I remember the days of rising early, getting kids off to school, working, going to school myself, taking kids to and from rehearsals and games, or figuring out whose turn it was to use the car, and crawling into bed so tired that I was asleep before my husband crawled in beside me after the 11 PM news. It was hard to find time, as husband and wife, to be lovers. To find time to be ME.
Jesus taught us that this is the Greatest Commandment: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." ( Luke 10: 25-27). Loving God, taking time to worship Him, is our life's priority, because He loves us and He made us to love and glorify Him and at death to return to Him.
But - we can't love our neighbors well unless and until we love ourselves well. We need to take care of our own spiritual, physical, and emotional health so that we have the spiritual, physical, and emotional energy and health to take care of others. Jesus says elsewhere (Matt. 5:37) "Say 'yes' when you mean 'yes' and say 'no' when you mean 'no.'" We have to think through our decisions and be honest with ourselves about what we can and cannot do, say and should not say to others.
Yet, Jesus also says "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24-26). Whenever we truly love, our perspective shifts and the needs of the other become more important than our own. We instinctively know that immature selfishness and self-absorption are the enemies of true love.
So - does Jesus contradict himself? No. Life is complex. This is where discernment comes in, which is honestly looking at the reality of a situation from all sides before making a decision about whose needs are the priority NOW. Sometimes a decision has to be made in an instant. Pray in that instant! Sometimes we have time to think and pray. God is Truth. God teaches us how to love "in the moment." I pray "Come Holy Spirit and enlighten us and with Your grace strengthen us."
The more we love God, the more we love ourselves. The more we love ourselves, the more we love our neighbor. The more we love our neighbor, the more we love God...