“to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19
Yes, you, me, us, that we may know the depths of Christ love, so that we may be filled fully, completely with the fullness of God. Read that a few times if you have to. Bookmark it in your bible app, don’t have a bible app, try this one, https://www.bible.com/
Last time we spoke of love, it was relationship love & how to be loved by others properly, the way God loves us. http://ourst0ry.com/relentless-love/ . This time I want to talk about knowing Gods love and loving ourselves. Loving ourselves well, caring for ourselves, mind, body, spirit and soul. I am not talking of the loving yourself where you are prideful, selfish, arrogant, conceited and overall abhorrent. No, I am speaking of loving who we are, being thankful to God for how He made us. Self-Love.
Scripture says, in Psalms 139:14, ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’ We are to praise God for how we are made, in HIS image. I did not even know this truth and even if I knew it, I doubt I would have believed it back then. I tended to look at myself and only see the bad, the negative, looking for the ugly. “I am too fat”, “my butt is flat”, “my skin is dry”, “boobs too big”, “I cannot find a partner because of this or that”, “I am not good enough.”…etc. You get my point. Or at least that was what I used to say of myself. Or I would turn myself into someone else in the hopes of finding and keeping love, all the while feeling empty and unfulfilled. Even in intimacy, sex, if he did not want it, I thought something was wrong with, not sexy, undesirable. I could not see any other reason why. Not even when, my then boyfriend, now husband, crudely told me, “I don’t give an “f” about having sex with you. That’s not why I love you. I love what you did to me, I love how you taught me how to love and be loved. It will never be about sex” I just saw it as a rejection. My friends would tell me, I was pretty. But I did not see what he/they saw. Oh but I played a heck of an act, confident, sexy, but I did not feel it, at least not often. All the self-deprecation led me to misery, anger, low self-esteem and settling.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, maybe because I was getting older and with age comes wisdom. “To acquire wisdom is to love yourself” (Proverbs 19:8). Maybe because eventually, after all the hurt and humiliation, I finally looked at myself and said, “Jackeline, enough is enough.” Could what they see be true? I don’t know. I just know that I started praying, in earnest, with desperate abandon, not faith, desperation. There is a difference. I asked God to please HELP ME. Help me see what others see. God help me see what you see. I cannot continue to berate myself. I don’t want to live like this. I want to be free to be me. To love me. I wrestled with doubt. I struggled with fear and battled with the mirror.
And slowly, very slowly, I looked in the mirror. I forced myself to look into my eyes. To look and say, “Jackeline, God loves you.” I would say this over and over. At first I couldn’t do it for long. Because I didn’t see it, nor did I feel it. His love. But I kept at it. “Jackeline, God loves you”, “Jackeline, He is for you. He made you just as you are. Rough around the edges, capable, intelligent and wise.” And even more slowly, it wasn’t so hard to look at myself anymore. Slowly, the truth seeped into my heart; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
God loves me. I am not perfect and He loves me any way. I am loud sometimes. (if you ask my husband, all the time) I am judgmental (see, not perfect, but God is working in me). I am a few pounds heavier than I want to be and my big boobs sag, but nothing a good bra and a spanx can’t fix. I am horrible with money, but God is teaching me so well to trust in HIM, that tithing is second nature. I rather stay home and read a book, write or watch TV than go out and that is ok. I spend A LOT on vacations, but God shows me when and how. I get anxious and He shows me His Word. Career wise, I am not where I thought I would be, but I am a hard worker and in due time, Gods time, I will be. Some, maybe, many people do not like me, do not think I am authentic, and I am ok with that too. Y yo no soy la ultima coca cola en el desierto. I have done horrible things in my past, thought awful things, said despicable things that hurt people, but I am forgiven.
I used to think that I could not hear God or wasn’t blessed enough like others because I was not good enough, too broken, to unclean and bad, but no, I just needed to stop, look (up) and listen. Today, I live filled with love. I love God sooo much. I love me. I love who I have evolved into. I love who God has molded me into. I love to dance. I love to laugh loudly until my head hurts. I love to eat. I love to travel. I am obsessed with books. (I love the smell of a book) (my house is drowning in books). I watch and read the news too much. I love to love my husband. I love to love my kids, my family and my friends, all who have become family. I love, love, love the beach and go as often as possible, even in the winter, there is something about the vastness of the ocean that fills me with God.
I love to look at myself, even when I see the faults, I shrug and say, “oh well, maybe lay off a burger or walk a bit” and keep it moving. I no longer am going to beat myself up. If I so happen and slip, I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And so are you.
Self Love. Love God. Love Yourself. Loving me.