I am a people watcher. I observe, listen and learn from the people around me. Growing up, all of the women in my life–my mom, aunts, and ladies at church–showed me examples of serving others. These women put the other people in their life first before they took care of themselves. Their personalities were caring and gracious with a willingness to serve. They say you learn best from others’ examples and I took all I gleaned from these ladies and became the loving, serving person they modeled. I took on the personality of taking care of other’s needs before my own. You might be asking yourself right now what is wrong with that?
When you lose sight of who you are to serve others, you miss out on how others can care for you. Many times people delight in being the one to do something nice and you have taken that blessing away from them. I look at my grown up self and still believe that my purpose is to take care of others first before I take care of myself. I miss out on how those around me can fill me and as a result become “care-full”.
[Tweet “God did not choose us to work so hard we wear out in the doing. Learn how others can care for you.”]
God did not choose us to work so hard we wear out in the doing. He chose us to balance what we need with taking care and loving others. I am learning this lesson, but still have a long way to go. Just recently, I shared that I want to pursue my dreams. Almost as soon as I said that, I felt selfish for even thinking it. God creates us to need care from others. He desires for us to embrace a care-full attitude. For me, it’s going to take more time and a letting go of some things or people I think I need to continue to put first at the exception of myself. I’m honestly quivering over here at taking this step.
The fifth beatitude is speaking into the place inside me that believes that I should always serve others first even at the expense of caring for myself. It says:
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. Matthew 5:7 MSG
If we never fill ourselves up after a continual emptying of love, grace, and servitude, our well runs dry. How will we continue to have what is needed to give to others when even the overflow is empty? Can we maintain a stance of serving others first without caring for ourselves?
I love this beatitude and to be honest it is kicking me in the gut. God is showing me how important it is to be there for others. He is also pointing me to the truth that until I am care-full, I miss that I am cared for. Wow! I need to read this over and over. Pressing pause on how I usually approach this beatitude will give me the chance to catch up with the truth of what God is saying.
[Tweet “Praying and dreaming for your plans to align with God’s does not take away from caring for others.”]
My mom taught me well and serving your family is important. But praying and dreaming for your plans to align with God’s does not take away from caring for others. When we know we are cared for, we have so much more to give. The times we step back and make room for God to fill us creates a space for Him to reside. When God lives in us, His Spirit provides the strength, hope, and wisdom we need to be there for others and ourselves.
May the truth of who God is along with how He loves us enough to fill us to overflowing, remain in your hearts this week. Press pause if needed and remind yourself that you are blessed when you are care-full.
Re-fueling to fill others,
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I love this thought. We can be so independent and giving, that we miss out on letting someone be a blessing to us. I know what you mean about strong women being influences on us, and it is hard sometimes to sit, and let someone else do what you could do. Then, I am reminded of our Lord who often left the crowds to go and be refreshed, alone, in the mountains at night as He prayed. And how He let Mary wash His feet, when no doubt He could have done it himself. Yes, a good reminder that we let ourselves be cared for, even as we care for others. Hugs 🙂
I appreciate the reminder of Jesus caring for himself. I love how he intentionally chose quiet time in prayer along with His Father. Women traditionally choose a role of serving others. It seems to be inherent in our nature. I’m blessed you joined me here today. Sabbath blessings!
Mary, Such a great post on caring for yourself and others. Isn’t it so true that we need to learn the balance for them both. If we lean to far to one side, it’s pride, and too far the other way is abusing our selves. In order to fully walk in Gods plans and purposes, we need to both serve and be served. We need to care for ourselves so we can care for others… You have nothing to give, if you never fill up and are running on empty. Such a great post Thank you can keep dreaming and moving towards those dreams. I am in your corner my friend. Also, thank you for linking up to #TuneInThursday yesterday and sharing on your social media. I hope you will join me each and every week in the future. I love your posts and writings and I know my readers will too!
Thank you Debbie! I am sure that you are learning and working toward balancing caring for others and your self daily since you are in ministry. This is a lesson that I will continue to learn. As for dreaming, I appreciate all of your encouragement. God’s got this and me! I’m blessed you started your own link up Debbie. Looking forward to all that God will be teaching you on Tune In Thursdays
After running hard in ministry for over 20 years, life in that way came to a sudden halt. I realized how very burned out I was (I am still recovering!). Endless weekends of service. Always having to be “on”. I realized I was really good at taking care of others and neglecting myself. I am still learning that it’s okay to care for myself, that by doing so, I will have more to pour into the lives of those God has called me to serve.
You amaze me Barbie in a good way. God is working so mightily in your life and even though it is a time of waiting and resting, He is there. I pray you see how God is working in your life and you allow yourself the self-care you deserve. Love you!
