Save Yourself First
We’re excited to share this guest blog post from Kim McKee, one of our incredible YS Team Training speakers this year. Check out more info about YS Team Training here.
Sometimes I wonder how many people are actually listening to the in-flight instructions given by the flight attendant. I would imagine those who are flying for the first time may be hanging on every word. Then there are some like me, who feel they’ve heard them so often they could take the microphone and complete the spiel. But no matter how many times I’ve heard, “be sure all carry-on items are securely stowed in the overhead bins, “fasten your seatbelt” or “smoking is not allowed,” there’s one reminder that gets my attention every time. It’s the one about the oxygen mask. You’re instructed to put on your mask first before helping others. This statement always grabs me because some airlines also include, “put on your mask first even if you’re traveling with a small child”! As ministry leaders, we can glean a lot of wisdom from this especially if we have at any time espoused the notion of God first, others second and ourselves last.
The Real Deal
The truth is, if we’re always putting the needs of others before our own, at some point we’ll become depleted and ineffective. A habit of putting ourselves last is a sure recipe for burnout! Whereas the other extreme would be total self-centeredness, the key is balance. God’s will is for us to be healthy in every area of our lives. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2). The healthier we are spiritually, physically and emotionally, the better we can serve God and serve others.
The last instruction regarding the oxygen mask is to “breathe normally.” Of course this can be easier said than done, especially in the face of crises when our tendency may be to panic. But no matter what crises we face in our lives and ministries, God wants us to take it one breathe at a time knowing that His grace assures us a safe landing. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). There will always be countless opportunities to do good works. But in doing all we can to help save the world, we must always remember to save ourselves first!
Kim McKee is a trainer for Youth Specialties, served for 16 years as a youth pastor and is currently the Women’s Ministry Director at Jubilee Christian Center in Antioch, CA. She is a graduate of the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative and founding board member of S.H.O.U.T (Serving Him One United Together) Houston, a learning community for emerging youth leaders.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.