Thursday, November 21, 2013

Help Yourself First

Before you comment about how selfish that sounds or worse- you just stop reading, please let me explain.

I was reminded of something that I heard on a recent flight to South Carolina while attending a conference there. The flight attendant went through all of the "in the event of" procedures and since it’s the same thing on every flight, you probably know the drill.

"In the event of…please put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others." In other words, help yourself first.

Now, I know that it seems so much more noble to immediately respond to the needs of others, helping them, saving them and sacrificing your own needs but how helpful will you be if you’re deprived of the very thing that gives you life- your breath. It makes sense then to put your own mask on first, to help save yourself, so that you can then begin to help save others.

"We breathe to capture oxygen, which helps us convert food into energy in our cells, and to get rid of carbon dioxide – the waste gas which is formed as this happens. Our lungs pump these gases in and out of our bodies, and help us dissolve them in and out of our blood."

Ask Glenn, sciencemuseum.org

"We need oxygen because the main use of oxygen in humans and aerobic organisms is to permit the body to build energy. Energy is required as a host of processes in the body like movement, growth, repair…." - ask.com


We all have need for the bad to be removed and require assistance in moving forward, for healing and growth.



Before we can be really effective in helping others, we need to first help ourselves. We all have had some brokenness in our lives, whether from our past or present situations and sometimes the hurt that remains is so suffocating, that it makes it almost impossible to breath and to truly live. We think the noble thing to do is to help others, to save them when actually we need to be saved first!



For several years I’ve been involved in women’s ministry, holding bible studies in my home, talking with women one on one, leading small groups in our church and helping with big events. A few months ago I felt strongly that I needed to step away from those things. I felt that God was calling me to be still and spend time breathing in His presence. It was difficult to let go. It seemed selfish to me and maybe even to others, but nonetheless, God thought it necessary for me to help myself (by seeking Him) before assisting others.



I was broken and wounded masking the pain, the disappointments of my life and pretending that I was fine, all the while trying to help others be healed of their own hurts, their own wounds. While it was completely possible for me to be helpful to others,

if I wanted to truly live,

to grow,

to be healed and restored,

I needed to breathe in deeply the very breath of the living God.
 
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7



Stepping away from some things, even good and helpful things, allowed God to breathe new life into me, to get rid of the bad and to move me forward, helping me to grow, repairing all that was broken.

I no longer have a bandaged wounded heart but a new heart, and a new life.

I’ve helped myself by seeking God’s healing presence and now I’m ready to help others breathe Him in deeply and live the life that Jesus died to give them.

If you’re heart is to help others but you haven’t helped yourself first,

Pray

Be Still

And let God breathe new life in you.



 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why Am I a Christian?

Why do I call myself a Christian? I’ve read some things recently that cause me to ask myself this question and compel me to give an answer.
 
I made a decision a long time ago to surrender my life to Christ. I asked His forgiveness of my sins and asked Him to come into my heart and my life. I’m well aware of the choices that I’ve made in my lifetime, and even more aware of the enormity of God’s grace offered to me through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He chose to die for me and that sacrifice causes me want to live for Him. He gave me what I don’t deserve and saved me from what I do deserve.
 
The choices that I make, the things that I choose to do and choose not to do are out of a deep desire to honor Him. Just like a child desires to make a parent proud, it is my desire that my Heavenly Father be proud of me.
Sometimes the choices are difficult, often humbling but always with a greater purpose. It’s in those moments when I’m tempted to choose my own way, when I’m weak, that He is strong, and I see the hand of God in my life.
 
Do I still make wrong choices? Yes. Do I still have a need for forgiveness? Yes. But it is through my Savior’s great love for me that I’m acutely aware that I am swimming in an ocean of grace and when I feel as though I’m drowning, He rescues me.
 
Even though I attempt to make good choices, right choices, choices that honor God, the truth is there is nothing that I have done or could do to earn what Jesus did for me.
 
NOTHING.
 
When I say that I’m a Christian I’m not saying that I’m better than anyone else, the truth, is I fail Him…a lot.
 
Christianity is not about hypocrisy, it is about humility, knowing the depth of my sin and the expanse of Jesus’ love for me. His love for me goes deep and wide and His blood was enough to cover every wrong choice, every mistake, and every hurt.
 
Why am I a Christian?
 
I am a Christian because Christ chose to die for me and I choose to live for Him.