He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
God has capped off this statement of Love with -BUT LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. When we respect others we are LOVING others but do you leave out the part – as yourself. Perhaps we do not love others well because we don’t love and respect ourselves well.
I know I got hung up on the Christianese statement…a subliminal way to think :
Love them with the love of the Lord, George! Like a mantra to be a do gooder to others…
It’s a belief system that kind of takes “I” out of the picture… do do do help help help others others others! Its summed up in a statement that I think has morphed funky like in the Christian mind. God First, Then others, Your last. To me this statement doesn’t make sense. Of course God is first but then God pours into me then I pour into you.
If I spend my time encouraging you , helping you, loving you… then go home and clean the bathroom and cant even look at myself in the mirror because I rip my image to shreds. Then clearly, I don’t love me, so how can I love you? Have you ever had someone encourage you who wont hear encouragement to their self. Their self talk is a monster, the encouragement they express to others, it feels hollow. Why???
Because If I hate me, want to change who I am because I despise me. If I want new hair or better attributes, pick at myself, berate myself for my weaknesses, entertain thoughts of being less than. If my talents are not as good as the next person and always less than someone else. What does this say…
To me and this was me! It says I don’t love who I am. I was competitive and envious. I was angry and bitter. I was also anxious and fearful. This was me not loving who Christ came to indwell. ME in Him and Him in Me. Going around pumping up others, hoping to get pumped back but only to sabotage it because no matter who said it…I didn’t believe it. That’s why its hollow!
I cant give what I don’t have.
We do a crazy injustice with all the expectations placed on how we are to “LOVE” others! The undercurrent of judgment is evident, we are so judgmental to self that we are heavy burdening to others. When we have not even learned how CHRIST loves us. We have not found that acceptance and trust in the love Christ has for us. We tell ourselves that God loves us, came to die for us and its unconditional. But without a real understanding we dont become Loving people who love people because we ( us+Christ in us ) love who we are!
I’m just starting to get it. I am learning to love who I am. Three years ago I took the Disc personality test through my church. EYE OPENING. Becoming aware of my tendencies was key to seeing myself in action it was surprising and caused understanding of how I am wired which produced amazing growth. Then I began slowly allowing people to be honest with me about me, scary yeah…but it was rewarding. Then I read the book THE CURE. Suddenly a new perspective. TRUST OR PLEASING GOD….TRUST — God’s Got this! or PLEASING GOD — I work at getting approval. It was an EYE POPPING OPEN, COMING OUT OF A FOG, AMAZING thing to see the difference in those statements. I didn’t understand how bound by trying to look good and gain favor that I really was.
Then I started writing out my biblical purpose and values through a workbook called Focused Living that Im reading through with my Pastor. Through that God has just really shown me qualities and attributes about myself that have gone unnoticed. I didn’t see them. I was too busy criticizing myself to see God’s work in me.
I have been hard on me… unkind to me ….expectations so high I couldn’t hit the mark if I tried. And I was that way with others. Sure I could smile and behave and try to forgive and understand! But underneath I was a hard ass. No one can have any kind of deep relationship or connection with someone who is hard to please ( you know that tight controlled smile and the elevated pitched voice – its ok! I’m fine.) I am a task person and a time person. I expected myself and others to get it done and be one time. Be perfect, you know? I wasn’t ok and I would lie to myself and tell myself stories about the people around me because I couldn’t handle the truth. I was cold and a bit indifferent to others. I kept my distance. Didn’t really want anyone to close, they might see what I cant stand inside me and turn away too.
It sounds terrible and it is and I have been that way to myself for years…until this past year!
Slowly having a revelation…an awakening.
I can not be everything to everyone at all times no matter how hard I work…and the harder I try the more I would project my anger about not getting it perfect on to these people who I saw who have too high of expectations on me. <– it’s the ME in the mirror of my life.
I had to learn to:
Love me – learn to like and understand myself as He created me, to accept myself unconditionally.
Care for me – Rest when I need it, Say no when I really don’t want to. Get a massage. Take alone time. Ask for help.
Respect me – Be honest with myself about how I feel, what I need and who I am.
I have found now that I am really beginning to Love Me…the one who Christ indwells… that I want to love others genuinely rather than by forcing myself to behave loving.
People get all paranoid -I use to get all paranoid when conversations start talking about loving yourself…. Not suppose to be all SELF FOCUSED…selfish and arrogant and blah blah blah…
Know who you are!!! – love who God created, realizing that He came to die and rise again and that He came to Live in and through YOU. To be housed in you and commune together as one. In Him – you are still you – your spirit joined to His spirit -A RENEWED UNIQUE YOU! This is not a lop sided, its all about me talk on “loving yourself.”
It is learning pure acceptance! To love and joy in who He is in you and you in Him. And to EXPRESS THAT JOY HE HAS IN WHO HE CREATED AND LIVES THROUGH!
Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.