There I was, feeling kind of foolish. Looking deeply into my own eyes. Speaking life over myself in the mirror. Declaring all the good things I see in myself.
Five minutes later, the awkwardness disappears and a love like I have never felt before fills my soul. It was as if I could feel exactly how The Father feels about me. Tears run down my face as I bask in the overflow of love and acceptance. The insecurity disappeared… The critical thoughts towards myself vanished. Only thoughts of love and acceptance filled my mind.
Some time ago I was challenged by The Lord to learn to love myself the way He loves me. I spent so much time being hard on myself that it was wearing on my soul. Self hatred may be a strong word but its exactly how I was living my life... Hating what I saw in the mirror, always wanting to change and be somebody different.
I am sure some of you can relate. We only accept ourselves when we do something good or praise worthy. We dare not receive love when we do something wrong… For that would be negative reinforcement. But it never seems to help. You beat yourself up over your mistake thinking that will somehow make you a better person. “Stupid! You should have known better! What were you thinking! How dumb can you be! You will never change! You will never get out of this mess!”
Man, if we talked to our friends the way we talked to ourselves we would definitely not be friends!
Nevertheless it’s the way I used to live my life. I would subconsciously have thoughts like, “once I have more money then I will accept myself. Once I see more miracles then I can feel validated and worth it. Once I stop struggling with this lust issue then I can really feel good about myself.”
This is not the way of God. Its not the way of truth or freedom. It’s a performance based mindset that only allows good things in when we feel like we deserve it.
But Grace is all about you getting what you didn’t pay for and what you didn’t deserve. Its getting what Jesus paid for and what he deserved.
And The Lord wants us to love ourselves exactly the way He loves us. Unconditionally! He loves us even when we mess up. He doesn’t turn away His affection when we sin. He moves closer!
I remember a time where I was so angry, I got emotionally triggered and was feeling like an orphan. Feeling like a reject, like nobody cares... It started by a disagreement I had with my wife who was my girlfriend at the time… I decided to go on a walk to cool off… After letting out some not so pleasant words, I said to God, “If your offended at what I am saying then your just like everyone else that I can scare away.” These were words from a hurting soul. A soul that struggled with the fear of abandonment. I was believing the lie that if I don’t perform and be a good boy, everyone will leave me.
It was in that moment of vulnerability that I received my breakthrough.
I was honest with God and He did the unexpected.
I felt Him smile and move closer to me. I could feel a warm blanket of His love wrap around me. He whispered, “you can’t scare me away son. I love you!”
This encounter wrecked me!
It was unexpected because I was so used to conditional love. How could you love me God when I am being so unloveable!? Cussing up a storm, partnering with the devil, acting like a little spoiled brat and yet you come so close with so much love!!!!?
It was mind blowing to receive this kind of Grace! I will forever be changed by this encounter with Truth Himself!
He showed me that I can love myself in the same way. Whenever I feel like I have missed the mark somehow, or I am not feeling worthy of love, I just do what Jesus does. Emotionally move closer to myself, look at myself in the mirror, and say, “I love you man, you’re a good son, you are so worth love, Jesus paid the price so you could live in freedom, no matter what you do, I will love and accept you!”
And sure enough, condemnation loses its grip, rejection and shame fall away. No longer do I feel divided within myself. I feel congruent, accepted, and loved! I feel good about myself because the truth has filled my soul!
So today I challenge you to practice loving yourself well! You are worth it! You don't have to do great things to be worthy of this love.
He simply loves you because thats who He is and that what He made you for. To be a beloved son or daughter of The King!
Here are three ways you can do that this week:
- Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself all the things you love about yourself. Give yourself unconditional love and acceptance.
- Get in your quite place with The Father and ask Him to tell you how much He loves you. Then prepare your mind to listen. Pay attention to all the positive and encouraging thoughts you have. Give yourself permission to hear the good things. Don’t be discouraged if you hear negative thoughts, those aren’t God. It takes time to renew your mind with love!
- Prophecy and declare life over yourself. Speak the word of truth and life over yourself. Declare, “I am worth abundant life because Jesus paid for it. I will love myself the way God loves me. I will no longer disrespect God by putting myself down. I am beautifuly made in the image of God!” Create your own declarations. Make them personal and watch the power of God fill your heart!
So I would love to hear from you! What has been your testimony with learning to love yourself the way God loves you? Your testimony will help many others so please be courageous and share below! :)