Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
As I’ve been thinking about the theme for this month my brain keeps coming back to the thought of loving yourself. I have a really hard time with this concept as a Christian. I know that God loves me and created me (and God don’t make no junk!) but my brain gets scrambled with the worlds’ concept of loving ourselves.
We are bombarded everyday with advertisements about making ourselves better. If we do this or buy that we’ll be so much better, so much prettier, so much more desirable as a person. Beauty products, hair products, vitamins, gym equipment, clothes, shoes; the list goes on and on. Go to this spa, this gym, this hairdresser and they will make you look wonderful. Maybe we don’t love ourselves if we are constantly trying to fix something or maybe we love ourselves too much because we spend so much time and money, and we’re worth it? Then there are the self-esteem and self-image problems and I, truly, don’t even want to go there. There are so many self-help books, just pick a problem and then pick up a book to fix it.
What does loving myself look like? I look at myself and I see a corrupt, sinful being. How can I love that? I know that Jesus loves me and that he died for me. I was created for a purpose. That makes me think that, perhaps, I might be worth saving. Jesus certainly thinks so.
Then I’m to take this new found love for myself and turn it on my neighbor. Oh boy. What a task!! Although, I think that sometimes it’s easier to love our neighbor then it is to love ourselves. I have no problem taking care of others; I’ve proved that with my care-giving roles. I have a tough time taking care of myself and I think that is where my problem is. I need to stop looking at the world for the answer to my dilemma.
As a child of God I should respect and take care of myself so that I’m ready to do God’s will. I don’t need to go overboard and try to be a fashion or makeup model. I have to be me, the person God created. I know, that’s easier said than done. But in the future, I will try to love myself more as the Lord loves me. Then it will be easier to love my neighbor and I’m sure that the quality of that love will be much better.