This is a guest post by my sweet friend Emily… she is beautiful and has a deep love for my Jesus. She was the speaker for our Valentine’s Day brunch this week at bible study. After she shared, I asked her to put the talk in written form so I could pass it on to all of you! The fact that this gorgeous lady has these struggles is just mind boggling to me. I know there are so many of you who also have similar struggles.
Emily- Thank you for being bold, brave, and real.
Take it away!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I seemed fitting to talk about love this morning!
But instead of the love we have for a special someone, I want to talk about the love that we need to have for ourselves. This is something that God has been laying heavily on heart.
So let me ask you, how do you see yourself?
What thoughts have you had about yourself today?
Are they kind? Are they sweet?
If you are anything like me, then you have already had around 10 negative thoughts about yourself just this morning!
I really struggle with body image, it is one of my biggest sins!
Can anyone else relate?
(I am going to assume that I’m not the only one.)
As women we search to be loved and valued in so many different areas:
looks, weight, success, achievements, riches, but as we know… It’s not ever lasting and can lead to some serious disappointments, these disappointments can lead us down a path of not loving ourselves.
In preparation for this talk my man, Brett, asked me if I knew of any women in my life that didn’t struggle with self image. I could only name 1 person in my life that I could honestly say loved herself the way God loves her.
So maybe that is why God wanted to use me today for this lesson?
If it’s not body image, what is it that you struggle with that puts a wedge between you and God?
Grab a piece of paper; make a quick list of things that makes you not love yourself? Take a few minutes to jot these down.
(If you don’t struggle with this now, give yourself a HUGE gold star!)
Maybe your struggle was in the past… then write down what that used to look/sound like.
Do you put conditions on the way you should love yourself?
I am not skinny enough,
How is it that we can love others despite their flaws but we can’t seem to love ourselves in the same way?
How about when someone gives you a compliment… do you have a hard time receiving it?
What about how easy it is give other the very same compliment?
My husband always showers me with compliments but I tend to roll my eyes when he does. I tell him that he is bias and has to say things like that to me.
(It’s like written in the rules of husband duties, isn’t it?)
As any smart women knows, this is no way to live! I have been in the prison of not loving myself for so long, it’s ridiculous! I get totally and completely disconnected from God.
You see, I am basically telling God, my creator… I know you created me in your image,
buuuuut… I feel like maybe you made a mistake.
Our God, our Creator, who designs no two snowflake to look-a- like, made a mistake in His creation? That’s a pretty bold statement don’t you think?
I know I was created in God’s image, so why then do I struggle with seeing myself the way God see’s me?
It’s because I am letting Satan rule my thoughts.
I am letting him get to me.
You see, every time I have a negative thought about myself, I am letting Satan win.
Every time I don’t think I am worthy of God’s love, I am letting Satan win.
Who are you going to serve?
Like I said, not only is this an exhausting struggle, but it’s kind of selfish. I am worrying way to much about myself that I am not seeing the beauty that is in God’s creation.
And how about the people in our lives who have to listen to us! LAMEO! Brett, is really amazing. When I go through these silly periods, he is always so loving and encouraging! He’ll text me really great messages and reminds me I am loved! But talk about exhausting for him! Talk about a job that is completely not his to do.
NO WIN situation! How unfair is that?
I just replaced God with him.
Instead of wanting God to find delight in me, I go to Brett to fill that need,
Instead of asking God to be with me during this struggle, I am taking this matter into my own hands and dealing with it myself, which is the fast train to negative town! Hop aboard!!
You see loving yourself is a choice, just like hate, anger, bitterness, sadness, forgiveness. But also the same choice as gratitude, same as kindness, joy peace, patience, goodness and faithfulness.
So how can we make this choice, every day, sometimes every hour, and minute or even second? Because we need to remember what God says in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”
Still think He made a mistake?
God already knew what your life was going to be like before you were a peanut in your mama’s womb!
So instead of thinking about the possibility that God may see you like you see yourself in the Target dressing room mirror,(what is the deal with those mirrors anyway? They are the worst!) we need to thank Him for creating us (but not creating that dang mirror!).
Find gratitude and encouragement in God’s personal messages to us in His word:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous and my soul is fully aware of this.
And how about this heartfelt advise in 1 Peter 3:3-4
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
This is my favorite:
Song of Songs 4:7:
You are altogether beautiful, my love; There is no flaw in you
We are letting our lack of confidence, critical nature, and our self-loathing take us away from truly living?
We have to keep our focus on Matthew 22:37
You shall love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
We need to fill up our tanks with the knowledge that we are loved… unconditionally.
If we just love God with all that we are and trust Him because He knows what’s best for us, then the burden of not loving yourself will be lifted and you will finally seek what it is that God see’s in you.
Now, flip your paper over to the other side. I want you to now, see yourself the way God see’s you and write down what makes you special. What makes God delight in you?
Just take a few minutes.
Now, lastly, I want you to open up this card and write your Father, The Creator, a love note. Maybe it means thanking Him for making you who you are and loving you unconditionally. Also thank Him for the many ways that HE has made you feel the most cherished and treasured.
I encourage you to LOVE yourself the way that God loves you and to see yourself as someone who is pretty darn special!
Now, as Brett said, I have to practice what I preach and go love myself! Wish me luck!
Happy Valentine’s Day Beloved
Here are some encouraging verses and fun quotes. Write them down somewhere, hang them where you can read them, and most importantly… believe them.
“And if I asked you to name all the things what you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” -Unknown
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise Hay
Psalm 139:41 “I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous and my soul is fully aware of this.”
Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you, the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace “
Jer. 31:3 “Gods love is everlasting”.
“Success isn’t measured by what you do compared to other; it’s measured by what you do with the ability God gave you” –Zig Ziglar
“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt
“I was also thinking that nothing hurts a new friendship like mistrust—I will do my best to avoid talking behind my body’s back. No more put-downs about height, no more jokes about leftover baby belly. There will just be gentleness and appreciation for all we’ve been through together” Glennon Doyle Melton “Carry On, Warrior”
The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself. ~Sahaj Kohli
Romans 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“You’re going to be in your own skin until you die. That’s a while. You might as well get comfortable in it”
Count your blessings, not your blemishes