UPDATE: Linking with Purposeful Faith today, January 13, 2015.
It’s Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, right? Sometimes.
Sometimes it’s not always floating around so beautifully, and sometimes the “love-hate” relationship can be directed, with precision, at ourselves. We simply don’t know how to love ourselves (as one Jesus died for and as a Creation of our Father).
This thought hit home recently. We had had a rough day at the house, the kind where you feel like you’re trying to corral cats and it’s not going very well. Even though we hadn’t had a day like it in quite some time, the kids were off the wall, I was off the wall, and the two mixed like oil and water that particular day. It was rough to say the least.
My sweet hubby knew the going had been rough, so the next morning he slipped a loving note into one of my clothing drawers then headed off to the base for a full day’s work. When I opened the drawer, there it laid, the handwritten note with words of encouragement scribbled in hubby-fashion.
“Have a wonderful day with the kids.
Love on them. Love on yourself.”
That last sentence stuck out, especially the words love yourself. (I know, “on” was initially in there, but it gently disappeared in the midst of the lesson.) The spiritual gong sounded, and my eyes headed up to God as I uttered, “Lord, You’re telling me I don’t know how to love myself, aren’t You?”
My mind subsequently went to Mark 12:31 as I connected the dots. In order to truly love others, it was becoming evident that learning to love myself was paramount. Yikes, that was something to get a hold of, especially since it was hidden in my heart and I had no clue it was there.
…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:31 AMP
“So God, You’re telling me that in order to truly love others, I need to get a handle on loving myself?”
It was insightful and mind boggling at the same time. How could I go ALL THESE YEARS, 42+, never truly realizing I held a grudge of sorts against myself? Yowza!
The evidence was there in plain sight:
* Looking in the mirror and seeing what was wrong versus celebrating God’s creation….me!
(Gen. 1:31 & Phil. 4:8. Oftentimes there would be an eye roll as I glared in the looking glass or an,
“Ugh!” emitted as I looked at myself.)
* Throwing out “I can’t!” way too often versus “I can do all things through Christ.” (Phil. 4:13)
* Seeing myself as the “tail” instead of the “head.” (Deut. 28:13)
* Forgetting He created a masterpiece in me versus a used and tattered piece of old paper that could
easily be wadded up and thrown into the garbage pail. (Eph. 2:10 NLT)
* Seeing something ugly versus beautiful. (Song of Solomon 1:15)
Now that the Lord had my attention, it was time to dive into understanding. It was time to see me as a work of God’s very own hand and precious in His sight. It was time to see me as beautiful, precisely the way the Lord sees me every day. After all, He loved me (and you) so much that Jesus gave His very life so we’d no longer be separated from God. Certainly we are worth something grand in His eyes. It’s time to love that “something” with the deep understanding He gives, not with the grudge our own striving and thoughts of “you’re not good enough”allow.
If you were to look in the mirror right now, what would you see? What would your reaction be? Would you love what you see or would you see something less than? Look not in a prideful, selfish, or vain way, look not necessarily at that which is seen on the outside. Instead look with a sense of awe, taking in every ounce of His handiwork. Look at the heart and the work the Lord has done there. Look with praise (for Him) in your eyes at the creation, you, that the Lord has made. Indeed, it is beautiful and it is good because He made it. Indeed His work, you, is so loved that He sent Jesus to die for it. Now that’s a Valentine’s gift!
Do you love yourself? It’s key to accept and love yourself as God’s creation, bringing praise to the Lord, before we can truly love others. We have to know how to love ourselves first. Ask God for eyes that see. Ask Him to show you your own heart in this situation. He will show you, He is faithful.
I love You and Your creation. Teach me to love my neighbor as myself. Teach me to simply love me.
In Jesus’ name,
Happy Valentine’s Day my sweet friends. Enjoy all the love the Lord has available to pour out on you on this special day as well as the other 364/365 in this year.