Put yourself first! I know, I know. You’re probably thinking wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. But hear me out. How many times have you suggested someone go before you? I’m not talking about the generous, thoughtful, being kind to others suggestion. I’m talking about the I’m not so sure about this, I’m a little nervous, I’d rather see you do it first suggestion.
I think about the power we hold in going first. Showing others it okay. It’s safe. Maybe we are even a little uncertain ourself. A few years ago at a public swimming pool I often take my kids to, my daughter decided she wanted to jump off the diving board. To be honest I never really even got in the pool to swim. I would just sit in the lounge chairs to myself trying not to draw too much attention, often in a swimsuit cover up. I love watching my kids swim and enjoy themselves and soak up every fun moment of summertime. This was actually one of my favorite things to do as a kid. I could swim all day long and you bet I would be jumping off the diving board! But now it was more just sitting back and watching. But today my daughter wanted to jump off that diving board.
That’s when the question came.
"Mama, will you jump first?"
get out of my cover up, walk in front of all these people, stand in line and walk across that diving board and jump off with everyone watching? After a really long pause I said SURE! Not because I was excited and thrilled that she would ask me to do this but because I knew it would reassure her that if I could do it and be okay maybe she would be too. So there I went.. out of my comfort zone putting myself first to put her first. I felt a little uncomfortable and insecure but my focus was her.
These are humbling moments in life. True humility is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. We are called to be humble because there is power in that. It doesn’t mean we sit back, be passive in life, never drawing attention to ourselves but rather putting others before ourselves. We never know how much encouragement and hope we can bring someone by doing this and how many are watching and waiting to see how we handle uncertain situations in life. It may just be exactly what someone needs. I’m so glad I got out of my comfort zone and jumped off that diving board. In fact it was so much fun I did it several times. And to see my daughter go after me and feel so brave was totally worth it. Something great happens when we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on others. Not only do we encourage them, we might end up encouraging ourselves as well. We begin to grow in new ways and our hearts naturally change. Others begin to see themselves in a new way and we also see ourselves in a new way. The world we live in tells us the key to happiness is self love, self care, self..self..self. But really it’s when we set ourselves aside no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient that may be and ask God to give us the strength, confidence, and ability we need to put others first.
That’s what brings the real true joy that we are desperately seeking.
That’s what fills our heart. So go ahead, go first.