Give of yourself. Give so much and so often that you’re not sure you can give anymore and then find another way to give. You find yourself when you give of yourself.
There is a point, a line, between giving so much of yourself that you are tired physically and emotionally but in a good way and giving yourself away to the point where you become a slave of giving and lose the will or desire to give. I know this because I have felt both sides of this line.
A few years ago, I became addicted to helping people. Literally addicted. I hardly ate or slept because I needed to make sure I was there in case someone needed something. My grades dropped as I could not study adequately for classes and often arrived late to class or missed it altogether because of what I was doing to myself. My health suffered because I cared so little about myself that I only found worth in helping others. I convinced myself that helping people was a good thing so it didn’t matter that I wasn’t taking care of myself.
The truth is that I wasn’t just giving of myself, I was giving myself away. What is the difference? When you give of yourself, you give your time, your love, your presence. You give because you are so happy that you can’t keep it to yourself. When you give yourself away, you give the same things but out of duty or need. Giving wears you down over time because you do it less out of love and more for love. You give to find purpose instead of out of purpose.
I’m not sure how I got out of that cycle. I am sure it took time and probably feeling somewhat selfish. I’m also not sure how I got to the point where I could give of myself fully and completely without giving myself away.
I believe in giving. I believe in getting lost in service. But I also believe in finding yourself by losing yourself in service. The key is not simply to give, but to give to yourself. When you give to others, you must also give to yourself. You must give yourself compliments for doing good. You must appreciate yourself for the good you do. There may still be days of feeling inadequate or tired of doing so much, but the days of feeling happy to serve and grateful for the good you do outweigh the negative thoughts you may have in your head.
Do good. Give of yourself. Give to yourself. And lose yourself in service to the point where you find yourself.
We have been talking a lot in church lately about how to keep the Sabbath day holy. The recurring theme that I have noticed from these lessons is that the Sabbath is a day of rest from our labor, not simply a day of resting.
At the same time that I’m learning all of this at church, I have been learning about myself and my interactions with others through therapy and self reflection. And I have been changing. I have been getting better at talking to others and allowing myself to be myself.
So now to explain how that all connects. In realizing that I didn’t have to be afraid anymore, I became incredibly busy with all the things I had stopped myself from doing before. I could suddenly message people I would hesitate to “bother” and write letters and make plans and be friendly for no other reason than that I wanted to.
This has been even more incredible on the Sabbath because not only can I do good, I have the time to do so. I don’t have to wait till I get off of work or complete an errand. I can just dedicate my day to doing all of the good that builds up in me over the past week.
It has been an amazing change and I can truly say that the Sabbath is a delight.
How many prayers have gone unanswered because I didn’t stop to take the time to care?
How many chances have I missed to ease someone’s pain because of my own fears?
How many people have hurt longer than necessary or waited in vain or cried too long…
Because I refused to listen to my heart and help when they needed it?
How many people have I not made friends with because I didn’t say hello?
How many people have prayed for relief and found none because I wasn’t there?
How many people have I hurt by doing nothing?
How many people have I let down by staying silent?
How many prayers have I prayed that seemed unanswered because someone else didn’t stop to help?
How many times have I cried with no hope of relief because no one else would be there for me?
Then, stop and be there.
Heart, win over my mind.
See the needs and take action.
Stop letting fear be your guide.
Stop thinking things though.
Stop waiting for someone else to help.
Help people so they have hope.
Help people so their prayers will be answered.
Help people so that one day your prayers may be answered too.
And be the person God made you to be.
Be who you know you are inside.
Don’t be afraid to do good, to be good, and to really live.
When you allow others to serve you, you are being Christ for them.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
Serving is being Christ-like. Receiving service is acting as a representative of Christ to witness to another person’s goodness.
I believe that one day I will stand by Christ’s side when all the people who have helped me come to be judged, and I will witness to them and to Christ of their goodness because of how they served me.
Short Disclaimer: This is a personal belief or thought based on how I understand Matthew 25:40. The purpose of this post is to encourage people to accept help because accepting help is just as important as giving it. If you don't agree with my interpretation, please keep in mind that everyone deserves respect even if they're wrong.
I’ve been pretty depressed lately and just thinking about all the things I want to do but can’t and things I wish I could do better. Anyway, I finally got to the point where I decided that I can either retreat into myself or reach out to others. I have gone through major depression before and I have been suicidal in the past. During those times, I decided to retreat into myself. I didn’t see any hope and I was tired of trying so I just stopped.
This time, I don’t want to do that again. I know that things may never change and I know that things probably aren’t going to get any easier at least for a while, but I think it will be worth it. If I can reach out instead of retreating into myself, maybe it will make a difference- not a difference in the world, but a difference in me.
I have a lot going for me right now. I have a lot to be grateful for. And even though I feel like I need more help than most people around me, if I find ways to help people around me maybe it will help me too. So even though it will be hard, I’m going to try as much as possible to reach out to others and find ways to serve them. And hopefully in the process, I’ll be serving myself better as well.