Today is Ash Wednesday, and whether you have a black smudge on your forehead or not, I’m sure the thought of sacrifice has popped around your head. I get asked about sacrifice a lot because of my lifestyle. Don’t you miss going out to eat? What is it like to give up a second car? How do you live without cable?
Those questions only come from one perspective – giving something up. The other perspective is what you’re gaining. The benefits are not usually considered. If they were, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.
When I live without cable, I’m living without commercials, useless news (do I need to know who was killed in a drive-by shooting?) and mindless entertainment. Instead I can choose something more productive to do with my time.
This is especially true about buying things. If I go without new shoes and I look shoddy, that’s just not cool. If I buy one nice pair instead of 6, that’s smart. I save money, space and time. Sounds like less clutter and expense rather than a sacrifice.
Going out to eat is something my family has cut back to the point of being almost extinct. What have I given up? Limited meal choices, grossly overpriced food and time spent waiting for a table and service. What have I gained? Cooking at home has brought my family together now that my boys are old enough to help with food preparation and clean-up. I have learned to make new meals and have finally perfected my pizza crust (use sea salt!).
A couple years ago I wrote a post on giving yourself time as a Lent “sacrifice.”