Did you make the list?

I love my tea in the morning. There’s nothing quite like a nice, warm, cozy cup of black tea with a touch of creamer in it when I first wake up. Sometimes it feels like torture waiting for the water to boil and the tea to steep so I can drink it.

It’s soothing. It’s comforting. It’s like a warm hug. And when my mug is empty…well….it’s a bit sad. The only way for me to have any more tea in my mug is if I fill it back up again, which I do several times a day.  🙂

One of my goals for 2016 is to keep myself on my priority list. And not just on it but at the top of it. It’s a great goal (I make it every year, by the way) but it doesn’t always happen.

Exercise. Stay organized. Make time for fun. Find time to rest. Read a book. Write. These are the things I do just for me…..when I’m on my list, that is.

I go in spurts. I draw healthy boundaries around my time for a while, but then……I don’t. I let other things slip up where I’m supposed to be. My husband and kids and work and ministry and, and, and…….and before I know it, I fall off my list. I’m not on it at all. And all the things I do just for me…the things that energize and refresh me….are just a fond remembrance.

There are lots of reasons we fall off our list. Poor time management. Over committed. Guilt. That’s probably the biggest one. Guilt. We feel guilty and selfish for thinking of ourselves first.

But here’s the thing: You can’t pour anything out of an empty cup.

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”[(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-40)

Jesus said to come and drink before He said rivers would flow out. Why? Because nothing can flow out if you don’t put anything in.

It’s not selfish to put yourself at the top of your priority list. It’s not selfish to make sure you have time to read your Bible and pray. It’s not selfish to exercise or rest or even read a book if that’s what refreshes you.

In case you didn’t hear me…..it’s not selfish. It’s necessary. It’s life-giving and life-sustaining. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll have nothing at all to give……just like I can’t drink any tea once my cup is empty in the morning until I fill it back up.

Throw away the guilt of being on your priority list. You can’t pour anything out of an empty cup. You’ll be much more effective and happy and fun to be around – and ultimately you’ll be able to do more for others – if you put yourself on your list and keep yourself there.

Go ahead. I give you permission (and myself too). Make yourself a priority. Put yourself at the top of your list. Fill your cup all the way to the tippy top. You’ll be a better you if you do.

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