Q&A What Does it Look Like to Love Others Well, But Still Put Your Needs First?

From Lisa: This is a great question.  We have probably all heard that you cannot withdraw money from an empty bank account, meaning that if you are exhausted and have nothing left, then you have nothing left to give.  I kept this thought in my mind for years. I would notice myself getting short tempered with loved ones, which always meant that I was overdoing it, signing up for too much at work, doing too many activities for the kids, volunteering too much.   But it wasn’t until a few years ago that a guest speaker at our church’s women’s retreat put this thought in a different way.  Her idea was not to drain your account until it was almost empty, then take care of yourself a little so you had more to give.  Always keeping your bank ¼ – ½ full.  No, her idea was… if you fill your account all of the way to the top and keep going, all of the excess will spill out over the edge, flowing out like sweet honey to all of those who need you.

I almost could not buy into this idea.  At first it seemed far too selfish. After all, aren’t we supposed to work ourselves to death, sweat on our brow, collapsing into bed at night, praying to get at least 6 hours of sleep?  Isn’t that what a good worker, good mother, good friend, good volunteer, good wife…..

No! No, no, no.  No, it is not selfish to take care of yourself.  It is not selfish to have downtime ALLL to yourself.  It is not selfish to indulge in massages or manicures.  It is not selfish to sit at the lake and read all alone.  It is not even selfish to take a night and go to a hotel.  We NEED downtime.  We NEED to rejuvenate.  We need to fill up our bank to the tip, tip top.  Take time to make ourselves healthy food, even if our kids are eating chicken fingers.  Take time to walk or exercise.  Take time to sit in nature and listen to God’s wonderful creations.  Take time to dream, to write, to journal, to meditate, to pray.  You must take care of yourself, so you can be in the absolute best shape to serve and give back to others. 

When we are well rested, well-nourished in our bodies and souls, and peaceful we are able to give enormous amounts of love, compassion and problem solving.  We are able to be the blessing we were meant to be to others.  We can give of our time, our money, our intellect, our expertise, our energy, our strength.  And in return, we are blessed with joy beyond understanding.

But when we give from an empty bank, we are left with regret, obligation, burden and bitterness and we do not receive the blessing of joy.

So fill up those banks.  Take care of you and do it well, so that you can be a true blessing to others and feel the joy you were meant to feel.

Elaina’s Special Joy of the Week: I’ve been learning Spanish again with this fun app. I play it just a few minutes a day, but I think I’m seeing progress. Fun and easy!

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