I had lunch with a great friend of mine named Brian last Friday. During the course of our conversation, he said that a mutual friend of ours asked him, “Brian, are you taking care of yourself?” Brian stopped, thought, and then told him, “No.” Life had gotten crazy busy. Between his family, his business, his ministry and just life in general, he had been working to take care of everyone – except himself.

Have you ever been there? I know I have. Why is it that so many of us fail to value ourselves the way we should?

Maybe it is guilt. I mean, after all, aren’t we supposed to put others ahead of ourselves? Especially we Christians: aren’t we supposed to serve God first, others second, and ourselves third (or last)?

Well, yes…

...and NO.

Have you ever flown on a commercial flight? I would venture to say that virtually everyone reading this has either flown, or at least has seen a show or movie that depicts some of the different instructions that flight attendants give prior to takeoff.

One of the major points that is covered is the instruction for passengers – in the event of a loss of cabin pressure – to put on THEIR oxygen mask BEFORE helping a child put on theirs.

Gee, isn’t that contrary to the whole “serve others first” mantra?

Not at all.

You see, you CANNOT help others who need your help if you are incapacitated yourself. You cannot truly serve others – at least not to your utmost – if you are not taking care of yourself. If you are not valuing YOU.

I had a thought the other day that applies here. I feel that everyone should – from time to time, as needed – visit the Land of Ah’s. We all should experience some things in our lives that make us say, “Ahhhhh.” Some examples include:

– seeing a beautiful sunrise or sunset;
– getting a massage;
– spending quality time (and quantity time whenever possible)┬átogether with your spouse in intimacy;
– having an amazing meal and/or an amazing dessert, and;
– taking a long, hot shower.

Once you understand that you must value YOU in order to be your best, you will start making it a priority. When you feel good about yourself – physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually, and in any other way that matters to you – then and only then will you be able to serve others to your utmost.

It is not a perfect science, so never feel bad if you fall behind in this effort from time to time. The main thing to do is to keep going back to valuing yourself. Do it on an ongoing basis as much as you can.

You – and all those whom you serve – will be glad you did.