“Don’t think too highly of yourself.” “Put others ahead of you.” Ever heard statements like these? I have. I’ve also read in the Bible where we are to love God and to love others. These are wise and true statements, right? I agree with them wholeheartedly. But, some of us have forgotten about ourselves. Some of us have forgotten about loving who we are.
So, I ask you a question today…
Do you love who you are?
It’s worth an honest answer, and it’s worth pondering.
Now, I’m not talking about an unhealthy love of self. No. I’m guessing we’ve all come across a person or two over the years who has maybe loved themselves a bit too much. (No judgment here. I probably was one of those people at some point in my life.) That’s not the kind of love I’m referring to.
The kind of love I’m talking about, however, is loving the person you are with the proper perspective. The person God created you to be. The whole package. Not just your looks or your talents or the things you own. Not just the things you can do physically or the words you articulate or the way your brain works. I’m talking about the complete you. The one and only you.
Loving ourselves isn’t always so easy.
I recall a number of times in my life when my answer to that question would have been “no.” I didn’t really love who I was. Back in high school a fellow classmate affected my life to the point of me hating it. I even began to hate myself. My wise and discerning basketball coach saw the change in me and stepped in. She helped me to see truth and taught me I could love who I was no matter how someone treated me. Little did she know the life skill she modeled for me would be one I would use often and teach others over the years. Thanks, Coach K!
Another time had to do with some failures and mistakes I had made. The self-talk ensued: How could I do such a thing? A good person would never have done that. How could I be so deceived? I sunk to the depths of self-hatred and despair. This was probably the scariest time ever in my life. I was able to taste for a time how low depression can take someone. It was awful and ugly. I certainly didn’t love who I was then. But, God was so gracious to me. He extended His hand of help and hope through a person’s listening ears and wise counsel. Over time I was able to understand my mistakes were not me. My failures were not me. I could love who I was, despite the fact I wasn’t perfect. Another life lesson I learned and have taught others since.
The thing I’ve learned is this: loving who you are isn’t about you at all.
It’s not about how others treat you, or what you’ve achieved, or what you’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not about your skills, or intellect, or appearance. Loving who you are is all about the One who created you. The One who designed you. The One who has a future and a hope for you.
Loving ourselves is all about God.
In case you wonder what I mean, take a look at Psalm 139, verses 13-16:
For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You as I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb. You see all things; You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; every detail of my life was already written in Your book; You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it.Psalm 139:13-16 VOICE
God created you and me excellently. The God of the universe, the God of heaven and earth, shaped us inside and out, not missing any details. He sculpted us from nothing into something… someone amazing. And, He knows all the details of our lives, even before we ever took a breath. He loves us so much He created us uniquely, unlike anyone else. Friend, that’s amazing!
You can love you because of Who made you.
And, God who made you is crazy about you. Seriously! Because of this, God wants you to love who you are. Yes, we are to love Him and love others, and we’re encouraged to serve and give to and bless others. We’re also incited, however, to live out our God-given identity in loving who we are.
But, friend, we live in a fallen world. We live in a world where days can be difficult and loving who we are can be a struggle. We’ll do things and say thing that will be against what we stand for. We may not like certain things about ourselves. Others will mistreat us. Situations will tug us away from truth. When these times come, however, I pray God reminds us of His love and how special He created us. We can love who we are because He loves us more than we can comprehend.
So, do you love who you are?
I pray you do. If you’re struggling with the answer, I invite you to read Psalm 139 in its entirety. And keep reading it until it becomes truth deep in your soul.
I think you’re great, but more importantly, so does God!
We’ve been discussing Living Loved in the past few posts (here and here) as we’re preparing ourselves for our next BYOB and B (Bring Your Own Bible and Beverage) evening of encouragement. I invite you to this fun girls’ night out next month! All the details are here.