It’s Okay to Love Yourself

“I’m worn out,” my friend said with a weary complaint. A blue headband pulled limp hair from her face. She had that the-last-thing-I-have-time-to-do-is-fix-my-hair look that fashion  models avoid like the plague.

She looked adorable, real, and very tired. She was dressed in the weariness of trying to keep it all together–the kids, the home, the job, the laundry, the appointments. And all with a husband deployed.

I know this kind of tired–the kind where we feel pressure to do this… and that…  and everything else. The kind where we forget that we matter. Exhaustion comes when there’s no white space on our calendars and no breathing space for our souls.

It's Okay to Love Yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself. Why is it so hard to talk about loving ourselves?

God’s word to the exhausted one.

When weariness seeps into our bones, we need to remember these simple commands.

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

 

Maybe your thinking, “Seriously, she didn’t just write that. When I’m totally wrung out, the last thing I want to think about is doing anything with all my mind and strength. And the very last thing I have energy to do is love the people who are making me so tired.”

Note to self–that’s not what God says. There’s a world of difference between as yourself and instead of yourself.

 

It’s okay.It's okay to give yourself a break. It's okay to stop being so hard on yourself. It's okay to love yourself.

When you’re clinging to the edge of sanity by a fingernail, it’s okay to love yourself.

It’s okay to take care of yourself.

It’s okay to give yourself a break.

It’s okay to ask for help.

It’s okay to stop being so hard on yourself.

It’s okay to love yourself and care for your soul.

In our crazy, mixed-up culture we often see those who love nothing but themselves. For sure, there’s no shortage of pride, arrogance, and egotism in today’s world. This isn’t what God means by as yourself.

This as yourself love isn’t selfish or self-indulgent. It’s not wrong or sinful.

Our churches emphasize  loving God and loving others. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard a sermon on the importance of loving yourself. Have you?

Why is that?

Or are we simply so busy, it’s last thing we have time to think about?

Writing these words, I feel like a renegade–a religious rebel. Like someones’s going to bang on my door and haul me away.

But here it is, right in the two greatest commands…”love your neighbor as yourself.”

And it’s been right there since Moses walked down the mountain with two stone tablets thousands of years ago.

No matter how many times I read this passage, it’s still there. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If Jesus said it, it’s true.

It’s time to stop arguing with God on this one.

Love God+Love Neighbor+Love Self. Isn't it time to stop leaving yourself out of the equation?

Love God + love your neighbor + love yourself

Isn’t it time to stop leaving ourselves out of the equation?

The more fully we grasp the wonder of God’s love, the more we love Him. And the more we can accept and love ourselves. It’s that simple.

Looking through the lens of God’s love, we begin to see ourselves free from the condemnations, criticisms, mistakes, needs, and hurts that wage war against our souls.

When self-concept is anchored in performance, comparison, and competition, we struggle to love and accept ourselves. Without a transforming glimpse of God’s deep love for us, we struggle to love him as well.

On our hard days, it all feels a little like Sunday school talk or fairy tale…too good to be true.

Let this truth refresh your heart today: God loves you. Yes, weary, imperfect you.

And weary, imperfect me.

When you get this–really get it–you can’t help but love God with everything you’ve got.

You’ll discover fresh reserves of love for others.

Full with the love of God, you’ll give yourself permission to rest when you’re tired, cry when you’re sad, and relax when you fail.

And you’ll know this for sure: it’s okay to love yourself.

Don’t miss the other posts in this series:

To the One Who’s Forgotten That She Matters: 10 Ways to Love Yourself

5 Godly Ways to Care for Your Soul

Get the free ebook Soul Care That Makes the Difference.

I’m linking up with other bloggers at:#RaRaLinkUp, #Testimony Tuesday#LLMMLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Coffee for Your Heart, and  #Monday Minute with God at Plantingroots.net, a new linkup for women associated with the military.

A new link up for military bloggers. Come join us at #PlantingRoots!

23 Comments

  1. Ginger, What an inspiring post! I think many women live like this: Love your neighbor instead of yourself.
    Thanks for reminding us God wants us to love ourselves too because He loves us!
    We both posted on Blue Ridge Study Writers as well as #LMMLinkup!
    By the way, your website looks great.
    Blessings,
    Beckie from Spotlight, beckielindsey16.com

  2. Oh, Ginger! I needed this today!! XO

  3. Such an important message for us all to read. Thank you! And blessings to you today!

    • Ginger Harrington

      You’re welcome. It’s so easy to neglect the things that matter and indulge in the things that hold us back. When it comes to God’s command to love ourselves, we struggle to know how to do this well.

  4. Such a great reminder – love your highlight of loving our neighbor AS ourselves. Such an encouraging word today! Thank you!!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Kori, you always have an encouraging word. So glad to walk this ministry road with you alongside! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts today.

  5. “AS” not “instead of” — so good! I’m tweeting this!

  6. This. Hit the mark for me today, friend. Thank you for posting.

    • Ginger Harrington

      Sarah, your transparency is a beautiful gift to us all. I love the flow of how Jesus writes in you at PlantingRoots.net. I know this has been a difficult season for you and I cheer you on with a whole heart! You go Girl–Woohoo!

  7. Very encouraging, Ginger! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I realized I needed to do this very thing, and since I homeschool, we’re taking spring break a week early starting Monday! We all need it!

    Heather Bock
    http://www.glimpsesofjesus.com

    • Ginger Harrington

      Yay for spring break! I’m glad you’re taking a break when you and your family need one. Homeschooling is a rewarding but challenging ministry to your family. Blessings, Heather!

  9. Yes it is so important to love ourselves. How can we love others if we don’t? Great post and thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this week.

    • Ginger Harrington

      It often feels strange to talk about loving ourselves, but it is an important and practical topic. Thank you for joining me today, Mary.

  10. I love how the Lord continues to reveal Himself in new ways through centuries-old scripture. As you noted, I’ve heard these passages countless times and not once have I consider its message re: loving myself. Thank you for sharing this reflection! #graceandtruth

    • Ginger Harrington

      So glad you’ve popped by for a visit, Melissa! This was a new look at this passage for me as well. Blessings today!

  11. Ginger, Thank you for the reminder. My favorite line, “When self-concept is anchored in performance, comparison, and competition, we struggle to love and accept ourselves. Without a transforming glimpse of God’s deep love for us, we struggle to love him as well.” When I feel angst, I know it’s based on performance. I turn to God and rest in HIs love.

    • Ginger Harrington

      It’s taken me a long time to learn these truths and they don’t always come easily. The more grounded we are in God’s love, the more free we are from performance-based identity. I’m so glad to see you heart today!

  12. Great post, Ginger! It spoke to my heart, and I couldn’t have said it better than you did with “The more fully we grasp the wonder of God’s love, the more we love Him.”

    • Ginger Harrington

      Ashley, welcome to the conversation! I love knowing how God works through the words He gives. Yes, truly, we only love because He loved us first. Here’s to knowing his love more and more–and returning it with hearts bursting with Joy.

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