Balancing Self-Sacrifice

22 Feb

This week I received an email including this sentiment:

“I love to invest myself, my time and my gifts into others, but when I get tired, or receive little or no appreciation, I sometimes wonder if I’m investing wisely.”

Does that describe your feelings? Have you been giving yourself away and now you are second-guessing that choice?Self Sacrifice

I used to lose my balance about this a lot until I adopted a few healthy personal policies which have now become second-nature to me. As you read through the following progression, I hope you’ll find some hope and a way to process hard choices (or maybe hard people!).

1. If God grants me the grace to give something away (my time, whatever), I do.

  1.   I give as unto God and not man (knowing full well He’ll reward me now, later or both).
  2.   I attempt to give as freely as it’s been gifted to me.
  3.   I expect nothing in return from the recipient (but love it if it comes).
  4.   I do not keep accounts. (ie – I do not require a thank you or payback, etc.)

2. If I have nothing to give, or no grace to give what I have, I ask God for whatever is needed. I pray, “God, I have no ___________ (whatever is needed or whatever I am being asked for right now), but You have plenty of ____________. Please flow some of Your ___________ through me right now. Thank You.”

  1.  If God answers with the ___________, I freely give it as in #1.
  2.  If God does not answer with ______________, I apologize* that I will not be able to help in that way today.
  3. I do not burn bridges. Just because God did not gift me with ability or resources today does not mean He won’t tomorrow.

C. If during the above process, at any point, I feel pressured to give by another person, I check my spirit.

  1.   If I have what they need, why would I say “no”? Note: There might be hundreds of God-honoring reasons to say “no.” Just be sure yours is God-honoring.
  2.   If I’ve asked God to supply and He has not, then I should feel OK saying “no.” If this is where I’m getting messed up, I humbly admit that I need personal healing when it comes to saying “yes” to God when He requires that I say “no” to this particular person OR to anyone who asks me about this particular service. In this case, I am the broken one, not the person asking this of me. Usually just realizing this helps me say “yes” to God.

There are some people to whom it is very, very difficult to say “no.” Join God: He says “no” to them all the time! In fact, sometimes it is my “yes” that messes up His “no.” Does that make sense?

God is not obligated to jump through every hoop we hold up. We are not obligated to jump through every hoop others hold up for us.

If God has chosen to bless us with the ability to serve others in a particular way, then serve we should. But if He has chosen to withhold that ability (for a moment, an hour, a day, a lifetime), we should accept His decision and apologize for any inconvenience.

*Why apologize? Well, at least for me, I actually do wish I could say “yes” to everything — both because it is more fun and also because I truly care about the tangible needs of the people in my sphere of influence.

But, if God says “no,” my answer must be “Yes, Lord. I’ll say no!”

This is a tough one.

The only way to stay in balance with God’s provision is to stay in touch with His Spirit. I love Ephesians 5:18. “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”

When a person is drunk, they are no longer in control of themselves. They do things they’d never do if they were in full control.

It’s the same with a Christian who is Spirit filled. We do things we would never do if we were fully in control.

The difference is that the drunkard’s focus is on pleasing self while the Spirit-filled’s focus is on pleasing God. You truly can never out-give God if your sacrifices are for Him, through Him, in Him and to Him.

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2 Responses to “Balancing Self-Sacrifice”

  1. Brenda February 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM #

    Thank you for the time you spent on answering my questions.

    • Marnie February 22, 2012 at 4:54 PM #

      My great pleasure! God bless!

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