Sacri-Vesting: The Birds That Po(o)pped In

I’d left my tool shed door open all day while I worked in the yard. By the time I put my tools away at the end of the day, I discovered that a little Carolina Wren had built a nest in the rafters. Momma wren squawked at me from inside the shed, and daddy wren screamed from a tree right outside the door.

I threw up my hands and muttered, “I’m sorry, sorry” while dropping my eyes and backing out of the shed, feeling that same embarrassment I get when I walk into the women’s restroom by mistake.

Accommodating a Bird

To make sure that the wrens weren’t cut off from their nest and any potential eggs, I left the shed door propped open.

I forgot all about the wrens until the following weekend when I went to the shed to pull out the riding mower. When I opened the door, birds squawked and dive-bombed from all directions! I jumped on my tractor to back it out quickly, but then I realized that the noise and fumes would upset the birds. So instead, I put it in neutral and pushed it out, all the while ducking and protecting my eyes from potential beak attacks.

Once I got outside, I saw that my mower was covered in bird droppings. It looked someone used my tractor as a shield in a paint ball combat, and clearly the team using white paint balls fired many shots.

Disgusted, I cleaned up the tractor and myself.

We All Sacri-vest!

When you voluntary give up your temporary happiness for another, like I did for the wrens in my shed, I call that SACRI-VESTING.  It’s a combination of sacrificing and investing that we do for others. When you sacri-vest, you can tolerate quite a bit of discomfort for quite a while as long as it’s your choice, and if you care enough about the relationship and the other person. That freedom of choice is important in sacri-vesting, because when you act voluntarily, you’re less likely to allow resentment to creep in.

How Do You Keep It Going?

How do you keep sacra-vesting when you get tired? Stay fueled by reminding yourself:

Inconvenience is temporary.

Whether it’s a wren, family member, or coworker you sacri-vest to help, the situation isn’t permanent. Think of it like a sprint, not a marathon.

“I’m in charge.”

No one put a gun to your head to convince you to give up of your rights. Your sacri-vest was voluntary. Remind yourself that you can’t be a victim when you’re in charge.

Why you’re sacri-vesting.

Rationales are very powerful, emotional elixirs for helping us deal with annoyances. Say aloud, “I’m doing this because….” Maybe you did it so you could say, “I’m a good person.” What was your purpose, your “greater good” when you first started? Use that to keep you encouraged.

Kindness breeds kindness.

When you sacri-vest, the “birds” in your life benefit. But you do, too. You get a boost in happiness from helping another. That kindness will come back to you one way or another.

Rewards are coming.

The harvest is richest for those who endure to the end. If nothing else, you’re reward comes from “being the change” instead of “preaching about change.”


The Christian New Testament book of Galatians shares this piece of encouragement that comes in handy when I’m sacri-venting, whether by letting somebody vent to me, or if I’m scraping bird guano off the floor of my shed: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


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