Girl to Girl Talk: Is It Possible to Put Others Before Yourself?
Written by Christi Given | July 28, 2016
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions. Contact me @ChristiGiven.
This week, a PI Girl asked a fantastic question that poses a challenge of being self-less and helps us examine if we are putting others before ourselves or not. Click here to read the full post or to join the Girl Talk forum.
The PI Girl this week asked:
“I have been known to love others even more than I love myself. I know that we’re told to ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ but it’s so easy to love others, but really hard to love myself…what should I do?”
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)
The Bible says to serve and love others as ourselves, and to not look out for our OWN interests, but to the interests of others. On the flip side, we can forget about ourselves and can burn out on being a people-pleaser or not learning how to say “no.” We need to look at our lives, examine our boundary lines and see if anything is out of place. We need to have a balance where we first replenish ourselves health-wise so we can give with excellency to others.
Heed the Shepherd’s Voice
We need to make sure that, number one, we are in God’s Word, seeking out His voice (John 10), and that we are leaning in to hear what He has to say about us and His will for our lives. We also need to pray and ask God to order our steps and to close any doors that are not for us or His best (Isaiah 22:22).
A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (Matthew 7:18)
Next, we need to examine our lives and see what is producing fruit and what is not. We can learn to say no in a polite way, knowing that we will enable our lives to be open to say yes to something else. We need to have balance in our rest, exercise, work, relationships, time with God and in giving, and it all takes practice…God knows! No one is perfect and we can’t do it alone without the Lord’s help.
If you feel like you just can’t say no and you fall into people-pleasing like me sometimes, read Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It is a helpful read and can address where there are any fuzzy or blurry boundary lines. Don’t let people pressure you, and learn the art of saying no. It is not “unchristian” to decline on something, even if it’s good. We need to have a sabbath, we need to learn to put God first, not man first, and we need to heed wise counsel and instruction. Really, it’s okay not to go to every event or invite or church activity, you will survive. Yes, be faithful in the little and show up, but if you feel your plate is too full and you’re doing a juggling, balancing act, then that means something needs to go.
Learn to Let Go and Let God
Below, I will give you PI readers some tips on learning how to take care of yourself while also helping others, and learning how to refuel and strengthen yourself for the journey of faith in service and in love.
How to Love Others and Yourself at the Same Time
1. Read God’s Word and pray: Seek God’s face, read His Word and ask Him to show you your path. Wait on His still, small voice and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you should and shouldn’t commit to.
2. Get wise counsel: Ask friends, family members, parents to assist you in decision-making and/or for advice if you need it regarding learning to say no. It takes practice and time. Don’t let fear of people scare you from taking care of yourself; it is a godly and wise thing to do. If we aren’t filled up with the Word and well rested and/or replenished, we can burn the candle at both ends and only give 50 percent, and no one wants that, right?
3. Be kind to yourself and to others: You can learn to treat yourself and take care of your health and body by doing a facial mask, doing your nails, getting a sweet treat with a friend or parent, and enjoying your sabbath. (It doesn’t have to be a Sunday because some of us serve every week at church, so find a day to rest and re-plug into the vine.) Read John 15:5…let me put it this way—without God, we can do NOTHING! So make sure you rely on Him, and then you can release blessings to others from the overflow of the living water and the Word you soaked up, if that makes sense. When you are filled up, you can bless others.
4. Examine the fruit: What is your life producing and in what areas are there unhealthy branches that need to be cut off? Remember I suggested for you to read John 15:5? You’ll understand once you read the verse. What are your relationships producing, and what are your job, church life and home life producing? I challenge you to write pros and cons down, pray and examine what you need to do. What is producing life and what is dry or lifeless?
5. Be faithful in little things and learn to let go: Not everything is assigned for you and your life. We can’t save and fix everything, even if we want to, amen? We need to have focused vision on the tasks God has for our lives while being faithful and also gracious in saying the word “no” to things that may be hindering us from walking into our calling, even if they are good. Ask God for wisdom and He will give it to you, and while waiting for the answer, work in excellence as unto the Lord.
PI Girls, can you relate to wanting to take care of everyone else but you? I sure can…it isn’t an easy walk, but with God ALL things are possible, amen?