I hear a lot of people muse on how difficult it is to take time out for themselves. “I feel so guilty!” or “There’s no time for it!”
I agree- it’s hard, but it is direly important to do so, because it ensures there is more of us to offer those around us.
If we aren’t taking care of ourselves first, we have nothing to give away to anyone else.
As Dr. Phil has said, “It’s hard to give away something you don’t have.”
This is true in love, money, you name it; every aspect of life.
First and foremost, we have to take care of ourselves spiritually by loving ourselves, before we can truly love others.
If we aren’t secure in who we are, we may feel the need to cut down anyone we find more secure than we are, even if it’s just in our own heads.
But when we’re fully confident in our own selves, we can be happy with everyone being their own selves too, no matter how awesome they are…. or are not.
And why shouldn’t we be fully confident in ourselves? God made us just the way we should be.
So if we are good enough for him, and lucky enough to be uniquely sculpted by him, how could we not be good enough for ourselves?
And for that matter, how could we not be fully confident in ourselves, just the way we are?
We have to be, out of sheer respect for the mastermind who made us.
Sure, there might be a million things we each need to work on, but as a whole, we are wondrous creatures in the Lord!
And then, when we master that self love, it’s hard not to love others for that very same reason: God made them, too, even if they’re obnoxious, or something that’s sometimes worse, better than you at, say, your job, hobby, business, looks, etc.
It just comes natural, the one stepping stone leads to the next.
Loving ourselves is a big part of taking care of ourselves.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
This concept not only applies to our spirituality.
Think about it folks. How could we ever show our love to someone via giving them a gift financially, if we don’t take care of our own personal finance situation ourselves?
If we’re broke, we cannot help a neighbor who is need of spare change, a spot on their electric bill, or new tires, simply because we have no money ourselves.
But what if we’ve paid attention to our personal finance situation?
What if we’re out of debt, have an emergency fund, and have extra money that is able to be given away?
Wouldn’t it feel awesome?
Wouldn’t it be an amazing feeling to hear someone grumble about filling up their gas tank, and simply be able to fill it up for them?
Or to buy your sibling a car, or your parents a house?
I’d love to be able to spread that kind of cheer to show God’s love, but first, I have to focus on my own personal finance situation more closely.
The same is true with our emotional health.
If one is mentally engaged with any kind of emotional dilemma, then the people around them will get less of them, simply because there is less to offer.
You cannot pay 100% of your attention to anything else, when the majority of your attention is already taken up by another problem.
The problem must be solved first, then your mental energy will be freed up, and you can focus on the next thing that you’re called to focus on.
(This is not to say that legitimate problems don’t come up and we shouldn’t focus on them. God brings issues into our lives and calls us to deal with them and learn from them. And when that happens, perhaps the problem should be the focus of your attention. But just make sure you’re being intentional about it, and not giving attention to matters that are needlessly recurring, or selfish. Know that it’s an issue worth putting your precious mental resources behind; don’t waste them all on mere distractions or futile matters, and then have none left to give away.)
So you see, when we’re focused on our own problems, we can’t give our all to any other individual, no matter how much we love them.
They get a half hearted version of ourselves, but never our fullest that they truly deserve.
Likewise, physically, we cannot give our all if we’re not taking care of ourselves.
We must do all in our control to remain healthy, so we can be active enough to help others out.
1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We are called to do everything for the Lord, including taking care of ourselves.