“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 NIV
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” Unknown
“Put your oxygen mask on first and then take care of another.” Airline passenger instruction.
On one hand we learn to put others first, think about another’s needs, wait for others, listen and encourage. These are good things to do because they’re love actions. But is our cup full first? Do we do these things for ourselves? Do we know what we need? Do we listen to our hearts? Do we wait or seek counsel before making major decisions? Are we people-pleasing? If we don’t do these things for ourselves, how can we do this for others?
On the other hand… Do we abuse our bodies with drugs, alcohol, food, pornography and tell ourselves we deserve it? I need a break. Sometimes we do need a break, but are there more encouraging breaks to take? Would we do this to our children, pets, colleagues, spouses, strangers? Do we say things like, “You’re so stupid, you’ll never make it, you’re a loser?” That’s NOT self-love, in fact it’s not love at all. That’s abuse! We don’t even talk to our pets this way. We’d never talk to a friend this way. You’re a child of God and there’s many verses in the Psalms and in Jesus’ teachings that show us how to talk to ourselves and others. Light of the world, salt of the earth, fearfully and wonderfully made. Are you not more valuable than the birds? Hard to grasp, I know.
How do we know self-love? The same way we know love for others: What are the actions? What is the fruit?What are the motives? It isn’t always touchy-feely, though good feelings come. It isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes the truth hurts when we wrestle with relationships, including the one with ourselves, but we learn to pray about it, seek counsel and give it loads of grace. We’ve learned things that aren’t love can be pleasant, for the moment any way, and entrap us.
Do you encourage, compliment, view yourself as loved? Do you know your gifts, your talents? Do you say no to yourself and others? No is a complete sentence and we’ve said it to our children when they want something out of reach or harmful. Do you give yourself grace when you’ve make a mistake? Do you accept and develop the gifts of belonging and connection? No one thrives in isolation.
Someone died for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
And it’s another life-long process. But we don’t do it alone.
Thank you that we are made in your image. We forget we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Help us to sincerely love others as we love ourselves. What a lovely home, church and community we would have if we loved you, ourselves and others with our heart and soul. There’s no other way.