SACRIFICE is not just a dirty word. Or is it?
What does this word conjure up for you? Perhaps its sadness or heartbreak. Maybe it brings with it, a sense of pride. Or perhaps something altogether different. For me, I think of PAIN. With a beautiful, significant LEGACY that follows in its wake. However, this wasn’t always my understanding.
Sacrifice is something I find myself reflecting on often. This month particularly. April is when we celebrate ANZAC Day in Australia. It’s a time for us to reflect on and remember the commitment and sacrifice of men and women in our nation. Those who have served and died in war, conflict and peace keeping operations. Easter is celebrated in April this year too. Personally for me, Easter carries a significant message about “sacrifice” that I’ll be forever grateful for.
Sacrifice by definition is: “An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”.Oxford Living Dictionaries
So how does anyone find beauty in something that seems painful? Maybe even senseless at times?
The ‘Mum’ Journey + Sacrifice
If you’re a mum you’re likely to be very familiar with the concept of sacrifice. Perhaps you think about sacrifice in relation to your body and all it’s endured through childbirth. Maybe sacrifice is about the reduced amount of sleep you now have. It may even be what you think about in relation to your career development. Or countless other things!
I remember my pre-children days. From different sources, I would hear just how much of a sacrifice it was being a mother. Naively, I thought they were just being negative and even a little bit dramatic. Yet, as I embarked on my own motherhood journey I discovered something. While I passionately love each of my children, that 9-letter word “sacrifice” is one I continue to become more and more intimately acquainted with.
Sacrifice for me has taken many forms as a mother. What I have come to value more than anything is the shared responsibility/privilege I have to give my children an example to follow that will empower them to live and love well. I must report that I have NOT perfected this by any stretch of the imagination! But the sacrifice has been significant for me.
Sacrifice vs. Self-Loathing
It’s here that I want to clarify something. Sacrifice is NOT about putting yourself last all the time. Nor is it about beating up on yourself. Sacrifice is also not about doing something begrudgingly and feeling resentful every step of the way. By definition, sacrifice is about giving up something VALUED for the sake of something considered MORE IMPORTANT OR VALUABLE.
If this feels a little challenging then a “self-worth” check may be necessary right now. Sacrifice is not just a dirty word.
My greatest priority as a mum
Perhaps one of my biggest sacrifices in my mum journey has been taking the time to focus on my own inner healing. I wanted to feel whole, happy and at peace with myself. These were things I desperately desired. So why do I consider it a sacrifice? Because it wasn’t natural to give myself permission to focus on my needs. However, I grew to understand a very important reality. If I didn’t work on changing some big attitudes, behaviors and beliefs in my life, my children would inherit them. That scared the daylights out of me!!! And so I made it a priority; I embarked on my journey to ‘loving me’ and bringing healing to me.
There is so much about this journey that I love. Especially now as I see some of the benefits evidenced in the lives of my children as they grow. It makes my heart so happy, as a mum, to know that my children are going to be better equipped to face the challenges that come their way. Both internally and externally.
The journey becomes our legacy
There is still so much that I don’t get right, and don’t do well. However, I’d like to believe that the consequences of those moments might be somewhat easier dealt with because of the foundation I’ve laid in my children.
This sacrifice for me is about leaving a LEGACY. Equipping and enabling my children to see themselves through a lens of love, compassion and strength. My example, intentional or not, becomes their reference for how to do life. A weighty realization! I have, however, learned to see this as an incredible privilege and honour.
This journey continues for me. And no doubt will as long as I have breath. Has it been easy? NO WAY! There have been and continue to be stuff ups. Has it been worth it? 100% YES!
What is your greatest desire for the legacy you will leave? What sacrifice will it require of you to achieve?
The sacrifice of giving my time to focus on my inner healing may be the greatest gift, the most beautiful legacy I could ever leave my children. Now I can say that I’m grateful that sacrifice is more than just a dirty word to me.