Invest in Yourself First
We’ve all been there! While leading teams, organizations, families or churches we start feeling as though we have nothing left to give. Some describe this as being “overdrawn” in our relationships and spiritual life! The problem is not that we have given too much of our ourselves. The problem is we do not “invest” enough in ourselves to counteract the “withdrawals” life makes on us.
All areas of our health benefit by consistent, sustainable and sacrificial investments made over a long period of time. Every healthy endeavor requires a commitment to long-term investing that gains over time and is able to absorb the withdrawals of life.
Here are Eight Ways We Can Invest in Ourselves:
Our Spiritual Health. Some seasons of life are more demanding than others. The temptation during these seasons is to abandon our spiritual disciplines “just until I get through _________.” This is risky thinking. First, when you do get through this obstacle, very likely there will be another demanding your attention. Secondly, neglecting our spiritual disciplines will deprive us of the very wisdom, maturity, and Godly perspective that are MORE crucial during these seasons. The times it is most tempting to neglect these disciplines are the times we need them most.
Our Family. No one will care more for your family than you do. No one needs you like your family does. You will never have your family in this season of life again. You have a lot of shots at your career or your dream, but only one shot at your family. If you sacrifice your family trying to please others, you will often find the very people you sought to please will be the first to reject you for neglecting your family.
Life-giving relationships outside of church. Your church friends should be deep friendships, but they should not be your only friendships. Intentionally make time for people who don’t know Christ and simply love and enjoy them.
Self-Development. Your doctor is not in charge of your health. Your boss is not in charge of your career. Your teacher is not in charge of your education. Always be learning, exploring and striving in new ways. Don’t wait or rely on someone else to do for you what only you can do for yourself.
Diverse friendships. The most interesting people in my life are people who did not grow up WHERE I did, WHEN I did and HOW I did.
Rest. I am convinced that one of the biggest sins (yes, I used that word) of our generation is our inability to experience sabbath. We are working and recreating ourselves to death. If we drag ourselves from one activity to another, we will lack the energy and time to worship, enjoy and reflect on that which is of the highest importance. Just as a smartphone is useless with little or no battery life, so you and I are ineffective unless we SCHEDULE time to recharge. This is not wasted time! You’ve heard it said, “You cut more wood with a sharpened saw.”
Getting Out of Dodge. I love my city. However, the older I get, the more I intentionally try to get out of my city and spend time in other parts of the country/globe. We don’t ever really understand our own culture until we spend time in other cultures. If you want to understand people in your neighborhood, look at them from around the globe.
Surround Yourself with People that are Growing. I’ve read we are the average of the five most influential people in our lives. If you want to be smarter, surround yourself with smarter people. If you want to be more optimistic, surround yourself with optimistic people. If you want to be more________, surround yourself with people that are_________. One of the best things you can do for all people in your life is to make time for the handful of people that actually give you life.
What are your self-investment strategies? How do you invest in yourself?