[Note: We are learning how to really live together. This isn't an instruction guide. The posts in this series are my open journal. Please include your thoughts in the comments. Let's find out together how to really live!]
It’s probably not a surprise that when you talk about How to Really Live, God gives you ample opportunity.
Only I have been: surprised. I didn’t know I would receive a call right after writing this post from a (very) distant relative who needs to be really loved.
And I didn’t know that in the days leading up to writing about how to really love yourself, I wouldn’t: love myself.
Truly, I am more the student than the teacher. I am in the classroom of life, sitting in the back, squinting to find the answer.
How do I really love myself? How do I love the me that just yesterday crawled into her oldest child’s bed, thankful to find her awake, reading, and burrowed my face into her sleeve and cried, asking forgiveness for harsh words?
I know myself well. I present a picture to you, the world, even my family. I try to be the same person, but I know me. I know the thoughts I have, the jealousy, the anger, the selfishness that I stuff down.
(I don’t love that this is the only picture of me at my in-laws farm over the holidays)
In learning how to really love myself, I’m learning that God wants me to love myself. It’s not vanity or self-centeredness. I was created in His image. We were divinely created to glorify Him. He doesn’t stop loving us when our jeans stop fitting. He doesn’t withdraw his affection when we’re stingy with ours.
He loves you.
He wants you to love yourself.
How do you (we) really love ourselves?
Forgive yourself-do it. Forgive. You. Give yourself permission to let it go. Hand it over to Him. You can’t expect others to forgive you if you can’t forgive yourself. And I’ve learned that this is on-going.
Accept yourself-stop trying to change what isn’t supposed to change. I’m all for self-transformation…becoming more like Him. But often we try to transform ourselves into someone else. This isn’t God’s plan. Accept who He made you to be. He gave you that nose, the tall frame, the funky thumb (okay, that’s mine). Change what needs to be changed (mostly inward) and accept the rest. Once we accept Him, we are transformed into a new creation.
Nurture yourself- you need community. You need friends and family. You need God’s Word, time with Him. You need worship and sustenance. Don’t starve yourself. You need to feed yourself well-physically and spiritually.
How do you really love yourself?