There are people in my life that I struggle with. In fact, I don’t feel a lot of love for them.
This bothers me because we are called to love. I don’t want to be anything less than Jesus desires, and He adores everyone.
Sometimes, I feel like there are two sets of tracks and I’ve jumped to the loveless ones. I want to get back to the other set of rails—–the ones where love flows through you and infects everyone around you, but I can’t always get there.
In talking with my sister-in-law, she brought up the point that we have to love ourselves in order to love others.
We know the verse well, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Much of the time we obey that verse in the wrong direction. We don’t like ourselves and we don’t like others.
As I pondered what loving myself looked like, God asked me, “What do you like about yourself?”
What do I like about myself? It seemed a rather un-Godlike question. Aren’t we supposed to downplay our abilities, be humble, and point a finger skyward whenever someone praises one of our accomplishments?
I wonder if the verse that admonishes us not to think too highly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3) gets twisted into a false humility, where we can’t think positively of ourselves at all.
Perhaps it’s become “spiritual” to put ourselves down, to act as if we have no gifts, and that God just worked everything out through these weak vessels.
But if God thinks we rock, then why don’t we?
I’m talking about being real, not boastful (since He gets the glory for giving us all our giftings and abilities).
So when He asked me what I liked about myself, I started thinking. What did I like about myself?
I love my sense of humor. I love that I can laugh at the absurd, even when my family is staring like I’ve lost it (though I can’t be the only one advertisers spend millions of dollars to entertain—–so I know there are others out there with my warped take on life).
I love that I can confront difficult situations and speak truth into them. That thought actually surprised me a bit. I’ve viewed myself as hating conflict and confrontation. But as I thought it through, I realized I don’t back away from difficult situations. Sometimes I find myself running to them.
As a recovering perfectionist, I tend to focus on areas that need improvement. The rough edges that need polishing. The broken parts that need an overhaul.
But listing out the positive traits took the magnifying glass off my brokenness and let me see the areas that are running beautifully.
It helped me be grateful to be me.
So if we start seeing ourselves differently, what will that do for our view of others? Criticalness and judgments will disappear, and love and acceptance for others will grow.
Father God, give me eyes to see myself as You do. Through the blood of Jesus to fullness of love and acceptance. Let me fall as deeply in love with myself as You are. Break off the areas of sin in my life that cloud and pollute and keep me from being fully the me You designed me to be. And help me to see others through the same eyes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photos via Pixabay