Yep. I get you, Mary! I have a difficult time letting others care for me. I have to lose my SuperWoman mantle and remember that just as God puts people in my path for me to care FOR, he puts me in other people’s paths so THEY can care for ME!
I imagine you wear your superwoman cape often. I know I do. It is very humbling when others want to do something for me. I am never sure how to react but it does feel good when it happens. Thanks for being here.
“He is also pointing me to the truth that until I am care-full, I miss that I am cared for.” So true Mary! And know I had years where I had to schedule time for caring for me by doing something I loved once a week. Then I was in a much more healthier mind-set to deal with all the chaos of raising three little ones as a single mom. I wasn’t a Christian then but know God was guiding me in this.
Being a single mom is one of the reasons that I have always cared for others first before myself. I love how God was working on you even before you were a Christian. This is a lesson I am continuing to learn. I have years of doing it the wrong way so I have a lot to unlearn. Blessings friend!
I think as we “really” live the gospel and apply its principles to our everyday lives, it is the most natural way of caring. Jesus constrains us.
Amen! Thank you for your wisdom Susan! I need to continue to live the gospel more authentically. Blessed you joined me here.
I first learned this from my husband back when we were first married. He was so vulnerable with others and often let them do all sorts of things for him. In contrast, I always felt like I should do for myself and not impose on others. But after awhile, I began to see how blessed these people were who were allowed to give to another. Now I’m not so independent and self-reliant. I let people do for me, especially when it seems like it could bless them to do so. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Mary!
What a great lesson your husband taught you so many years ago. I am learning how to not only care for myself but also balance that with caring for others. I need to work on retraining myself so that I can develop a new habit. Maybe I need to learn how to do this from you. Thank you for joining in the conversation.
This post really spoke to me. God called me to serve others. But I need to remember to take care of me too.
Being in ministry looks like serving on a different level than what I do on a daily basis. You have such a beautiful heart and what you do for others is a gift. I pray we both can figure out how to balance caring for others while at the same time taking care of ourselves. Love you friend!
I love your perspective, Mary. Like you, I find it easier to care for everyone else’s needs and neglect my own need for being filled. I’m discovering that pouring myself out without feeding my spirit depletes me and I get snappish and impatient. There’s something exciting and filling about seeking out our dreams. And that does fill me. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your beautiful, honest words, Mary!
You and I are a lot alike. I also find that pouring myself out without refilling leaves me weary. But allowing myself to dream is exciting for sure. God loves when we dream and I am praying that His thoughts and my dreams collide. Sending you hugs today.
Hi Mary. I sometimes think that it’s selfish for me to take care of myself. As a result, I push myself too hard and get sick again (because of a chronic illness.) I’m still prone to forget but I’m slowly learning that God wants me to rest more and take care of myself better so I can better help and encourage all who I meet. In a spiritual way, we especially need to fill up at God’s bottomless fountain of love in order to pour it out to others, don’t we? Love and hugs to you!
I’m right there with you Trudy. I know part of the reason for the guilt is how I grew up and the model of how my mom cared for all us first. Having a chronic illness probably provides times when you try to overcompensate for how you are feeling and then you do too much. I pray God continues to teach you in this area and you allow yourself to be filled often. Love and hugs!
It is important to get a balance- to care for others but also to allow them to care for us. This is something I have struggled with too. I’m better than I used to be at allowing others to care for me since I realised it has to go both ways and that if we are to give out to others we need to do that from a place of being filled ourselves.
I love knowing that you are learning the lesson that God is trying so hard to teach me. I have my son and daughter-in-law living with me now and I know I still try to care for them before me. But having a daily example of how easy it is to get burned out and to see them caring for me is helping so much. I pray you are having an amazing week.
Something I learned this last year, how I need to fill myself so I can continue to power out. I need sabbath time, so I started to implement it weekly. I find when I do that, I am a better giver and can pour out love easier. Wise words! Great message!
I would love to hear more about your Sabbath time. I imagine that the practice of slowing down has brought freedom in many areas. God certainly teaches us how to care for ourselves as well as others but in my case I think I can do it on my own. Blessed to have you here today Jennie!
These devotionals on the Beatitudes just keep getting better and better — although I think I’m having the same “gut” thing going on that you had. I really do struggle with the vulnerability of being care-full, but am seeing the importance of that risk.
I am blessed this series is speaking to you Michele. I am loving how God is showing me the connections between my life and the beatitudes especially in the Message version. Being care-full is not easy for me to embrace but God is patient and will keep showing me how he needs me to be cared for to continue to care for others. I always love having you here!