“Take care of yourself” he said… “Can’t pour from an empty glass”
She said “Do what makes you happy, you are your first priority”
In a way i agree, in a way i don’t.
“The bible says that we should love our neighbors like ourselves, that means we have to first love ourselves before we love our neighbors”. The people around me are nodding and i’m confused like…’what?’
See everyone is talking about taking care of ourselves, making ourselves happy and how it is okay to be a little bit selfish at times. Then subtly we accept that it is okay to ignore other people and keep the focus on us; and unconsciously we get so wrapped up in our world that we forget to cater to the needs of others.
I remember i used to sit and wonder how people can be so selfish. Every sentence that escapes their lips is about what they have or what they need. You could sit with them for minutes in tens and not get as much as a “hey, how are you” even if you have tear streaks on your cheeks. Then God cut me off and showed me how i was doing the same thing. You know its easy to notice other peoples flaws and issues but difficult to see ours. How could we, after all we know our excuses, understand our reasons, walk in our shoes so we cannot see what is wrong with us until God holds up the mirror.
I was a part of the Sunday school/ house fellowship department back in university. I used to teach Sunday school till i made the switch to house fellowship (best decision ever!) I found it easier to connect with the people in my fellowship because we were out of the “church”. The meetings were usually held in dorm rooms or hostel rooms and you know how school dorm rooms are- bed, wardrobe, balcony and bathroom . You are walking into the room of the host or teacher (in my case i was both), sitting on the person’s bed or roommate’s bed, everyone is dressed comfy so you are relaxed. Everyone’s guard is down, no one is trying to impress anyone, everyone is comfortable including me. So you can ask the silliest question and i can tell you i don’t know the answer and we can laugh about it.
We had fasting, prayer meeting and a short word time every Thursday (because we are the word department, duh) and on one of those times the subject shifted to judging people and i remember saying “when we judge people we find ourselves guilty of the very things later” and i got a brief silence which broke into “I don’t think so”, “I don’t know about that”, “That doesn’t happen to me” and plain old “I don’t understand o” so i dropped it but it was on my mind because that is exactly what happens with me. I would stare at someone thinking “How can you lie like that” and two days later i would find myself arguing with the Holy Spirit about how me telling someone that i was almost there meanwhile i was just getting out of bed didn’t count. Or i would pretend like i didn’t hear what someone said or behave like i didn’t see someone so that i could avoid them and whatever situation that came with them but then when people ignore me i get very hurt.
I didn’t like the mirror and honestly i still don’t but it taught me a couple of things: 1) I can easily make the mistakes that others do and 2) How to pull myself down from being number one all the time and instead focus on someone else, on someone else’s need that probably no one else has noticed or has bothered to do anything about (you know there’s a difference).
For those of you who know me and have wondered why i kept having get-togethers this is one of the reasons. God held up the mirror and gave me the solution. It started off as my way of yanking myself down from first position to notice that someone hadn’t eaten and someone was lonely or that we had a few new workers who needed an opportunity to be known and get to know. The get-togethers helped with that. I would plan and hope they get involved or invite and hope they come (thank God for the size of my room in final year *wink*). It was always His idea not mine. I am not the best cook and sometimes i don’t have enough but i would do it anyway. It was already a part of me.
After that i would continue to find new ways of pulling myself down until i no longer had to try. Until it became such a part of me that even without thinking or having my needs met, it would come out of me like breathing.
For me, this will always be more honorable than any of the three examples i gave at the beginning. Because you see, it is almost impossible to finish taking care of yourself. You will always have needs- daily needs, weekly, monthly, hourly even and to keep saying you can’t help because you have yourself is to say you will never help because you will always have yourself. At some point even if it is just for five minutes you are going to have to take yourself down from the top of the list.
Step of the day: For five minutes pull yourself down from number one and see someone else’s need.
What I am listening to: Cause of Christ (unplugged version) by no one other than…drum roll Le Kari Jobe! Check it out, that song will change your life!
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