I seem to be running into countless people these days who are too tired, overworked, or busy to take care of themselves. They are great people who care about those around them — they’re running friends to doctor’s appointments, working overtime at work, volunteering at church every week, homeschooling kids, or a plethora of other marvelous deeds — but they’re not eating well or exercising. So much time and effort is being put into others that they themselves are feeling worn out and drained.
Whenever I hear someone say this to me, I’m reminded about the safety instructions they give you on a plane. You know, the ones the flight attendants review as you’re pulling away from the gate. There’s that part where they say, “In the event of a decrease of pressure, masks will drop from overhead. Please put your own mask on first before helping the person next to you.” Usually, if this is a video, they show a mother putting her mask on then helping her child with theirs. It looks so precious. But why is this so important?
You see, if you don’t have your own oxygen mask on to enable you to breathe, you may not be capable of helping anyone else with theirs. You might even pass out, and where would little Suzy be then, huh?
Think about Jesus. Mark 1:35 says, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Jesus took time for Himself — first! First thing in the morning He connected with God and filled Himself up before going to give out to others. He put His own mask on first (figuratively speaking, of course).
Here’s a few other verses that come to mind:
- Matt.11:28 — Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- 1 Pet. 5:7 — Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
- Isa. 26:3 — You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
It’s very clear that we need to take time to rest our bodies, our minds, our emotions, and get rejuvenated so that we may have something to give out to other people. Boxers take a time out between rounds, and most sports have some sort of a “halftime” to regroup and refresh — and so must we!
We are of no use to anyone as tired, empty shells, putzing along barely making it “by the grace of God.” I believe God wants us to witness to the world as a vibrant and “living sacrifice.” He wants us to be alive! It’s in Him we move and have our being! (Acts 17:28) But we have to take a time out and get with Him first!
So my dear reader —You can’t give out of what you don’t have. If there’s no coffee in the pot, you can’t pour any out. And please, put on your own mask first, then, by all means, help someone else with theirs.