There is this football player named Terrell Owens. If you were to ask him about himself he would have many words to say. One of his most favorite quotes is “I love me some me!” Now we can chalk that up to hubris and pride or whatever you want to call it. But as Christian men how do we straddle that line of loving ourselves too much and loving ourselves in a healthy way.
In most families and cultures in America, the man has to be the strong one in the family. When I first became a dad no one told me that when there is a wasp in the bedroom, I was going to be the one to have to go in and kill it. I didn’t sign up for that. Because of this, men feel the need to put on a persona of being tough, emotionally bulletproof.
This leads to a lot of men not taking care of themselves. Not venting when they need to. Not being emotional when they need to. “Suck it up buttercup, be a man, and put your big boy pants on,” is what others love to tell us.
What we need are men who care about themselves as much as Gmail cares about new devices signing into your account. If you have a Gmail account you know exactly what I mean. You have to take a look at the man in the mirror and encourage yourself. You have to speak to yourself and tell yourself, “I got this” or “I need help”, or “God, how can I lead my family today?”
When you are on an airplane, and they are giving you the presentation before take off, they always tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on a child. The reason is you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of another person.
How are you going to provide if you are working 60 hours a week, with no exercise and no downtime? No one on their death bed says, “Man I wish I had worked 10 more hours a week at my job.” No the first thing they think is, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” Don’t wait until you are there, you need to take care of yourself now.
But you don’t understand if I don’t work and do all of these things my family will suffer. Well, let’s see what God has to say about that. In Matthew 6: 26-34 says that birds don’t worry about that presentation tomorrow, and God thinks so much more of you that he does birds. Oh, ye of little faith. Maybe it’s a control issue. We need to be in control so much and God does not work on our timeline so we figure maybe we can just help him out a little bit, right? I have been myself for 38 years so I am an expert on me so if God needs to know what to do with me he should consult….me!
My own worst enemy?
It’s not the enemy that is attacking, it is the inner-me. I am my own worse enemy. Once I remove “self” out of it and give it over to God things get so much better. When I engage in healthy self-care I make myself more likely to love my wife correctly. To raise my children in a loving, healthy upbringing. My friends and church members will benefit if I am walking in the will of God. Self-care is not selfish. Loving yourself more than God is selfish and that is where the line is.
Self-evaluation is also key. You have to take an honest assessment of who you are. You do that by getting many viewpoints from people who you trust in your life. Ask your wife, your kids, your close bible-believing friends. Take assessments online if you have to. Once you get a good view of who you are, then start working on your weaknesses and highlight your strengths. The most successful people constantly work on improving themselves. Being a Christian is no different.
Tonight ask God to show you who he wants you to be. Ask God for direction and his will for your life. And the next step is the most important part. After you ask him, then you have to (and I cannot stress this enough) do what he says. It might be uncomfortable, it will pull you out of your comfort zone. But if you do you will be able to look at that man in the mirror and give yourself the finger pistols, smile and know you are on your way to being who God needs you to be for your family. So love yourself, not the Terrell Owens version of loving yourself. Love yourself unselfishly in a way that helps others around you. You can do it. I believe in you.
Prescott Williamson is a Bible-believing Christian. He is a husband, a father, and someone who believes that there is a little humor to be found in whatever situation God sends your way. He was born in the small islands of the Bahamas but now lives in the Suburbs of Fort Worth Texas, which is basically the same thing. He enjoys TV, reading, blogging and serving in his church (especially on the days they serve donuts). You can see what I have been thinking about lately on my blog www.prescottascoolbreeze.com.