“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
\\It was a beautiful, sunny day in my little ole hometown. I had come back from college for some form of family get together and we were all gathered on the porch chit chatting and catching up. My grandpa and I grabbed a seat next to each other and began talking about loving others, giving our lives in service, when He paused in the conversation and asked me a very crucial question:
“Have you ever considered what this verse (Mark 12:31) would look like if we ignore the “as yourself” part?”
Hmmm. Nooo I never thought of that? I always placed the emphasis of this verse on the “love your neighbor”part and actually didn’t give much consideration to the part about me.
This conversation made me realize that the way that we view, esteem, and essentially “love” ourselves is actually reflected in the way that we love others.
If we refuse to see ourselves as image bearers of God, chances are we won’t see others in that same light either. If we are constantly running ourselves dry, without allowing our body’s time to rest and rejuvenate physically and spiritually, we will always be trying to draw water from an empty well. When we don’t care for ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, how are we supposed to care for others if we don’t know HOW to do that for ourselves?
Granted, we live in a self centered society and sometimes it can feel like “self care” is just another gamic to become absorbed in our own affairs. However, we’ve got to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. This truth is represented so well in the airlines procedures. Every airline company maintains the same procedure that if an emergency takes place, parents are instructed to put the oxygen on themselves first so that they are able to properly put it on their child. The worst thing that could happen is if the parent all the sudden became disoriented and was unable to put the oxygen on themselves or their child.
I’m the first to admit, I have fallen into this category of thinking self care is “selfish” and continued trying to keep going when my whole being was begging me to stop and rest. I am more often than not driving around on empty. (I’m learning.) But if we really are about our neighbor, about loving them well and committing to pour into them, we must keep an eye on ourselves too. Making sure we are resting, taking care of our bodies, our Spirits, and carving out time for God to rejuvenate us and fill us up to go back and pour out.
I believe that when we start taking a hard look at how we care for and view ourselves, we will see our love for our neighbors change dramatically.//