I needed this moment bad. A time to sneak away with Curt and just sit on a balcony out on the ocean. Nothing but the sound of the cruise ship moving through the water and my soul beating to the fresh air whipping through me.
Standing on the outer deck of our ship gazing out at the skyline of Seattle, we were preparing to cruise to Alaska. It was a long time dream come true to go see the Last Frontier. I looked around and looked at Curt, I was impatient to sail. I didn’t want to waste my time standing out here with everyone else for this safety briefing.
The emergency horns, muster stations, and life boats were thoroughly discussed. And of course, life jackets. Those bright orange jackets we’re suppose to secure before we help anyone else.
Boarding the plane home I hear more safety instructions.
It was a beautiful week full of images and memories I’ll never forget. As I boarded the plane home my soul still longed for Alaska. Then over the speaker I heard it. We’ve all heard it a million times over, when the pressure drops put your own mask on first before helping to put a mask on the child.
In case of an emergency, place your own life vest on first before helping another.”
Something about that sounds selfish when you say it. It feels like your saying, “Hey, I’ll give you life-sustaining air after I’m breathing securely and I’m in control.”
But the truth is no matter if we are going to help someone while falling through the sky or assisting someone caught on a ship in distress, we are no good to anyone else unless we are good ourselves.
Care for yourself first.
I’ve been thinking on these safety measures a bit lately. Probably because I’ve seen the truth of them come full circle. After going through a season of not taking care of myself, I’m now having to nurse myself back to health. Caring for others takes strength and when your own is gone, there is none left for others.
We run through our lives full throttle ahead. We don’t stop to measure what we are eating, how we are resting, and if we are physically keeping fit. We don’t. We keep our eyes on to-do’s, schedules, work, children, and all the other activities that pull our focus away from ourselves.
Somehow I think we’ve bought in to this lie that taking time to care for ourselves is selfish and a waste of time. Oh how I see now this is a huge lie. Not caring for ourselves will only leave us knocked down and out in this wrestling match we call life.
Oh how it’s so easy to get distracted and worn-down.
Taking time for ourselves can seem so awkward at first. We’ll feel like we need to be “doing” something. Serving others, chasing dreams, and conquering to-do lists. But carving out just a few moments each day can make a huge difference to airing up our own life support.
Are you getting fresh air from the Word of God daily?
Are you making time to rest?
Are you stopping to eat properly — at a table with “real” food?
Are you keeping your physical being in shape?
Are you working at including your family in all you do?
These are essential for being healthy emotionally, physically, and spiritually. After caring for yourself, you can then breathe and have strength for others. If you are dry, worn, tired, and frazzled by commitments the art of serving others will burn you out. You won’t even have enough energy to put your own life support on first.
Give yourself permission to secure yourself first.
Assess where you are today. If you are flailing and worn, please take time to cinch up your life vest first. There’s no need to feel guilty. Breathe some fresh air, bask in the freshness of God’s word, and spend time in the company of encouragers.
It’s time you refill your soul so that you can then refill others.
What do you need to do to secure yourself first?