I find it incredibly difficult to pick something up once it’s been a while since I’ve dropped it.
For me, that’s writing. I dropped it. This thing that helped me feel alive and creative and confident in who I am, I dropped.
I’m not really sure why, I mean, yeah, I could blame it in being busy, or I could just face the fact that I set it down on purpose. I don’t believe I would have stopped doing something I love and enjoy on accident. Accidents, by definition, are things that are unfortunate and happen unexpectedly and unintentionally. I believe I stopped on purpose. It wasn’t unintentional. I chose other things to replace the time I would have normally spent writing.
I do that often, you know. Choose not-so-good things, or even “good” things in place of great or best things. It’s a constant challenge for me. And if I’m honest, it’s probably because I worry too much, compare myself too much, and allow people to dictate what I do and when I do it rather than allow God or myself to do that.
I’ll differ to others in the name of “service” or responsibility. Which is kind of a foolish thing, because I’m not really serving anyone, at least not well, if I’m doing it begrudgingly or out of a lack of energy and wholeness.
My mom and I were having a conversation about this on the phone last week. I was expressing my usual rhetoric, “I’m so tired. There’s so much going on. I don’t know how to balance it. I wish I had time to (fill in the blank).”
She brought up airplanes. Specifically the video you are forced to watch before the plane takes off. In this video, they tell you that if the cabin is to lose air pressure, put on your oxygen mask first before you help out anyone else. You know what I’m talking about.
I actually always get frustrated about that, because my initial reaction is to think that’s selfish, and that I need to help everyone else first. But, if I’m not breathing well, how am I going to help anyone? By trying to help everyone else out and neglecting myself, I end up not actually doing much good. I would slowly start to fade due to lack of oxygen.
I can’t help anyone if I’m dead.
And that’s the deal. That’s the reality sometimes when I neglect myself, or especially when I try to do everything for everyone all the time. It’s actually pretty selfish, because it reveals a codependency – “I need you to need me.” And that’s not healthy, nor is it the Gospel.
More than anything, you and I need Jesus. And I want to instill that so deeply within myself that it doesn’t matter if I’m not the one who’s always serving and saying yes and helping everyone. People don’t need me; they need Jesus.
I need to put my oxygen mask on first. And write again.