Love Thyself

Standard

LOVE

Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.”

Valentine’s Day and the month of February have come and gone, and throughout the month, there were numerous conversations about romantic (eros), brotherly (philos), and godly (agape) love; but I realized this morning that sometimes, we overlook one of the most important loves of all—love of self! Far too often, we neglect this valuable step—loving ourselves—which I think is actually second only to loving God in the Love Process. The first step in this process, always, is experiencing God’s love—receiving His adoration of you with your full heart and understanding that His love for you is unending and without measure. When we accept this love, internalize it, and start to see ourselves through God’s loving eyes—flawed, but fearfully and wonderfully made—we begin to see ourselves differently and position ourselves to experience the phenomenon of self-love…of seeing ourselves for who we really are—children of a loving God—and accepting ourselves (the good and the bad) as we continue this journey of learning and growing and evolving into the people that God created us to be.

selflovevalentine

There are so many voices around us—from images in the media to toxic people that we may have allowed into our inner circle—telling us that we’re not good enough and causing us to doubt ourselves, deride ourselves, fall out of love with ourselves…And when we don’t love ourselves, it becomes so much harder to engage in loving relationships with anyone outside of ourselves. It is only when we remember who and WHOSE we are that we can block out the negative voices and find peace in knowing and loving ourselves for who we are.

The other danger is one of simple neglect. I see so many people in ministry and giving professions (myself included) who become burnt out and exhausted because they devote so much of themselves to others that they neglect taking care of themselves until they become broken down or ill because their hearts, minds, and bodies just can’t take it anymore. So many of us place such a primary focus on loving and serving the people around us, that we forget that loving and caring for ourselves actually equips us to better care for the people in our lives. The Word says to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). It’s one of the great commandments given to us by Jesus Himself; and it implies that we must learn to love ourselves first before we can apply that same level of love to the other people in our lives.

love_tank

So, as we continue to prioritize loving God, loving our family, and loving our neighbor each day, let’s be intentional about showing ourselves a little love—consider treating yourself to a quiet, restful night at home; a day out at the spa; or a little time engaging in that beloved hobby that used to bring you such joy! When you take the time to take care of and love yourself, you refill your tank and are better prepared to then go about the business of loving and serving others.

Make it a point to take care of yourself today and every day!

Shine your light!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Self-love2

self-love1

Advertisements

Quality Time: The Love Language Series (Part 1)

Standard

LOVE

James 4:8a – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

I was reading a devotional the other day by Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages series. In it, he spoke about how true quality time—when you are focused on your time with the other person with NO distractions—helps to build intimacy and bridge emotional distances. Good Advice!

quality-time-2

I think the same is true of our relationship with God. Just like any other relationship in our lives, to grow and develop, it requires Quality Time—time in the Word, time in prayer, time in meditation, time praising and worshiping. As we devote this quality time to getting to know God and His character, being open about our dreams and fears and being emotionally and spiritually available to His response, we begin to draw closer to Him; we begin to hear His voice (literally and figuratively) more clearly; and we become more aware of His leading and guiding as we go about our daily lives.

God wants a more intimate relationship with us—once a week for two hours just won’t do! He wants to chat with us throughout the day (pray without ceasing—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18); He wants to share His thoughts and perspectives (read the Word daily—Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2); and He wants us to share His love with other people (fellowship—Thessalonians 5:11).

quality-time

How are you feeding and fostering your relationship with God? Are you checking in with Him once a week for a couple of hours, or are you spending quality time with Him each day? Are you making Him a priority, or are you allowing the other demands and distractions of the day take precedence? Instead of giving Him our leftover time, let’s try in the coming days to put our relationship with God first. Speak His love language—giving Him the quality time necessary for your relationship with Him to grow and flourish as we draw ever closer to Him.

Shine Your Light!

See Also:

Revelation 3:20 – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Luke 10:41-42 – “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Your First Love

Standard

LOVE

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

I have to say that I’m a little excited. For the first time in a long time, I am in a happy, healthy, stable relationship with a man that I love and who shows me every day that I am loved in return. It’s pretty amazing…love; and as I sit here this morning pondering the notion, I can’t help but think about my First Love…the One who taught me what it is to truly love and be loved, unconditionally, in return. I even brought out one of my favorite love letters that He wrote to me. In it, He tells me…

“I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Sigh…Isn’t He dreamy? 🙂 ❤

first-love

In all seriousness, I must admit that every single time that I read this verse it touches my heart and makes it swell. He…the Creator of the universe…LOVES flawed, imperfect, frustrating ME…with an EVERLASTING love… It will never end! His love is boundless! And the reality is that no other love on this earth will ever compare to the love that God has for each and every one of us…a love that is endless and impenetrable. NOTHING can get in its way…neither life nor death, height nor depth, nor anything in all creation can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

And so…whether you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day today or not…whether you are single and searching, single and satisfied, in a dating/courting relationship, or a veteran spouse…whether you are contemplating love or just trying to ignore it altogether…take a moment today to celebrate your First Love…the God of all creation, who loves YOU beyond measure. You. Are. Loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Song: First Love by Kirk Franklin

love-john-3-16

Agape Love

Standard

Agape

LOVE

(I thought I’d re-post this one from 2014 in honor of Valentine’s Day)

Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Reflections: Have you ever felt truly loved? I’m not talking about that fly by night, flash in the pan, fleeting love; I’m talking about everlasting, AGAPE LOVE, where you are seen and known and cherished unconditionally and beyond measure…the type of love that, in reality, you can only find in the heart of your Heavenly Father…

Our souls long for this love, our hearts yearn for this connection; but far too often…

We seek it in all the wrong places

In a sea of blank faces

In the company of false friends

Winding up at dead ends…

…And ultimately, we end up feeling unfulfilled, because THAT love—that soul-fulfilling, heart-wrenching, mind-blowing, never-ending love—is only available in one place: the arms of our almighty God.

As Valentine’s Day draws near, and we are surrounded by people consumed by the pursuit of love, know that you don’t have to look far to find it. You have only to look to the Father, who waits for you with open arms and an open heart to hold you close, take away your cares, and give you peace and love that surpasses anything you’ve ever known.

Happy (Almost) Valentine’s Day! (You are truly loved!)

Song: How He Loves Us by New Breed (Original)/How He Loves Us by Anthony Evans (Remake)

Love - John 3-16