We are called to give of ourselves, as the Son of God gave of himself. We believe that this sacrifice of self is the way to true life for all.
So what happens when this happens? What happens when I am personally called to give of myself? Is it a joy-filled experience? Not always.
One of my struggles was to think that I “should” give of myself, no matter what, and be happy about it. Yet when, for example, I get a call on my day off and I have to give up my day off for someone,well, I have anger. Then with this anger, I would feel bad about myself.
I thought that I “should” not be angry, that is a bad sign of a bad priest, or bad catholic. I would then re-direct that anger inward, and it would turn into shame and other ugly stuff. This ugly stuff would be transferred towards others, especially those I was supposed to help.
I was finally enlightened.
It is okay to have that anger. It is not a sign of badness, it is a sign of my humanity. What I learned I needed to do was process that anger, understand it.
When I did this, I began to approach sacrifice and giving of self in a better way. I was able to find more meaning within it, and to understand how it can be a way to true life.
It calls me out of myself, my own self-interests. St. Paul calls this “living in the flesh” when our focus is on “me, myself and I.”
By working through my anger, I have been able to truly give of myself from my heart, and not out of some duty or obligation.
BUT…there is a caveat to all this. At times, I have to sacrifice saying “yes” to people and tell them “No.” This is when I am soooo tired, soooo burnt out, that I have nothing left of self to give to others.
This has been a learned behavior for me. I have had to learn to not feel guilty about saying “no” sometimes. This has not been easy either being a “people pleaser”.
Yet, as Scripture reminds me, with God all things are possible. I think back to the garden scene when Jesus struggled in the darkness with what he was called to do.
So, with Grace, I can have anger and work through it. I can experience doubt and hesitation, but can trust that good will be done in and by God.
I may not always be cheerful about it, at least in the moment. In the long run though, yes