yourself on the same day for things that you cannot possibly be in the same place at the same time to complete. Then you have to juggle things, which creates a lot of stress for you and for the people to whom you said yes. Worse still are the events that you realize you cannot do back-to-back or simultaneously, and then you have to back out.
If you find this happening to you a lot, then you are sacrificing too much. Step back and examine how often you do this. Then take steps to stop or slow down. For example, if you have three people come to you in a week and ask if you can give up your time to do something, don’t agree to the first person who asks. Don’t agree to all of them or two of them either. Listen to what they’re asking for, and then choose the one request that is most feasible for your time and your schedule. You can be self-sacrificing without sacrificing too much.
Self-sacrifice on the positive side means that you give with a big heart. You love to give, and you freely give, all of which is good. However, giving until it hurts mentally, emotionally, and/or physically is not the way to go. You have to establish a sense of balance in your life, and God can help.
He will not hold it against you for needing some time for yourself, and no one can be like his son Jesus because Jesus was the only son of God. Ergo, do not hold a measuring stick up to Jesus to determine how self-sacrificing you should be because there is just no way you can be that self-sacrificing. Following the above guidelines, determine how sacrificing you are, then scale it back for your own well-being. Once you do that, you will begin to feel better about the sacrifices you make and the amount of living you allow yourself to have without guilt.