Loving Yourself

"Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
 You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
you impart a blessing to me.
 This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength."

 - Psalm 139: 1-6 TPT

I think we often forget how much He knows us, how much He sees, and how much He cares. We go on about our day, maybe speaking to Him, acknowledging Him, thanking Him, being honest with Him, but how often do we stop and actually let Him expose His understanding about ourselves to us?

 He wanted friends, not slaves while He was on Earth. Nothing has changed.
 
When we stop and let Him speak to us about us, we encounter love itself. Even greater, we actually have more specific, realistic, and wonderful means to actually go about life loving ourselves fully. 
We hear so much about self care these days. It is so good, but are we actually loving ourselves in the midst of it? I think loving yourself and taking care of yourself look different. Are we simply seeking small pleasures all of the time to decompress from the pressing battle, the tense world, while the pain and wounds that haunt us will simply come back tomorrow? Or are we actually working on a deeper and more permanent solution; one that will satisfy us in plenty, in lack, and in every circumstance?

To heal, to be satisfied, to love yourself, is simply letting Him love you and speak to your spirit—the person in which you actually are.
 
It is important to always remember, in this world, we don't battle flesh and blood. We battle powers authorities and principalities of this world that want to deter us from the simple abiding and love of God and people (Ephesians 6: 12). They desire to cause stress, division, hate, robbery, injustice, illness, and every thing opposite of the will of the Father. A self consuming day, a glass of wine, time spent in distraction, time blowing out anger in the gym, buying something new, or trying to process everything/spiraling into a sea of negative thoughts isn't going to fix bigger issues if we don't sit in front of Him and ask Him to breathe life on us again. I am not saying that any of these things are inherently bad, but when used as a source of our joy and contentment they become can become poison like and even habitual footholds. We must always continue to ask Him to remind us of who we are. We must always continue to ask Him what He thinks. His thoughts, His truths about our insecurities, our pasts, our experiences, and our futures are what should propel us into a life worth living. Letting Him love us in that place gives us the greatest treasure; the Prince of Peace. And it also gives us a little fire beneath our feet to speak what He shows us, and to be empowered by how He desires His people to live as brothers and sisters in a greater story. We are going to need both to actually see His kingdom fall in this world.

If you are having trouble letting Him love you or you don’t even know where to begin with the thought of loving yourself, let me enlighten you with a little adventure that you can embark on with Him.
 
Everything begins as a process. Be patient and know that He desires your self worth to be as vibrant as the stars. You will get there, breath by breath.

First you have to accept who you are. I think that is the first realization—the first step to loving ourselves like He does. Know that you are accepted by Him, just as you are. Know that all others are accepted by Him. There is no partiality when it comes to His love. There is no partiality when it comes to His presence. You, your values, your desires, your dreams, your culture, your community, your past— everything can come before Him. He doesn't have a list of standards when you come to Him, just that you believe in His love. He accepts all that you are, mess and imperfection. Let Him love you in that place. Love yourself in that place. You can have grace for yourself.
 
Next, recognize your story is worthwhile. Every piece of you is actually worth knowing, worth listening to—even the darkest parts, even the things that you are afraid of saying and letting other people know. It's beautiful and it crafts a testimony of His goodness. If you never speak about it or never show yourself, other people won't know how good He is and how beautiful you are. You are interwoven into a tapestry of Heaven. Own your creation in it. You are an artist of your life and this world, too.

Also, know that life is not entirely about where you have been, it's about where you are going. It’s not about what people have said to you, it’s about what you are saying to yourself now. It's very natural to get emotionally and even spiritually stuck in your history: where you came from, what you did ten years ago, how you were raised, what happened to you when you were a child, the past struggles you have had with trust, the way you used to (or still) cope with hardship, the way you used to (or still) see yourself, etc. All of these things matter, as mentioned before, they create your story and God's story. It is all important. However, you don't have to live from those places. You don't have to view life in front of you from those perspectives entirely.
 
You don't have to continually live wishing life before was different. You don’t have to blame yourself for making decisions out of your past. You don't have to live life constantly in regret of mistakes and repeating in your mind the numerous ways that you have been hurt. You have the power to accept those mistakes, to acknowledge the pain that happened to you, and to actually heal from it— to let God speak into who you actually are and how you deserve to be treated. 
Healing moves you forward. Healing shows you that what was once pain is now victory and you can walk into better and new circumstances with some grit and revelation that you actually are resilient, powerful, and even a humbled human being. It's the purity of you; the purity of what you look like to Him. Right now, in this moment, the way He sees you as pure has the most value— not the grime of the past.

Next, be naked. Be exposed before Him. Come to Him with the things you actually dislike about yourself. Tell Him. Ask Him what He thinks about it. It's okay to talk to trusted others, too. Talk to your family, friends, or a counselor about some of the struggles you face. Tell them some of the lies that repeat in your mind. Let them speak into them and ask for the grace to receive what they are going to give to you.  Let God sift everything and ask the Holy Spirit to gently interweave whatever is from Him into your spirit.
 
Always remember, you can live empowered. Ask yourself, "What are my gifts?" He has given you abilities and destinies that no one else but you can fulfill. Those gifts, those destinies are the things that help you come alive and bring power to what you are doing with Him. It also brings His Kingdom to life, too—how fun! If you are stuck start here: What do you love doing? What are you really good at? Now ask:  How does He want to partner with you in doing that?  How does this empower me to bring the reality of Heaven to Earth? You have the Holy Spirit in you, nothing can stop you from overcoming! And the best part is, what you are designed to do with Him doesn’t have to look like how anyone else does life with Him. Living your life and using the gifts He has given you can be in any realm, at any time, and anywhere. He wasn’t kidding when He said nothing would separate you from Him.

Another way to fully love yourself is expressing thankfulness in your past and in the present. Remember how far you have come. Have grace for yourself. Remember that you are alive, breathing, and have so much life ahead of you. Thank Him for breath and the simple joys of life every day. Ask yourself, "What do I have now that I love?” and “What do I love about myself in this moment?”
 
Lastly, you have permission to have joy and wonder about the future. Ask Him to ignite your soul again! Say yes to where you are going with Him, always! Ask Him to show you more of His Kingdom, His perspective. Ask Him to open up the Heavens. Ask Him to let His eyes search yours and for your mind to know the depths of God. Look for the hidden secrets. He will continue to remove veils before you as you search for Him.

He promises:
 
"Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door." - Matthew 7:7-8 TPT

Suggestion and Reflection: Take some time to answer these questions and be empowered.
*What are my core values? 
*Where have I been and where am I going? 
*What is my mission? What do I live for? 
*How do I walk this out every day? 
*How does this affect my future with Him and His creation?

Listen to this song  by Katy Perry and let her words empower you!

Always remember, loving yourself truly will come from loving your maker. It is a marriage. He wants to do things with you and for you. He is looking for a lifetime partner. Talk it through with Him. If you are uneasy about something He is asking you to do, or a path He is leading you, just let Him know about it. You don't have to sit in silence, bitterness, or anger about yourself or your life.  Ask Him to remind you why He created you and where you are going with Him. He will ignite your spirit, because He is a good God!

Author | Emily Helton

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