Today we are going to delve into loving yourself. I think a lot of us forget to love ourselves and what I mean by loving, I mean self-care physically, spiritual self-care, and biblical self-care. Not the “lovers of self” that scriptures point out as selfish and unfaithful to the Lord.
If you are anything like me you love and love and love on everyone around you and don’t think twice about taking care of any need or want someone has. But for yourself, you feel selfish for desiring a gift/item or time off… you may even “forget” to shower because you are so busy. Or you feel guilty for taking time off or not doing enough. I am totally in this realm, however, I love my shower time so I don’t “forget”. Lol.
The thing about Valentine’s day and it is all romanticized, for those of us who are single or a mother who doesn’t feel they have time to care for ourselves… it is hard to enjoy such a day because we see it as a way to love others better and forget yourself to the extreme. But I want to challenge us this month especially, to maybe learn how to love ourselves in the right way by actually prioritizing the time we need to refresh and focus on what matters. Loving ourselves by doing what we need.
I mentioned the three things I want to cover already, so I’m just going to jump in on point one:
First I’m not suggesting to neglect what you must do during the day… what I mean is learning how to prioritize yourself healthily by doing something you enjoy occasionally because you love you. If you are a momma of littles, recruit your hubby or SO or parent if you can take a bath, go out alone for coffee, sleep in, go get a Mani-Pedi, take a nap, or a simple date night/lunch with your guy. You don’t have to be alone, but you know what you would appreciate done for you, so treat yourself to some good lovin’! Especially if you’re stressed or overwhelmed. That’s sign number one that we obviously need to care for ourselves. If you don’t know what to do for yourself, imagine if you were dating yourself… what would you wanna receive to feel appreciated and loved?
It doesn’t have to be expensive or romantic. It doesn’t have to be every day or only on Valentine’s day. My opinion is that you at least try to love on yourself at least once a month. Like with your spouse. Ultimately, my goal with bringing in the idea of self-care for a valentine’s suggestion because if you don’t love you, when you HAVE to live with yourself, how would it feel to constantly feel neglected and overwhelmed and overworked? So, let’s go with self-care! Which leads me to point number two.
I don’t know about you, but I would feel horrible every day if I hated myself. Personally, I feel obligated to doing everything and when I try to love myself I feel guilty and then berate myself for being needy. But a goal of mine this year, hence this Valentine series, is to really view myself appropriately and when I do, it’s easy to love myself because I see my identity. Which brings me to this second way to love yourself: and that’s to care for your spiritual being.
A few ways you can do this is to begin little by little by building the habit of spending time with Jesus to hear His thoughts about you. Man, I know when I actually sit down and listen to Him and hear what He thinks of me … I feel so much more refreshed than taking a nap. Although I do love my naps still. But hearing the voice of my Father telling me how proud of me He is, telling me that I am worth everything because He loves me, that I don’t have to try so hard to prove my standing when He already proved it by dying for me on the cross and then rising again to love me? I can’t be more encouraged.
If you need a few tips on how to spiritual self care here ya go: read a passage of scripture on God’s heart for His people, journal, spend some time listening to worship music, meditate on a psalm or verse that sticks out to you, write down the verse that sticks out to you and place it somewhere you always look so you remember truth. You can use this study tool too: when you read a scripture ask yourself these 3 questions.
- What does this say about God?
- What does this say about me?
- What does this say about my purpose?
- Example: Psalm 23.
- God is my shepherd, he cares for, fights for, and seeks the best places of rest for His sheep. He protects, waters and spends time with them, keeps watch for any prowling enemy out to kill the sheep and He seeks after the one that gets lost because the one matters.
- I am His sheep. I am his beloved and I am cared for, I am protected and fed and watered well. I am not forgotten or left behind and I am not in fear because my shepherd stands watch over me.
- My purpose is to dwell in safe pastures with Him and know and rest in what He does, that He has everything under control and that I don’t have to work for Him. He doesn’t expect a sheep to care for itself, He takes care of me with tender love.
It’s really encouraging when you read scripture in this light to see who God is and who you are. It really helps me have the right outlook on myself to love myself well because I know that God is loving me even better.
Which brings me to the last way to love yourself. This way I don’t really have a good title for it or examples but in researching self-love I’ve seen the need for it. Before we dig into the top layer of biblical self-love… I will mention again, that some say loving yourself is not what we should do at all. However, I want to share with you a good example of someone who loved Himself but in the right way. Jesus.
- “Jesus showed how to balance love for God, love for neighbor, and love for self, and he instructed his disciples to follow his example. —John 13:34, 35.
- He loved Jehovah God first and devoted himself to accomplish His work. “For the world to know that I love the Father,” he said, “I am doing just as the Father has commanded me to do.” —John 14:31.
- Jesus loved his neighbor, showing this by caring for the needs of others even to the point of giving his own life. —Matthew 20:28.
- He showed a reasonable love for himself by taking time to rest, eat, and enjoy association with his followers and potential disciples. —Mark 6: 31, 32;Luke 5: 29; John 2: 1, 2; 12:2.” (link)
Now, this is a lot more outright and doesn’t have a lot of crazy modern day examples for us, but I think we get the gist. Jesus is, of course, the perfect example of self-love and self-care. Enjoying and celebrating by eating good food, resting from work and taking naps, fishing, spending time with His disciples and the townspeople who followed Him as he was doing ministry and pursuing the Father and His identity in Him. There are many times in scripture when you see Jesus going to friends’ houses to hang out, love and enjoy time resting with His people and also when He left other’s company to be alone with God the Father. (Mark 1:35)
So, my question to you as I am asking it to myself as well, who is your people? Who can you go spend time with that is enjoyable and brings rest to you by just being in communion with them? When do you go spend alone time with the Father? Do you care for yourself by Jesus’ examples? Don’t worry! This isn’t a lecture, I am asking all these things myself too.
Another article excerpt I want to share is this:
True self-love is acceptance of ourselves as redeemed people. Yes, we are loved and accepted, but it is precisely not because we are worthy in ourselves, but because Christ is worthy. Only when we accept the reality of redemption can we find freedom to look outwards. When our gaze is bent inward on ourselves, we fail to love God and cannot hope to love others. (link)
I share this because I really don’t want to put off the image off ‘lover of self’. My whole heart behind this post is for us to really see our identity in Jesus and celebrate who He made us be. Like David, He sang to the Lord all the time about how wonderful he loved that God created him the way he did, with the desires he had and purpose he was fulfilling!
I believe it is so necessary to know who we are and whose we are to love ourselves and see ourselves as loved before we can really get to love others. I am working on this daily and I do still fail. I need to go back and forth between all these areas, physically, spiritually and biblically and see where I am forgetting to love myself. So let us make February a month where we learn how to love well!
Little by little. Progress not pefection.