But Shouldn't Everyone Else Come First?

hearts

and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-32

Something that I often hear repeated is that Christians are supposed to be completely and utterly self-sacrificing.  We are to come dead last in who is important in our lives: That it is simply selfish to truly take care of ourselves when we need it.  It should always be "others first." 

While I know that living a Christ-like life is the goal we strive for, I cringe when I hear folks feel they are being selfish when it comes to doing anything for themselves.

I disagree.

God tells us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  I think that means that we truly cannot love our neighbor unless we truly love ourselves.

And the only way we can truly love ourselves?  To know and understand the value God places on us.

We

are

valuable.

That can be a hard thing to comprehend. 

Many of us have developed our chronic challenges after a trauma of some sort.  Growing up in an abusive home.  Having traumatic life incidents.  Car accidents, unexpected deaths, mental illnesses such as depression or panic.

Each one of those things (and I am sure there are more) can erode our self esteem.  Our illnesses can compromise the way we look at ourselves even more.

We might lose our job identity.  We might not be able to function in our homes the way we used to.  Some of us are relegated to wheel chairs and handicapped parking spots. 

We can begin to feel less and less worthwhile.

I guess that today, I want to encourage you to take care of yourselves.  Be kind to yourself.  Don't beat yourself up over what you can't do.  (Thanks, Ama!)

Sometimes being kind to ourselves is about all we have left.

Or we can berate ourselves and bring ourselves down even further.

Remember, we can't love others as Christ has commanded, unless we know we love ourselves first.  And we love ourselves because God created us with infinite value and worth - because God loves us. (We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19)

So, the next time you think you are being selfish by taking care of yourself - ask yourself if it is something you'd want your best friend to do for themselves.  I'd wager most times it is.

Then go for it.

Father God, Help us to understand what a healthy love for ourselves is.  Help us to keep perspective on what is selfish and what is self-care.  Help us to love others and ourselves - because you first loved us.  Amen and amen.

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 Comments are both welcomed and encouraged! I so appreciate hearing your thoughts and getting to know you through them!  I do read them and am so blessed by them. Please let me know if I can be praying for you.  If it is a private request you can email me from my contact page.  (There is a place to mark in the comment section if you wish to be notified of replies.)

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