I missed blogging so much! It always seems to be the thing God pulls me back to. It can be a little intimidating sometimes because sharing the lessons I learn is a vulnerable place. It gives a glimpse into the mental tests I face but my reason for sharing is to encourage and empower anyone who may be fighting similar battles. I know what it’s like to battle your thoughts every day all day and it’s exhausting. I never ever want to seem like I have it all together because I don’t. I see these posts as letters to myself because I need these words and reminders just as much as anyone else. I hope my tone comes off that way and I pray this post is all the encouragement you need right now.
“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In every book of the bible there is a command to love others – to be compassionate and self sacrificing, but I think as women we often forget the, “as yourself” part of the command. We do for those around us because we love them. We give selflessly to our children because we love them and God trusted them in our care. We love God and are doing our absolute best but there still seems to be a disconnect… at least for me there is.
That’s because the way we love others should be a reflection of how we love ourselves but I can’t say I was loving myself all that well. Love your neighbor AS yourself. As if it were you. But how are you loving you? How does God desire for us to love ourselves without being consumed with self?
“Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Are you kind to yourself? Patient? Are your thoughts self-depreciating? Do you keep a running tab of your failures? Have you lost faith and hope in who you are? Do you know the truth about how much God loves you?
Ultimately what I’ve learned is that our love for ourselves, and therefore our love for others, should resemble God’s love for us. God’s love is never ceasing – it’s in his discipline and correction of us, it’s in the way he protects and preserves our spirit by denying our access to certain things, it’s in the way he created us, the way he values our differences, and in the way he views us as a carefully constructed masterpiece intended for his glory. You love yourself by viewing you the way God views you.
This becomes difficult when we consider all the various forms of media that show us how to hate ourselves and nitpick our flaws; or to constantly belittle ourselves through comparison with others. But that was not God’s intention and we have to unlearn the bad habits we picked up along the way.
Here are five ways to love yourself everyday:
- Meditate on how much God loves you (John 3:16). God gave his son as a sacrifice for our salvation. Would he have done that if he did not believe you were valuable to him? Worthy and full of promise to glorify him on this earth? He sought after you and spoke to you while you were in darkness. He gave you holy spirit as a guide so that you would always feel his presence. God has thought of everything you would need on this earth because he loves and values you as his creation. Accept this love everyday.
- Rejoice in how you were created (Psalm 139:13-17). Celebrate your difference! Your features, your creativity, your interests, your style. Cultivate and refine the gifts God gave you because he created you with those things in mind.
- Agree to his plans for you (Hebrews 11:6). Don’t stress yourself out trying to find your own way out here. Or trying to open doors that he’s clearly closed for your protection. Align with his will, seek his kingdom, and rest knowing that he establishes the work of our hands and shows favor to those who are aligned with him.
- Protect your light through discipline (Hebrews 12). Discipline protects us from the things we think we want but that we know we don’t need. Loving yourself means preserving God’s light in you. Protect your spirit and your light by denying access to things that bring harm to you. You can’t be in every space, with everybody – especially if its detrimental to the growth you’ve experienced. Protect the vessels that feed your thoughts.
- Grace yourself (Philippians 3:12-14). Don’t beat yourself up. There’s enough of that happening in the world around you. Forgive yourself and accept that God loves and forgives you daily. Don’t walk around with burdens that aren’t meant for you to carry into the next minute, hour, or day. Let it go.
I appreciate these things because they’re constant truths that will never change and that are always accessible. Yes, loving on yourself through self-care is super important to your well being but when you can’t set aside the time for those things, God’s word is always there to reveal who he is and who you are in him.
Love is intentional and proven in the way we live and how we treat others but especially in how we treat ourselves. Be intentional about the love you have for you and it will be so much easier to love your neighbor in the ways we were called to.