I heard this thought the other day, and I found it pretty interesting. Things may get serious here for a minute so brace yourself.

We are born with two innate desires within us. The first is to take care of ourselves and to put ourselves first. The second being to exist within a community, to have relationships, to love, and to put others ahead of ourselves. After all “the first will be last and the last will be first.”

Clearly these two desires directly contradict one another. How can we put ourselves first but yet put others first?

There is no denying the fact that both of these desires exist within us. In my conquest to be more like Jesus I could ignore the first desire. I could refuse the fact that it is not within me to want to better myself, and to put myself first. I will do this so that I am “only living for others.” This is an impossible feat. I believe that if one is to ignore the first desire then they are being unfair to themselves and to others. What happens is that the first desire will sneak out when one least expects it, and due to the lack of acknowledgment of this first desire one will have no control over it. It will happen and one will come off as “fake” or hypocritical.

It is clear what happens when the second desire is ignored so moving on….

What needs to happen is a conscience effort needs to be made to acknowledge both desires. We need to take a pro-active approach to finding a way in which these two desires can co-exist. There is no denying one desire or the other, because they both exist. Once one realizes that this, than not only will he find ways in which to take care of their own self, but this will aid one in being better at putting others first. Unless we take care of ourselves we can’t take care of others. And likewise, unless we take care of others we can’t take care of ourselves.

Contradicting ideas that must reach a compromise. You have to find the compromise.



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3 responses to “God

  1. Schmoffly

    Great thought! What I have found out since Madelyn has been born is that when you surround yourself with the right people and always put them first, then they reciprocate that back to you.

    For example, I pick up Madelyn and go home to do chores so that when Caitlin gets back from teaching she can relax and not worry about anything. But by doing the chores, I miss working out and taking care of myself. However, when Caitlin gets home, she is so happy that the chores are done that she kicks me out of the house so I can go work out.

    The reverse happens as well. I come home from a long day at work to see that Caitlin has sacrificed her time to make a fantastic dinner for me, so I kick her out of the house so she can go to Old Navy like she has been wanting to.

    So, because both of us put the other one first, in return we both got to take care of ourselves in the end. I think that is the way it should be.

  2. donnie

    You have it so right Rossie. There has to be a balance. If you ignore your own needs pretty soon it will screw you up. Now to ignore your own wants is a different thingie.
    To ignore other’s needs is what Satan loves.
    What Josh said is the perfect way but can change if the other is selfish, then all you do is give and give but never get.

  3. Raleigh

    This is a good one, Rosso. I agree with you and Dad and Josh (I’m honored to be in this triumvirate of commenters), and particularly something you said in the second paragraph, that we need to “exist within a community.” The community in which Josh and Dad live may look different–we don’t have to stop at the store and pick up tampons or change baby diapers, for instance–but you and I have the same need for love and encouragement as they do.

    We have to find a group of friends–a community–that will love us when we need to be loved, challenge us when we need to be challenged, and listen to us when we need to be listened to. As a natural byproduct, we will love, challenge, and listen to them. Let us strive for this kind of community, not a one that simply makes us laugh or is fun to talk football with.

    This prayer of St. Francis speaks directly at what your blog is about…

    Grant that we may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand;
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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