Updated: May 12, 2022
Have you ever read about sacrifice in the Bible or watched Stannis Baratheon as he was about to sacrifice his daughter to the Lord of Light, and thought about how strange a concept sacrifice is? You’ve got people running around, killing animals and, in some cases, humans, so they can appease their god. Their hopes were that if they appease the deity, their crops would grow, or the storm would pass, or, in Stannis’ case, they’d win the war. What a crazy concept!
But, wait a minute, in many ways, they were on to something very valuable and complex. They were learning about the future, and how the future could be bargained for. They were learning that if they sacrificed something valuable to them now, they might receive something greater in return in the future. This is the modern idea we act out every single day.
Let’s use this blog as an example. One of the most valuable things I have in this present moment is my time. I could be doing a thousand other things right now that I may derive more immediate pleasure from than writing these words. Why aren’t I doing them instead? Because I have deemed it a worthy sacrifice to give up my time in hopes of reaching out to you and making an impact on your day, or even your life. It wasn’t too long ago I quit smoking. When it came down to it, I knew I did not want my future self to be a smoker. I did not want to sacrifice my health so I could smoke cigarettes. So, I laid my cigarettes down upon the altar of sacrifice and gave them up in hopes of being more like the person I want to become. It may help to ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be?” Whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself, “What is preventing me from becoming that person?”
Behavioral Activation and Depression
Psychologists have found there is a cycle with depression. It goes something like this: you feel depressed so you don’t want to do anything but sleep all day. All you do is sleep all day which makes you feel depressed. And repeat. Luckily for us, this cycle is not the only thing psychologists have found. They have also found that, to help break this cycle, it helps to do things you once found pleasurable - even if you don’t find them pleasurable right now during your state of depression. For instance, perhaps you used to enjoy taking walks out in nature but, now that you’re feeling depressed, that no longer sounds enjoyable to you. If you sacrifice your desire to sleep all day and take a walk instead, you may find your depression begin to lift, even if ever so slightly.
Depression can be a tricky thing and it may take lots more than just a few pleasurable activities to help you feel better again. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, make the sacrifice and give Regent University’s Psychological Services Center a call to schedule an appointment.