One morning, a couple of weeks ago, during the hustle and bustle of getting my family ready for work and school and out the door, I caught a snippet of a podcast about how to love your neighbor well. While scrambling eggs for my family's breakfast, I heard the woman say a profound statement, "Loving your neighbor well doesn't have to be difficult because all we have to do is love the person in front of us well."
I pondered the idea the rest of the morning, thinking about the people God placed in my life, my family, the women and men in my classes, and the other parents on the sidelines watching our sons play soccer. I envisioned myself engaging with my family instead of being distracted by my to-do list and listening and focusing on conversations with those who needed to share, those who needed to be seen, to be heard, and those who needed love.
While I made a laundry list of how I could love those in front of me well, I looked up and caught my reflection in the mirror. As I gazed at myself, the same question came to mind, was I loving myself well? Was I making a point to spend time with God and read the Bible? Was I fueling myself with whole foods and caring for my body? Was I speaking the truth to my family because I felt burdened and needed help around the house? Was I doing things that inspired imagination, like reading and writing, or had I been zoning out by streaming shows? As tears bit my eyes, I realized the answer was "No"; I hadn't loved myself well. I was going through the motions; I was doing and doing and not doing anything well—especially loving others.
Aubree came home from Kindergarten the other day and told me about an analogy she had learned about buckets. She explained in her 5-year-old way that to fill another person's bucket, you had to be kind to others. Her statement made me think, but what if a person's bucket is empty? You can't give love and kindness from an empty bucket. I couldn't love my neighbor well because I had nothing to give. So, I made the necessary changes to fill my bucket up.
I think sometimes we need to ask our reflections if we are caring for our fundamental needs and asking our loved ones for help when we feel burdened so when we ask ourselves am I loving myself well so I can love others well? The answer will be, "Yes!"