November 6, 2016

“Love the Lord your God, and love thy neighbor as you love yourself” 

The simplest, most significant and hardest commandment to follow. I feel like I’m always reading about how people need to love each other better, which is true, but how about loving ourselves? Or knowing that we are loved so in return we know how to love ourselves well, which will then lead to loving others well. In the simplest of terms and by definition God is love. You cannot have it apart from God, it doesn’t make sense.

With that being said, how do we go about loving ourselves? What does it look like to whole heartedly love yourself? Let me share a snippet of what I know to be true.

How I Learned to Love Myself

It did not come easy, let me just start off by saying that. It was a long process of asking God why I’m valuable and allowing Him in to show me. Why did you die for me? Would you have still taken the cross if I was the only one you were dying for? 

“Yes”, He said. 

First off, I had to break off every lie I have ever been told about myself or about my dreams. My dreams were shaped by God and then wrapped into a bundle of gold and stored in my heart. They’re so precious. All the little things that make me, me are why Jesus took up the cross. He saw me before I was created, saw me through every detail, set me apart and chose me. If you can believe that to be true about yourself then you’re a step closer. 

Something that incredibly helped was seeing myself as a child. I remember what it was like to be a child, and most of my memories weren’t great but I also remember all the hopes I had for my future. For some reason I always believed I would be happy in the end. Coming back to where I am now, in times with the Lord I asked Him to show me what he sees me as and I’ve been seeing myself as a child. I look at her (myself) as a third party member, as if I’m standing beside God, watching this child play and I can’t in any form hate her. How can you not love an innocent child? 

God calls us to be like children, "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3)”. That’s a bold statement to make, unless you change [repent] and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. It actually sounds a lot easier than it is, many adults act like children nowadays but not in the way Jesus wants us to. 

Children are incredible, no one has to tell them to love themselves, they grow up learning about insecurities and de-valuization from the kind of culture we live in. Luckily, thats not who we are and thats not how God sees us. God calls us into humility, to be like children and have a child-like faith, which again isn't the easiest thing to do for most people. 

There also has to be a constant renewing of the mind, "do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will (romans 12:2)". What we think is what we will become. How many of us get sucked in social media or the habit of thinking negative thoughts about ourselves because there is a constant flow of comparison and people who just aren’t you. Guess what, being you isnt a bad thing, its something to celebrate. Confidence brings out confidence in others, as does love.

Learning to love yourself must come from a place of knowing that you are loved. Knowing that you are loved and accepted by your friends, family and society is different from knowing that you are loved and accepted by God. He loves and accepts each and every one of you. What you have done or are doing has no hinderance on His love for you. "We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)". That’s all there is to it. He must go through Him to see ourselves the way He sees us. 
Know that you are loved and truly seek after how much God loves and accepts you and I promise loving yourself will be a natural response to His love for you. 


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