As a Christian, what has been the hardest thing for me to do?
It hasn’t been *not* murdering though catch me without coffee and maybe I’d give you a different answer. Also, there was that one time I was convinced to chaperone a 40-Hour Famine youth group event and I’m certain I had numerous murderous thoughts. I also spent the next 24-hours in bed sick as a dog. Never again!
It hasn’t been serving. If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you’d know that I served with such zeal and enthusiasm that I find myself in severe and utter burnout.
While others might hold tightly to money or things I’m quick to give. I’m also quick to speak life when people are down or in need of some encouragement. This isn’t to pat myself on the back, but just to acknowledge some things come easier to some and that’s what makes our diversity needed and beautiful!
Back to that main question, the hardest thing for me to do as a Christian has been to love and value myself.
This has been a difficult concept for me to grasp since…well….forever. As a Christian, I very much understood that my life had two main goals because Jesus had so nicely summed them up for me in Matthew 22:36-40. Everything hung on those two things.
Love God. Love People.
And so the light came on: I AM PEOPLE.
I’ve been thinking about this more lately when on multiple occasions I was asked, “If you could tell younger you one thing what would it be?” Back in 2013, I wrote a post around my 30th birthday sharing some of my answers to that question. I still agree with everything I wrote, but as I re-read it I realized I missed this important truth– loving myself.
In the Christian culture, we are encouraged to think outside of ourselves. Be mindful of others. Live the cross-bearing kind of life. I don’t deny any of those things and still agree with them. I am to daily lay down my life for the Kingdom of God, but laying down my life doesn’t mean hating myself or dismissing my needs.
I thought loving God and loving others meant giving of myself until I didn’t even have a drop left for myself. I thought loving others meant finding value in others, but finding myself worthless. I have operated out of this mindset for a very long time.
But I am people.
And you are people, too.
I know you’ve probably got kids, grandkids, jobs, ministry, friends and/or houses to care for, but it’s OK to care for you, too. Actually, I think God finds just as much pleasure in seeing you love yourself as He does when you love others. Why? Because He made you, too. You’re one of His wonderfully made creations, too! You are beautiful and made in His image, too!
One of the worship songs I’ve been bathing myself in recently has been “Prophesy Your Promise” by Jesus Culture and you can listen to it here if you’re interested. The bridge in this song was what first stuck out to me in this season and I feel like it applies to the encouragement I’m trying to share here.
Fear can go to hell. Shame can go there too. I know whose I am. God, I belong to you.
Shame would try to tell us that we don’t deserve love. That we are in fact unworthy. Oh, but dear friend, that’s not true. You belong to God and God doesn’t make or keep junk. You are deeply loved, treasured and desired. More than my mind can even comprehend, honestly.
I can love me because He loves me. I can find worth in myself because He says I have worth. I can care for me because He cares for me, too.
So I’m choosing to proactively send the lies that tell me I’m disgusting and worthless back to hell–that’s where they came from and I’m sending them right back. May you send every lie back to where it came!