Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Take Care of Yourself First

I'm pretty sure I have a four year old that is wise beyond her years. You may remember this post about being confident. Sometimes the comments she makes during our conversations seem to be straight from the mouth of God to my ears. Talk about God speaking to you through other people. I've decided He uses Mary Lyndsey to speak to me and teach me things quite often.

Recently , we were riding in the van to pick up Spencer from school. I was listening to the radio and Mary Lyndsey was watching a DVD. She took her headphones off and said to me,

"Mom, turn off the radio, I need to ask you something."

"What is it Mary Lyndsey?"

"Do you have to complete your own mission before you help someone else?"

"What? What movie are you watching? What mission are you are talking about?"

(You learn to never answer a question for a four year old when you don't know what the source of the question is. It just might come back to bite you.)

"I'm watching Gigi. But that's not what my question is about. I want to know if you have to help yourself before you can help someone else."

She clearly had something on her mind, but I didn't know what, so I probed further.

"What are you talking about Mary Lyndsey? Why are you asking the question?"

(Great mom trick by the way... answering a question with a question)

"When we were on the plane to Chicago and to Washington, that lady said you had to help yourself first before you could help somebody else."

Now it was clear. She was thinking about what the flight attendant had said about the oxygen masks on the plane.

"Oh yes Mary Lyndsey, if something happened on the plane and you needed oxygen, you would want to put on your own mask first and then help the person next to you put on their mask."

I didn't want to go into too much detail as she has only flown twice and discussing plane crashes and loss of cabin pressure didn't seem like a good thing to do with a four year old.

"So do you have to always help yourself first with everything?" I wasn't quite sure how to respond so I made up some answer that seemed good at the moment and satisfied her.

The more I thought on her question though, I began to feel like I got the message. We do have to take care of ourselves first before we can help or take care of others. As a mom who is busy and seems to burn my candle at both ends quite often... I burn out quickly. At those times I lose sight of my first calling. After God, it is my family. I can't take good care of them if I'm not taking good care of me. Taking good care of me requires putting on my oxygen mask first to breath in the fresh air, the breath of life I receive when I spend time with Him and in His Word.

I found this quote in an article by Mankyu Oh and found it quite interesting.

"Several years ago a Canadian missionary to Korea translated "spirit" into Korean as "the breath of God," based on John 20:22. I was very excited to see this translation, since I had been reading about ancient ideas on breath at the time. I had also noticed Ellen G. White's emphasis on breath, stressing the benefit of deep breathing for our life and health. Led to do a study of the idea of breath and breathing in the Bible, I was surprised to find how strong a motif it was-running right through Scripture.I found that breath was an essential element in the definition of humankind. More than anything else, Scripture paints the picture of human beings as "breathing" creatures. Humans began with the breathing of the Creator, with breath from God. "The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Gen. 2:7).So we can think of a living being as "a living breath." Man became a living breath when he received the breath of life from God. We become weak when the breath of life in us becomes weak. We become fresh and strong when the breath of life in us becomes fresh and strong. We become spiritual, so to speak, when the breath in us becomes spiritual. Where can we go to get a fresh breath of life? The apostle Paul says in his second epistle to Timothy (3:16, 17): "All Scripture is God-breathed . . . so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." The Bible is a reservoir of God's life-giving breath. When I open the Holy Bible I imagine that I am going to the seashore of life-giving breath. I picture myself standing before an ocean of breath, and deeply inhaling the fresh breath of life from the Scriptures."

This is exactly what I am talking about. Take time to put on your oxygen mask and breathe in the Word of God. If you do this first, you won't run out of breath before you complete all of your other task and you will be able to take care of the others in your life so much better.


Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net said...

Amy - what a great post! I was reading a devotion along the same lines, but it shared that God's Word also helps us fight those battles the devil tries us on! I need to look at the Word as my oxygen - if I don't have it, I won't sustain long and it's soooo true!

Jenifer said...

Oh how often our kiddos put things in perspective for us. I must admit that I have been breathing out far too much lately. The Lord has gotten my attention and He and I have had some awesome moments together lately.

Thank you for this word! Blessings.

Ceci G. said...

How true! My husband and I read the Bible together every day. (We even read during the labor portion of my day in the hospital!) However, I found that this reading together is lacking some of the things I need spiritually. While reading the Bible together allows us to discuss what we've read, and it builds intimacy with each other and God, it doesn't allow me the time to reflect and pray that my own personal time with God has in the past. So, I have committed to doing a devotion alone each morning on my own, and we are also going to start a Bible study once a week. I love how God uses you all to reaffirm what I think or what I need to hear!

DeAnna said...

You are so "on the money" with this one. There are many days when I get up and feel like I am not making sense to anyone or that I am not really meeting anyone's needs that day. The solution..... more time with my Father alone. Instead of lying in bed those extra minutes before the kids get up I should spend the time with Him to get me ready for my day. Most of the time I wait until they are at school, but I bet if I changed things around I would see a definite difference in how my day started.

Peggy said...

Thanks for the reminder Amy or through the mouth of a babe, we learn so much truth!How precious a gift...this inquisitive Mary L.

There are so many good songs that speak about the Breathe of God! I appreciate the insight on this from John20:22 and Korea/Canada
that you shared and then put so appropraitaely into perspective.

Definitely a COMMA!

And even though taking care of yourself fist sounds a little selfish at first glance, you definitely are right. God tells us to love ourself to love others. So same principle applies here! You can't love others until you love yourself which comes down to taking care of yourself! And love of God is also reflected in how you take care and love: self, others and GOD. Of course, the order is reversed:GOD,self and others...well, you get it.("Taking the plank out of my own eye")Peggy

ocean mommy said...


This was a great picture.. Thank you Mary Lyndsey

Cheri said...

What you have written here is just so powerful. I'm gonna be breathing in his word so I can breathe it out on to others.

What a great message, Amy!!

Mary said...

Oh my! This is GOOD! I spend alot of time through work with others who love the "spiritual" side of life but leave the One Who is the Originator of that Spirit in us out of the equation. I love how you put it all into perspective here. BRAVO! I should recommend your blogsite to those I am referring!

Carol said...

Good stuff! That ML knows what she is talking about! We need Him to breathe to be sure!

Kimberly said...

This post is just phenomenal, Amy! Oh, how many days do I end up quickly feeling so "out of breath"!?!? I love this fresh perspective I now have when I go to His Word...He truly is breathing life into me!
Thanks, Amy! (And Mary Lyndsey!) :)

(Oh, by the way, Mary, who commented before me...she is one of my dearest friends! We used to live very close to one another. She is an absolutely AMAZING woman of God and an AMAZINGLY talented artist. I was so excited to see she had come by here!)

mariel said...

What a great post! I found you through Micca and have been so blessed today by this post! Just the reminder I needed! My own time with the Lord has been interupted each morning the last few days...my irritation is beginning to show!! :P
Thank you for this confirmation to carve out and protect that time with Jesus...for my children's sake!!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Loved this, Amy! I hope you're having a great time ministering to people.