Me vs. Me

Me vs. Me

March 16, 2022 0 By Laura

Why is it that we can make choices to serve others but not to prioritize our own inherent needs, longings, and desires?

I’m not talking about being crazy selfless, like sacrificing your life for another’s or putting someone else’s financial needs before your own. I’m talking like deadlines. Goals. Hopes. Dreams. Even just simple tasks.

As a mom, it’s pretty simple to put my kids’ basic needs before my own. They eat, shower, and sleep before I do. They get new clothes and new shoes and haircuts before I do. Their baseball practices and gymnastics classes come before my ability to have an evening at home or a weekend away.

As a business owner, it’s easy to put my clients’ needs at the forefront of my priorities too. You’ve got a deadline that’s hard to meet? I can make it happen. You need edits done as quickly as possible because you’ve got a meeting? Sure thing. I can meet the deadlines and complete the tasks and check off the list easily because someone else is depending on me, and my success as a business owner depends on it.

As a woman, my relationships are important and I can easily push other non-urgent things aside to put a relationship front and center. When a friend needs someone to talk to, a family member needs help at their home, or even a stranger at a store needs assistance loading groceries, I have no problem stepping in and helping.

None of these things are because I’m some amazingly selfless person. I honestly believe just about everyone is “good” and selfless in these general ways. It’s usually pretty easy to put others before ourselves in these areas.

But why can’t we prioritize ourselves? Our hopes and goals and dreams? Whether it’s a big one, like writing a book, or a small one, like going for a run alone, it can be extremely difficult to make the time to do something for ourselves. And I’m not just talking about self-care or general mental health practices. I’m talking bigger, more important stuff, like actually working toward an important goal, whether in our health, personal lives, or professional careers.

Maybe it’s a female thing or a mom thing, or maybe it’s just a human thing. We can meet the deadlines for others and hold ourselves accountable for meeting their needs, but if we set a goal for ourselves and get burned out on the way to accomplishing it, we just push it aside as if it never existed in the first place.

I wish I knew why. And I wish I knew how to stop it from happening. I wish I could muster the energy, effort, and discipline to work toward accomplishing my own goals in the same way that I muster it to meet deadlines for my clients.

I’m really struggling with how to navigate this. With a sizable workload and four young kids, it’s rare for me to find time to myself. Even rarer is having alone time where I actually have an ounce of energy to put toward things that really matter. But I know I need to figure it out. I need to make time to focus on the things that I long for and that I ultimately want to do and get done, but that are hard to make time for in the busyness and constant exhaustion.

When all other things are vying for my attention, from the grocery list to the client emails to the television, I need to fix my eyes on what truly matters and keep a view on the long-term. It’s not just about the here and now, and it’s certainly not about the immediate gratification that comes from mindlessly watching TV while I chow down on coffee ice cream when the kids are in bed.

It’s a kingdom mindset. It’s trusting that what I want to do and am trying to do will have an eternal impact. It’s believing that my calling is truly a calling and that it has the potential to radically change someone’s life.

But it’s also making the difficult choices now, in the smaller things, in order to take those stepping stones toward the bigger things. It’s dying to myself every single day and starving the desires of my flesh until they have no hold over me. It’s following where God is leading and knowing that He’s with me every step of the way.

He never promised it would be easy and, in fact, He guaranteed that we would have to make sacrifices. But He also promised that it would be worth it.

A sweet friend of mine sent me a flour sack towel this week that I immediately hung in my kitchen to display. It says, “God gave you this mountain so you can show others that it can be moved.” I truly believe that with every ounce of my being, just as I believe God has called me to write and share my story to hopefully help others get through their own difficult times with their eyes still fixed on the Lord.

So even when it’s hard and even when I just don’t want to, I’ll keep trying to have discipline. I’ll make the choices to prioritize my calling and focus on my long-term, God-given longings, and I’ll do the things I need to do, rather than just the things I want to do. I won’t just do the things that need to be done for my kids or clients or friends and call it a day, but I’ll do the things I’ve been called to do by the Lord and the things that I know I was created for. I will do these things not only to obey the Lord but so that one day, I will be able to echo the words of 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”