Before a plane takes flight, the airline stewardess instructs passengers on how to survive should things go terribly wrong. She uses hand gestures to help a less-than-attentive crowd remember the life-saving information. It’s the instructions about the oxygen mask, specifically for parents or caretakers of another passenger, that resonate with me.
“Put on your oxygen mask first,” the flight attendant commands the crew and their precious cargo.
The message is simple: save yourself first so that you rescue someone else. If you’re gasping for air, can you really help someone else breathe? We know that when we bless others it ultimately blesses us (Genesis 12:2). We know that when we put another person’s needs ahead of our own, God meets us at our point of need (Luke 6:38). We know that it’s better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). But, what if you are the precious cargo in need of self-care? Consider this simple question: Are you a blessing to yourself?
In what ways are you a blessing to yourself?
If you’re struggling with the list, then let’s pay closer attention to the stewardess. The flow of blessing, the best chance of survival, the best strategy for a successful outcome for everyone on your journey starts with how you care for you. Perhaps Jesus said it best,
“Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.” (Matthew 7:12)
When we’re unkind to ourselves, we’re unkind to others. When we struggle to love ourselves, we struggle to love others. When we deny peace, we represent war to others. When we abandon and neglect ourselves, we run out of the fuel necessary to keep the blessings flowing to those who need us most. Your existence is all part of God’s plan. You are not a mistake. Did you know you’re someone’s answered prayer?
Whether it was a grandmother praying protection over her family, a mother praying for a child, a spouse praying for love, an ancestor praying for their legacy, or a stranger praying for help, you are an answered prayer. The kindness, care, and compassion you show yourself today could change or even save someone else’s life tomorrow. More importantly, your own. Go ahead, bless you.