I came across a particularly odd, and slightly disturbing, meme on Facebook the other day that I thought I’d share with you all.
You might think… well, why is this odd? But, to me, it bordered on the offensive. Why? you ask again.
It’s that “yourself last” thing that I don’t like. Now, I’m sure there are many out there who could argue with me about this. God does ask his disciples to give up their own ways, to die to themselves, in order to follow him (Mark 8:34-35). And I do think that we need to put Jesus first – there is no doubt about that. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) after all.
But let me say this: I think all too often, we don’t take care of ourselves enough to help others. (Also, the word “others” above should not have an apostrophe unless it means “other’s needs.” If it does mean other’s needs, that means all our needs come last.)
Have you ever flown on an airplane? When they give the little instruction drill about the potential of a crash… who do they tell you to give oxygen to first? That’s right, YOU. You can’t help others if you’re not able to breathe. You can’t serve others and let them know about the Lord our God if you do not take care of yourself and be kind to yourself FIRST. (Or second… after the Lord.)
I’ve met so many people lately who are tired, run down and simply… exhausted. Do you know why? Many of them are doing SO much for others that they have no time left for themselves. The problem with graphics like the “JOY” one above is that it’s overly simplified. Basically, that can be the order, although I doubt you’ll find joy by doing it that way, but when is doing for others enough? When do your needs come in? How do you know you’ve done enough and can move on to give to yourself? Too many people today are caught in this never ending cycle of doing for others… so much so that they lose all sense of themselves and lose all time left for themselves. This leads to depression, listlessness and heartache. They can feel disconnected from the world… and even from God.
One really bad problem I see arising from this (I’ve experienced it in my own life and know others who have, too) is that when we do, do, do for others… our relationship with God suffers. Do you know why? Although we’re putting Him first, we put ourselves last and that connection with God seems… selfish. (Can I get an Amen?) So we put it aside to help yet another person in their walk, but ours suffers.
I like this graphic a bit better:
The key is loving. Loving everyone – in any order that works (although God should really come first in order to get your priorities straight…) God wants us to be healthy, strong and vibrant individuals. In order to do that, we need to take care of ourselves.
In this Friday’s blog, I’ll talk about how God tells us to care for ourselves and how important it is to take care of our bodies. I hope to see you all back here then. In the meantime, give some thought to how you’ve been structuring your life and if you’ve been putting yourself last.
God bless and have a great week!