Have you ever felt guilty for being sick? Do you put off taking care of your health because you are too busy meeting everyone else’s needs? Have you ever felt bitter towards your family because you aren’t making your own needs a priority?
When we are truly selfless, we won’t be feeling like a martyr, and our families will see a more cheerful mom that takes care of the needs of her family as well as her own.
There are many Biblical ways we can and should put others before ourselves. I believe we often jeopardies our health unnecessarily while “leaving the other undone”, all in the name of serving.
Put our expectations in their place.
We have all had expectations about how our marriage should be, what our family should look like, what our success or appearance of success will be, what our income should look like, etc. We have all been disappointed by the circumstances we find ourself in or the lack of results we see in a certain area of our life. Our expectations can be the source of many unchristian thoughts and feelings, such as bitterness, discontent, and un-thankfulness. When we learn to give these to God and surrender our expectations, we will have more piece in our lives.
Tip: every morning write down 3-5 things you can surrender to God that day, whether it’s expectations, circumstances, or fears.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:12-13
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Hebrews 12:14-15
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15
“When pride cometh…”
Ungodly pride can cause a lot of problems in our life. The Bible connects it to shame, failure, strife, contention, and more. I’ve found pride can show up in my life as a need of approval by others and need to be right. God wants us to not think of ourselves as better or of more value than any fellow human being. We should have compassion and love for others, and pride hinders that.
Tip: Thankfulness is a great cure for pride. When we thank God for all that we have, we are not tempted to believe we obtained it on our own.
A man’s pride shall bring him low:
but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Proverbs 29:23
The fear of man bringeth a snare:
but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Many seek the ruler’s favour;
but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD. Proverbs 29:25-26
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Galatians 6:3-4
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Only by pride cometh contention:
but with the well advised is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: Proverbs 16:5
Our opinions are not scripture
If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Most of us have opinions. Good. But let’s not fall into the habit of thinking our opinions are more important than any other. When we have an opinion about someone else, we can keep it to ourselves. When we have an opinion about how something should be done, we can listen to someone else’s opinion, too. When we have an opinion about personal choices, we can live our lives and let others live theirs. We can acknowledge that there are absolute truths given by God, and there are opinions; we should be very careful not to mix the two.
Tip: When giving your opinion, ask the other person what their opinion is. “I think this, what do you think?” And always, always ask God what He thinks.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him,
and taught him in the path of judgment,
and taught him knowledge,
and shewed to him the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:14
…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes:
but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2
Cast Down Fears
Failure. Rejection. If you are like me, those are weighty words. The fear of being judged or not being “good enough” can keep us tied up thinking about ourselves–”overthinking, ” some people call it. It can be a source of anxiety for many, especially us women, I believe. And, no, simply saying, “I don’t care what other people think, ” doesn’t fix it. Instead, try saying, “What others think of me doesn’t define me, ” and “God’s thoughts about me are the only thoughts and judgements that really matter.”
Tip: Every morning, along with your “surrender list”, write down 3-5 affirmations–Biblical truths that help you lay aside your fears of failure, judgement, and rejection. Here are a few to get you started: I am loved. I am created with a purpose. I am valuable to God. I am here “for such a time as this.”
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
…whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2:29b
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7
Yes, this is about not sabotaging our health, but as always, there is a balance. We should not make our health or “self-care” more important than our family’s health. This might take some prayer and discussion with your spouse and/or family. Every family is different, so what works for one family may not work for another family. Don’t let this discourage you. I refer back to the section about expectations. You can find a plan that will work for you and your family.
What Do You Think?
What are some other areas we can be more selfless in? How can we have a servant’s heart even when it pertains to our needs and our health?