We spend a lot of time at church learning to: 1) love God and 2) love others.
These are very important, but yesterday at church, I recently heard a message about loving yourself – being loved. As cliched as it is, I don’t often hear it in the church, and so it resonated with me. There is so much self-hatred in this world: low self-esteem causes us to think we’re useless and worthless, physical and mental illness can cause us to think we’re broken or “crazy,” our flaws and what other people say about us, when taken to heart, hurts us and makes us feel unloved, and our past sins put us to shame.
Ephesians 1:4-6 says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Too often, we let hurt from this world to close our hearts and hide from God. But really, God sent us his own beloved so that we could truly be loved. So instead of closing ourselves off from Him, we need to allow ourselves to just be loved by Him. Being unconditionally loved frees us from the hurtful words of others; it lets us remember that God is good; it takes away our shame and our fear. And inadvertently, if we let ourselves be loved, we are then put in the best place to love God [He first loved us] and then love others like He has called us to do.
My prayer today is to love myself and to allow myself to be loved. It is to change my mind’s subconscious understanding of love from that given as a reward to that given freely and unconditionally. It is to better appreciate the depth and height and length and width of God’s love for me. And it is to be so consumed by this love that I allow it to spill over into the lives of those around me.