Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is it ok to love yourself?



                                 

I'm not sure if I can say this is true of everyone or even most people, but I do think a fair share of us would admit that we spend the majority of our time thinking about ourselves. The thoughts we think about ourselves aren't always the most uplifting. Shame, guilt, anger, regret, self-hatred fill the spaces of our heart and mind on a daily basis. These thoughts rob the joy and life that is available to us through Jesus Christ.

I just started reading "Restoring The Christian Soul," by Leanne Payne and she shares about how self-hatred hinders us from accepting our true identities in Christ. I had not thought much about how damaging it is to be hard on myself and to speak words of dislike toward myself. I would never say the things I've repeated many a time about myself to any other person. I realize now how sad abusing oneself through harsh words/thoughts, eating disorders, self-injury, and other forms of punishment, yet it is so rampant in our culture.

I fear that as Christians we are afraid to enter into a place of self-acceptance in fear that we will sound like we are prideful or man centered. We are afraid to embrace the beauty of who God created us to be, afraid to love, and enjoy ourselves. Psalm 139, a psalm that beautifully tells of how God knit us together in our mother's womb and knows us intimately, is used to share how special we are, but do we encourage people to love and embrace themselves or do we just want them to have head knowledge that they are unique and known by God?

Is it a sin to love yourself and appreciate who God created you to be? With all our failures, with all the offenses we have committed against our Creator, He sent His one and only Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life. Jesus came to die in our place because there was no one else worthy or able to pay the debt for our sins. And now by grace, through faith alone in Jesus we are made holy and pure. We have been given the righteousness of Christ. The old is gone and the new has come. These truths are so amazing and they are just a few of the incredible blessings we have in Christ.

So, is it ok to love and accept oneself?

I would go so far as to say it is of crucial importance to love and accept oneself. I'm not saying we should be prideful and think we are so much better than others or that we are such good people. Jesus had to die because of our sins. He suffered great pain and agony in order to make a way for us to become children of God. What I'm saying is that we so often hear that God accepts us, loves us, and invites us to abide in him, yet we rarely hear that we should love and embrace ourselves. God has prepared good works in advance for each of us to do for his glory and praise and yet I think our fear to love and accept ourselves keeps us from fully entering into those works. We let guilt, shame, fear, self-hate keep us from trusting that God could really use us for furthering his kingdom.

God's Word is full of truths about our newness of life in Christ. It is also full of truths about sin and the devastating effects it has on our souls. Both the sins we have committed and those committed against us have made it hard and often impossible to experience God's presence, but in Christ there is victory! In Christ, there is peace and oneness with God. God's Word is also full of truths about the enemy of our soul who wants to discourage us, destroy us, and leave us feeling hopeless and defeated.

 I pray we will take the time to claim the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ.  I pray that we will let go of self-hatred and embrace the person God created us to be and live life to the fullest.








1 comments :

  1. Hello Jen. We met this weekend at the Tribe conference. In the midst of leaving Nashville and returning home to Durham, NC, I misplaced my list with email addresses on it. But I wanted you to know how sorry I am to learn about the loss of your dear daughter, along with other struggles and challenges you have faced. Incidentally, I am very familiar with Leanne Payne. One of my friends used to speak at her conferences ...very powerful. God bless you as you seek to know our dear Lord in a more intimate way and as you pursue some of your special dreams. As we say in Rwanda, "Murote Imana", which means, "Have dreams of God". Martha Vetter

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