Friday, 28 March 2014

Give a Little Love

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

On most mornings the first person I interact with is Jillian Michaels. No, she doesn’t physically drop by my house and start yelling at me to keep going in my workouts (although this might be helpful). I voluntarily drop her exercise routine into my DVD player and endure thirty or so minutes of her fitness expertise. At the end of the workout, I typically rush through the cool down and stop the video before she can get into her little motivational speech that she gives as you stretch out those quads. But yesterday, I did something different, I sat cross legged with her and listened to her talk about how we are so good to others and yet don’t take the time to be proud of ourselves, to recognize our accomplishments, to pat ourselves on the back.

Based on my typical hast in quickly turning off the DVD and rushing to the next thing that the morning will bring, it seems that she is right.

Throughout the gospels we are called to love others, in fact, Jesus specifically calls us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Of all of the various commandments, ways of living, and things we are called to do, he deems this the greatest along with loving God with everything we have.

It seems that the topic of the self is running rampant in studies, media, and thoughts about our generation. There is a focus on self-esteem, self-worth, and narcissism. There is a fear that the focus of self will lead to a selfish generation, a ‘me’ mentality, and an inability to serve others well.

This is not the type of self-love I’m advocating for.

As sin has overwhelmed all of humanity, there is a deep-rooted need for redemption, a redemption that is found through the death and resurrection of Christ. It is in our brokenness that God brings wholeness. It is in our doubts that God brings faith. It is in our inability that God brings his miraculous grace.

It is in humility that God enables us to see how he sees us, allowing us to love ourselves well.

It is about reclaiming the love of self in its proper form so that we are able to love others deeply and sustainably. We will only be able to serve well if we love and are confident in the strengths that we have. It is not about being egoistic but rather taking the time to fill ourselves so that we can pour out to others.

God is not simply calling us to love others; he is calling us to love ourselves.

For many of us, we love others in spite of our lack of love for ourselves. In one breath we tell others how much we love who they are while in the other we are pulling ourselves apart. We jump to consol a friend who is stressed, telling them to take a rest and yet we push ourselves to keep going at an uncontrollable rate. We lavish compliments on a friend and yet never give ourselves credit for going the extra mile.

The difficulty in this calling is that many of us love others but fail to love ourselves, leaving a shallow, perishable love that causes us to feel worn down, empty, and frustrated.

So how do we love ourselves without falling into the trap of pride, self-centeredness, and narcissism? We need to have a pointed reason for our love. We love ourselves so that we can love others well. We love others because God first loved us.

So take a moment, be good to yourself; reflect on your strengths and the ways that you are gifted. Think about what energizes you, what makes you flourish and then take the time to participate in these things. Perhaps, for some of us, we need to reclaim how we love ourselves so that we can love others in the deepest and richest way possible.

Go ahead, give a little love to yourself, but don't stop there... 

Give a little to yourself, so you can give a little more to others. 

3 comments:

  1. Favourite post so far.. something I needed to hear. Thanks Emma!

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  2. Ended up here on the internet and curious to what this blog was. Once I read this it made me feel at peace with my self. Reopened my eyes to something that was already there. Which was forgotten under the pressure of my own life and others. Glad I read this. Thanks.:)

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    1. Glad to hear that this could impact you in some way...thanks for stopping by!

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