How many of us accept ourselves as we are? Maybe it would be better to ask, “how few of
us accept ourselves as we are?”
I struggle with this because I fear that if I ever accepted myself as I am then I would become stale and stagnant. I’d stop trying to become a better version of myself. I think I would give up and give in to life as I know it instead of searching for ways to experience the abundant life that I’ve been promised.
For me the better option may be loving oneself. And I’m not talking about selfish or self-centered love. I’m talking about loving oneself like we love family, friends, or neighbors.
Matthew 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Loving oneself allows the pursuit of abundant life. Loving oneself prevents accepting things as they are and encourages each of us to seek out the best that God has promised in His word. Loving oneself encourages positive change and leads us on the journey of becoming who we are created in to become in Christ. Loving oneself demands that we dethrone the goddesses of doubt, despair, and discouragement and give ourselves the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control that we wish we could give to others.
Loving oneself demands that we take care of ourselves. We feed our bodies nutritious foods, we exercise, and we schedule sleep so that we can have the physical strength to enjoy God’s creation, our families, friends, and, quite simply, the life we have been given.
When we love ourselves enough to receive God’s best, we have the strength to give it away.
When I was a pastor, I accepted people as they were when the first came to Christ. There was no condemnation for past choices. Yet, I never wanted them to stay the same. I wanted to see every person become a better version of themselves and to live a better life then they had ever experienced up to that point. I wanted to see everyone around me reach their full potential in Christ and in the world we live in.
And I want that for you and me too.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.