self-care is caring

“I’ll do anything for my friends.” Except take care of myself first? Oh it’s very confusing because it seems like love, but putting other people’s growth above your own is an oxymoron and it won’t work. If you allow yourself to be lost in trying to be the perfect friend then you are a horrible friend. Look at the example you set. And how can you help others if you yourself are a mess?

A friend of mine is 17 year old, he’s about to finish his 9 months in rehab, and instead of doing whatever it takes to make sure he stays sober he is trying to maintain relationships with over 15 rehab friends (most of whom are not serious about their sobriety) and several of his old friends from back in the day. He is drawn to the down and out, the hurting, the addicted. There is a noble empathy he feels for them so it’s tricky – it feels like the right thing. But what good is his empathy if he relapses? He will be in the same ditch with them and cannot pull them onto the road of righteousness.  My friend needs to take care of himself first and not be distracted by trying to rescue everyone else. He needs to be willing to let go of some wrong relationships in order to set the example they desperately need. They need to see that someone was willing to leave them behind for the dream of a better life. While it might sting, it will give them the example and slap in the face they need to get better themselves.

Let people go. You can’t see it yet, but there are a great number of people in your future waiting for you to come to the place of maturity that you can be their friend. Ignore the fear that the friends you have now are your last chance for a solid group to belong to. It’s obviously a lie. You have a whole future waiting for you and if your friends are holding you back from that future they are not your destiny. Take care of yourself first and you will qualify for great friends.

When you listen to the airline stewardess talk about the emergency procedures, she is careful to point out that you should put your own oxygen mask on before you help others, even before you help children or the elderly. Isn’t that selfish? Or is it smart? How can you help someone else if you’re not getting oxygen yourself? Your friends need you healthy. Your family needs you healthy. The world needs you healthy. God has a calling on your life that will not be accomplished if you can’t prioritize your own wholeness over your empathy for the broken around you. oxygen masks


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