It’s a leap out of my comfort zone to admit this, but for years, I struggled with the idea of self-love.
I always thought the Christian thing to believe was that self-love was selfish love, and selfishness was bad, so loving myself was most definitely a sin.
I’m not exactly sure when this entered my mind – but oh, over the years, the lies built up.
I’ve looked in the mirror so many times, frowning, criticizing. And not just on feeling too flabby or too muscle-y or too short or too whatever – overall accepting the general existence of inadequacy.
I was never good enough for the standard I set for myself.
When I’d read things that told me, “Love yourself!” I laughed bitterly, and had no idea in which context self-love would ever be appropriate. The way I saw it was this: if there was something I didn’t like in myself, I shouldn’t embrace it, but instead whip myself into shape in order to fix my flaws.
It was all on me.
And after years of living like that, I was so, so sick of it.
Christians will often come up with Bible verses to refute selfishness, yet when it comes to accepting fullness in Christ, we stop.
We forget the beautiful love that’s right in front of us, because we’re still in that mindset that it’s all on us.
Here is where I want to look you right in the eyes, and tell you how I know how much of a burden it is to live like this. I want to lead you by the hand and show you this radical love I’ve seen, friend. It starts right here.
I want to tell you that if you feel inadequate, I get it. Because all of us, in one way or another, we’re not enough on our own. We sin, we mess up, we disappoint people – all of us.
So sometimes, it just feels so ridiculously phony to plaster an invisible sticker on ourselves that says “I LOVE ME!” because we see the flaws, we see that inner self.
But self-love begins with the truth.
See, when we emphasize our own goodness, we minimize God’s perfect sacrifice for us, through Christ. We’re essentially saying, “I’m beautiful and perfect and amazing on my own, flaws and all.” But maybe there’s another way?
On the other hand, when we’re so caught up in our brokenness and failures, we completely miss the significance of Christ. He didn’t just die to take away our sin, but to restore us, to make us clean, and holy, and pure in the sight of God.
So how on earth do we find this balance, of loving too much or not enough?
We see Christ’s perfection in us, as God already does.
We have the freedom to love ourselves because we have been given new life, new natures.
We can move on from our self-shaming, guilt, and internal hatred simply because God Himself already has.
Christ died on our behalf, lavishing His righteousness upon us, and making us blameless in the sight of God. When we fully love ourselves, we are NOT loving our sinful nature, for that has been put to death.
Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Loving the self in order to move on to loving others is not anti-Bible or pro-sinfulness. It allows us to move on from the sin inside of us that has already been forgiven by Christ.
True self-love is beautiful, because we are loving the very thing inside us that’s so much greater than ourselves. We are loving the beauty given to us by Christ’s sacrifice for us – the most magnificent thing we have.
Because God loved us so much, He gave up His Son for us, in order to reconcile us to Himself.
He didn’t just wipe our slate clean, He gave us a completely new slate. He made us new, He made us pure, He forgave everything we’ve done and ever will do.
Let us not minimize this greatness He has done inside of us – let’s embrace this.
Let us love deeply, hope abundantly, and dare to reflect the glory of God.
For what else were we created? We were created to live this life to the fullest, friend. Will you take this journey with me?