[by Barb Smith] About a year ago, I came to a new understanding of the biblical term “dying to yourself.” It seemed every time I said “no” to a request for help or an outing, I felt guilty if I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my time and deny myself for the sake of someone else.
Often, I over commit and say “yes” even when my body is screaming “don’t do it!” The reason I say “yes” is because I feel so guilty when I say “no.” This is an ongoing struggle and I am in a constant process of finding a balance that is right, not out of selfishness, but out of the need to function as an emotionally healthy woman.
I realized my sense of worth was determined by what I did for others. The verse “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” as I understood it, meant I must die to everything, all the time, as a spiritual sacrifice to God.
Yes, we are to deny sin and the entanglements that come with a judgmental spirit, arrogance, lying, stealing, cheating, coveting, and gossip. Fear of rejection can be included in our daily battle with sin.
The good news is that we do not have to die to everything!
We are not to deny ourselves those things that restore our spirit and give us a renewed sense of value and purpose.
In her book The Emotionally Healthy Woman, Geri Scazzero says:
“God never asks us to die to parts of ourselves that bring life to our souls.”
It may be as simple as a walk in the park, a creative or physical activity, reading a good book or times of solitude.
Understanding what I needed to die too and what I needed to nurture gave me a new sense of value I had not experienced before.
There are times when we need to make sacrifices but we can’t continually sacrifice those things that nourish us. We must take time to add fuel to the fire or else we will burn out. There must be a balance or we will become lifeless, serving God out of compulsion and not compassion.
We need to draw a line so we know when to serve and give and when to rest and restore our soul. If we do this we will become energized and productive fulfilling this verse . . “but if it dies (to the right things) it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24 NASB)
We can experience the abundant life as we identify the wrong things and nourish the right things. We should not feel guilty when we say “no” for the right reasons.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10 NASB)