Recently one of my closest friends was in a crisis situation – the worst day of her life – and in the midst of the chaos, as she was trying to make hard decisions, she had the wisdom to say, “I need to put on my own oxygen mask first.”
You’ve heard this one MILLION times on the pre-flight safety spiel, and have probably heard it as a metaphor for our spiritual rhythms.
My friend was at a crucial juncture and knew she needed strengthening for what was ahead when family members and others would be needing a lot from her. She knew she couldn’t give what she hadn’t first received.
The other day I was feeling really down and I couldn’t figure out why. I texted a close friend who asked: “Are you tired?”
My first answer was, “No.”
After some reflection I texted, “Well, yes, but I shouldn’t be.”
And then after a little more reflection… “You know…I haven’t been doing a TON, but I realize it’s all been really draining relational stuff. Hmm…”
I realized I was just a little “out of breath”.
Our ability to give good to others comes from the good we first receive from God.
Here’s the thing… I think some of us are putting on masks that pump noxious gas into our systems. We primarily breathe in rants on social media and we absorb raunch and obscenities over TV and movies.
And some of us are putting on masks filled with sleeping gas. We inhale escapist stuff that isn’t real – isn’t pure oxygen, but rather lulls us into false complacency.
But what are the life-giving masks we need to choose?
The love of God is the oxygen we need to do good work in the world. If you want to bring heaven to earth you will need the oxygen the refreshes and renews. Without breathing deeply of His love we are in danger of sucking in and spewing out bitterness, anger, and criticism, especially in these politically contentious days.
This is not an easy deal! Can we help each other?
What does putting on your own oxygen mask first mean for you today?
What are the ways you breathe deeply of life-giving relationships, experiences, and practices?