Doesn't the title of this post sound like such a worldly way of thinking? Does it go against the grain of everything you believe? Me too, but, there are times to put yourself first. What are some instances in which we should put our self first?
1. Our spiritual lives-I've been reading the book "The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman" a practical guide to Spiritual Beauty by Anne Ortlund. Today the exercise at the end of the chapter was to write down all the things you do with your time, and in prayer, give each area to God to do with as He wants, and also, to write down all the bad circumstances in your life and thank Him for each one(1 Thess. 5:18), and turn each one over to Him asking Him to heal your thought life concerning your worry, resentment, control, etc. over each one. As I did this and was praying, I thought about how important this was that I was praying these prayers for myself. Before I try to help anyone else or pray for anyone else, it's important that my own heart is right. I need to make sure my own ways please the Lord before I start trying to help someone else,otherwise, I just end up stressed, resentful, and wondering if this is the way the christian life is really supposed to be.Sometimes, especially as moms, we spend so much time trying to teach our children to live right, and praying for them, that we neglect our own personal prayer, study, learning time, which should be foundational. "The more of us is invisible, hidden from the world in quiet, in study, in planning, and in prayer, the more effective our visible life will be" (Catherine Marshall, Adventures in Prayer). How can we be effective in leading even our own families to the Lord, if we haven't first, prepared ourselves, and laid our own hearts open before God.
#2 Our health-My mom told me recently, "If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will." This is true. And, how can we take care of our families if we ourselves are weak and sick. Besides, our example speaks louder than anything to our kids.
#3 Our appearance-I don't know about you, but, my natural tendency has always been to get up and start getting everything else rolling before I take too much thought to what I look like. But, ladies, time to make ourselves look at least worth looking at, needs to come pretty high on our list of priorities in the mornings. Who wants to wake up to a mom that looks like she would love to be in bed herself? And, when your husband goes off to work, he doesn't need to go from someone who is not very appealing to look at and whose breath is repulsive, to a place where the women are pleasing to look at, smell nice, and carry on pleasant, lively conversations. He is human.
Putting ourselves first is not always a selfish thing. It can actually give us the peace, joy, and strength that we need, to then give ourselves to others.