The extra slice of cheesecake I’m about to devour promises 8/10 in satisfaction, yet in 15 minutes that level of satisfaction will fall to 2/10 as it hits my stomach. The decision, now, to politely say “no” (to myself) seems like a 2/10 decision, yet in 15 minutes it will feel like an 8/10.
Taking half an hour out, choosing to relax, when there is already plenty to do, feels so good—it promises 8/10 in satisfaction. Yet having spent that time in front of the television, catching a sitcom or a sports program, really is a 2/10 choice when there is work to be done.
The work still needs to be done and procrastination only delays the inevitable.
Working half an hour later at the office or in the workshop or factory, when it is discretionary (i.e. there is no extra income/we don’t need the extra income), seems like a good use of time, until we realise we are lacking in work/life balance. When our spouses and children miss out on us because we are working too hard or too long in hours we suffer—the whole family suffers. It would be a 2/10 choice if we had any say in it twenty years down the track. Many of the (material) things we work extra time for are fleeting and unimportant.
Degrees of Wisdom and Balance
These above, our choices in life, are filled with opportunities at discretional moments of sacrifice. A discretional moment of sacrifice is a point in time when we make a decision; to go the easy way that promises much, but delivers little, or to go the hard way that inevitably delivers what we really need.
Life, generally, is not fair.
We all know this, and yet we still complain. We complain that our lives are too busy or they are not busy enough. We complain because we cannot lose weight, yet we continue to eat how we always ate. We wonder why we have problems with our teenage children, having not spent quality time with them consistently as they grew up. We complain we don’t have enough time to relax, yet we are quick to relax when we can’t afford to.
Life isn’t fair, much of the time, because we make life harder for ourselves than it needs to be. This needn’t be a hard word. We should all relate because we can all relate. We generally all have problems of the above kind.
What we need is the appropriate wisdom and balance in our lives; to work hard and make the hard choices when we need to, so as to enjoy the benefits that ultimately come.
The discretional moment of sacrifice is our opportunity—of one choice in the moment of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading—to do now what we should do now, so there are no regrets later. The discipline of sacrifice at the right time is a precious portion of the abundant life.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.