A while back, the women’s group at my church wanted to encourage it’s members to love. Everyone got a binder and on it was the word JOY. It symbolized how you would love Jesus first, Others Second, and Yourself last spelling the acronym JOY. I struggled greatly with this because I naturally put myself last and was, masochistic. I cannot say that it was easy to love myself and figured it was, for the most part, not necessary. I found it easier after I had kids to take care of myself because they were reminders. When I had to feed them every two hours, I’d make sure that I ate.
I love how Jesus groups all of the commandments into two groups; Loving God or Loving Others AS Yourself. Recently, after my recent physical adversity of Chronic Pain and Fatigue, I realized that I didn’t love myself. I didn’t think it was okay to love myself. I figured that it was a vain notion and to stay far away from it. I was wrong. As in all things, there needs to be a balance…. Not loving yourself is on one side of the spectrum and Loving only yourself is on the other side of the spectrum. Balance is loving yourself the way that God would have you do… the way that He would want you to love another person. I have found that when we feel God’s love for us, we want to love Him back. We strive to love others. We come from both sides of the spectrum to that balance in the middle. Sometimes, as in my journey, it takes a long time to do so.
At a Bible Study, I remembered reading about Esther and how she was not only the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, but that she had prepared 12 months (as was the custom at the time) before she saw the king. And while she had favor with all who saw her not only because of her humble grace and purity, but her obvious physical beauty. She is the perfect representation of balance. She knew God loved her, she took care of herself and prepared for her husband, she did not think of herself as above anyone else, but trusted God to use whatever gifts He gave her for good.
God has entrusted you with a body. He loves you and wants the best for you even though, because of mutations that began as a result of man’s sin from the very beginning, we have adversity and challenges in this life. Take care of your body the way you would take care of your own child or best friend… the way your Father in Heaven loves you. But you can only find that love from Him. Seek Him out and Feel His love; Then you can act on it.
If you don’t have a healthy you, you will not be able to take care of others entrusted to you; children, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.
References that I have used to better myself…
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