There’s a misconception that to love oneself, you are not surrendering yourself to God. I read somewhere recently in fact that indicated that loving oneself was wrong, and unbiblical. Selfish, is the word the writer used; stating it takes our eyes off God. That the only way to truly love oneself is to love others without boundaries.
It was on the internet. There were tons of comments. I didn’t rant underneath it. I didn’t unfollow. I agreed to disagree, moved on, and looked in the Bible instead. To what God has revealed to me over a number of months.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39
So the question: How do we truly love our neighbor if we hate ourselves? Shouldn’t we know how immensely God loves us and embrace that first?
Yes. Because I have loved without boundaries, and it has left me feeling useless, unworthy, and forgotten. Totally unloveable. I didn’t know the first thing about love (I talk about that journey here and here), and I took the time to talk to God about it.
Love others as you love yourself. Love yourself. As God has loved you. Know His love, accept His love, and wear it like a crown, so you can show His love to others.
That’s what He revealed to me. And knowing whose you are, and who you are; and loving that is not selfish. Love is God’s tool for us to use to light the world, but never to the point we begin to doubt His love for us. That’s not love. Not healthy love, anyway.
Through that time I also wrote a personal mission statement. A statement to remain in His love, and honor the love He has given me, so I would never question my worth. I am here to tell you: If you don’t know the love of God, you won’t truly know what it means to love others as yourself.
I will embrace forgiveness and grace from my Heavenly Father, and forgive myself for the mistakes I have made. I may walk with a limp, but that limp tells the story of a woman so dependant on her Father for survival, of a woman so blessed. So beautiful. Broken, but made new and whole.
I will not look to this world for approval. I will embrace the fact that I am already approved, set apart, and made great by my Maker.
I can not control the thoughts and actions of others. Only they can.
I cannot fix people. Make them nicer. Make them more respectful. Make their lives better. Only God can.
I will continue to be kind, despite unkindness. Because it’s what Jesus would do.
I will, however, honor myself and my well-being by choosing not to be in the presence any longer of people who treat others with hate. Choosing to pray for changed hearts instead.
I can choose to stay away from toxic people. Those who consistently tear down and suck the life out of me. Realizing my kindness may never make a difference in some cases. Choosing to pray for changed hearts instead.
I can and will put my needs first when it’s necessary. My desire to foster positive and healthy physical, mental and spiritual health is not at all selfish. It’s mandatory.
I can and will set boundaries around my heart. Choosing to let go of people who consistently reject and abuse them.
I will decide not to be defined by the world’s standards of success. Knowing that riches fade, but kind, loving souls and hearts don’t.
I will not lose hope. I will realize that bad things exist. People mistreat people. But there is also good in the world. I will make a point to look for the good.
I will honor who I am in Him through my words, my thoughts, and my actions. Teach others how to treat me, and model to the world what love truly is. Love for God, love of the person He has made me to be, and love for others. Even those that are unloveable.
I will be me. Unapologetically.
It’s not selfish to honor this daily. To practice habits that demonstrate your value and your worth. To care for and love yourself. These steps give us the capacity to love others in ways we never have before. Without any agenda. Without any motive. With only the love of God. That love He so freely has given to us.
Offered to all. Unselfish as He is. Worthy to be celebrated and honored in the person you were made to be! As magnificent as he/she is.
Claim it. Own it. Put your personal “stamp” on your mission to “love yourself” as He loves you!