January has flown by and it’s basically Christmas again (slight exaggeration) but the point I’m making is time shows no mercy to you, me or our new year plans. On the subject of plans, how are those 2020 plans going so far? For some, this question might be triggering in the sense that you have completely ditched your plans or haven’t been consistent in pursuing them how you hoped to. On the other hand some may have exceeded those initial goals and moved onto bigger plans.
One plan I believe others may have overlooked (like I did) is the plan to put ourselves first. As Christians we grow up being told to love others and rightly so. However, at times the balance is off and we spend more time pouring into others, leaving ourselves empty and drained. It’s more rare than common being told to put ourselves first, so much so that when something happened in my life recently and led to people encouraging me to focus on myself, I realised I had no clue on what putting myself first looks like. It got to a point where I searched Google for verses on “being selfish as a Christian in a good way”. Surprise surprise my Google search came up empty.
However, one simple conversation with a friend stirred me in the right direction. She reminded me that even Jesus put Himself first. Now before anyone is enraged by the statement, I’ll go on to further insert that Jesus being about the will of the Father who sent Him is not selfish in a sense of thinking solely about Himself, but instead was so focused on doing what He had to do (which in its entirety was for the benefit of all of mankind) John 3:16 if you need the verse!
Being that there is no situation, experience or circumstance that is new, I can confidently say my lack of ‘know-how’ isn’t a peculiar scenario. So, having said that, here are some tips and verses to help you be a ‘selfish’ Christian in 2020 and beyond.
Take time out (daily) to pray
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
Jesus went off into a solitary place to be alone and to pray. Were people in need looking for Him? Yes. Could He have been healing a ton of people? Yes. However, He knew what He needed to be restored and renewed.
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Now, I am not telling you that when life gets overwhelming just go away and pray and all will be well (although it will be very beneficial!). What I am saying is that when life gets hectic, or even if people are literally grabbing at you like the image above, you need to remember to seek solitude and do what is necessary to be renewed and refilled by God.
Take time out to rest
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
We are commanded to love people like we love ourselves, but we cannot pour out into others if we ourselves are broken. Imagine you have a 1ltr jug full of boiled water ready to make 10 cups of tea each with the ability to hold 100ml of water. Now imagine that your jug has some cracks. I'm sure that by the time you get to the 5th cup, not only will you have suffered some pain from the splashing of the hot water but you probably would not have enough water to fill the remaining cups. So not only have you come out with pains but you also did not manage to complete the job you set out to do.
This is what happens when we do not take time to rest – we hurt ourselves and we become ineffective in achieving the original goal set out. Likewise, Jesus could have spent His whole time on Earth going from town to town ministering but even He knew when He needed to rest and for Him that meant getting away to pray. For you it might mean taking yourself out on a date, having a pampering spa day, getting a good night’s sleep or devoting more time to meditating on the word of God.
Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
So I encourage you this year to be a little more ‘selfish’ so you can be a lot more of a blessing to others!
Words by Yemi Adekoya