Self-Love

It really messed me up in a good way the other day when I heard that some people try to outsource self-love. Desperately. Holding everyone else accountable for loving them, but not holding themselves accountable for self-love. That hit deep.

The more I think about it, the more important I think it is to prioritize taking care of your business. I mean one of the greatest commandments is love your neighbor as you love yourself. The order of the words seems to kinda put the neighbor first. But really, loving yourself is the first action.

If I treat myself like crap, then it’s no wonder that I will not treat others well. If I don’t value myself, how can I really value another? If I put myself down and don’t have patience with myself, how long can I really be patient with another?

Think of it like a gas tank. Even if I give away everything I have to others in the name of love, eventually I’ll run out. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t even know it until I hit empty. I have been recovering ever since.

Cheerful giver. Giving from a place of abundance. Not putting myself in a place of poverty just to lift another up – like I used to do before. Does God give from a place of abundance or a place of lack?

I think in general the problem is learned helplessness. If you were never encouraged or were even actively discouraged from loving yourself, and you had to survive on the crumbs of affection that were given to you by others, or crumbs you had to earn through performance – then is it no wonder that it never even occurs to you that you have the ability to love yourself period – much less when others don’t.

How and where do you start when you’ve never done a thing before? I am learning to start wherever the pain rears up. You get that moment of looking outside of yourself. Upset about someone not being there for you in some way. Or unhappy with yourself. And you start there. Acknowledge the disappointment. But then ask yourself what YOU want to do about it. Keep crying and complaining about it for how long? You can do that. Or you can make changes. Little by little.

I’ve seen people sit and wait for decades. Sitting in rooms, distracting themselves with various forms of mind-numbing entertainment. Stewing in resentment. In my experience, these are some of the ugliest people. So desperate for control that they push everyone away. Ungrateful. And unwilling to do much of anything, especially if it will require long periods of discomfort, to change their situation.

Do you want to be well? Get up and walk.

Of course it won’t feel that easy. Any muscle that has been atrophied for so long will take a lot of work to get into any shape. But would you rather the alternative?

You can do it.

I asked God for a vision today. For new vision for the future since what I thought would happen crashed dramatically to the ground. No putting the spilled milk back where it came from. Gone. Finished. Unless God performs a miracle; which may not even be best.

I felt like God said to me that there is no grand vision. There is no master plan. There is no perfect path. That this is all about relationship and healing. That I am a co-creator of sorts. That Trinity will work with whatever I give God. So I get to choose.

Which brings up a whole huge litany of thoughts you don’t consider when you are simply looking at rules and figuring out boundaries. Let’s start with: why? Why will I choose what I choose? What am I aiming for? Temporarily pacifying myself? No condemnation, but what if there was more?

This is where it requires less work to sit back and ask for less freedom. To go back to Egypt. What we’ve always known. Just to ease the anxiety of not knowing. Just to have a sense of security. Even if they are bars in a prison cell.

What will you do? What if you can’t mess up so much because very little of what you think is this life matters once you are on the other side? Once this human experience is over? I’m reminded yet again that the only one who was corrected was the one who did nothing out of fear. The others planted seeds and were tangibly rewarded.

Maybe

Maybe people need less Bible and more Jesus. Maybe they need less sermons from preachers and more Jesus. Less commentaries and more Spirit.

Do you worship the Bible or do you worship God?

Are your eyes on the Bible or are your eyes on Jesus?

“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Are your eyes on the invitation? Studying it? Pouring over it? Instead of actually going to the party?

I know you mean well, but you don’t trust. You seek control because of fear. Because of how we misrepresent God to each other constantly. Because all they ever told us was that we were orphans.

Not willing to risk any mystery. Only what your eyes can see.

Yet you intellectually agree that Their ways are higher than our ways. There thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

But then also, “No, Jesus – You must get back into the little tiny box I made for You.”

Jesus is the Word, the final Word of God. Spirit teaches, but Jesus judged us worthy, Loved, valuable, beautiful, important. There is no flaw in you?

What if Jesus came to show us that we don’t have anything to be afraid of? To show us what is also possible for us? That we have an Abba versus a Zeus. That we always had a home and an inexhaustable inheritance that we have sadly almost not even touched. When the world is CRYING out for us to step into all that even we want to be. That our hearts still yearn for. If we were not so intimidated by fear.

Who is bigger? Your failures or your God?

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

It has always been about relationship versus rules. We are the ones who insist on not believing that. Who insist on a transactional existence. But in the geniusness of God, Trinity said, “Ok, We’ll meet you even there.” So Jesus came down and fulfilled OUR demands. “How many sins have you committed against each other? What is the punishment you demand? Pour it all out on Me. See, I AM still here. I AM not mad. Now that that is off the table, we can move on. We can step into all you can be and do. If you want to.”

What if the past is to show us what is possible for us? Not that the whole of existence is just to get really good at understanding Moses or Abraham’s walk. But no, that those same experiences are here RIGHT NOW for us! And even more! Because we know more, so we are able to know better.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER works than these he will do.”

I don’t know about you, but that bothers me. That Jesus said we will do greater works. If that is true, I want all of it! For all of us! What a fantastically better world that would be! And can be. Is possible even right now. If we just believe. Even enough to say that we don’t believe. To tell God that we don’t see it.

That’s the entire point. Start by being honest. Start by asking what you want to ask. Even in anger and frustration. You are of course already fully known. And I confidently believe, also fully Loved.

This is about you. Your life. God showing up for you! At least as much as Trinity did 2,000+ years ago for those men and women who were just like us. We make them big names now, but back then they were just regular people. On purpose. To show us that God is still more than available for regular people like you and me.

I challenge you. To choose Life. Even in unbelief. Even in fear. Just experiment. Act as if. And see where God catches you. See where God shows up for you – personally. Not in some story 2,000 years ago. But now, today – for you! I promise you that when it happens, you won’t ever want to go back. You’ll never settle again. You’ll finally understand for yourself like no book could ever tell you. That this is not now and never was about how small we are. That this is and always has been about how great Trinity’s boundless Love for us will forever be!

Amen?