No more "Self Love."
While scrolling Pinterest, I stumbled upon these quotes:
"You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you." -Dodinsky
"Our first and last love is self-love." - Christian Nestell Bovee
Sounds great right? No more pressure. No more pain. No more trying to be good enough because we're already good enough. All we need to do is love ourselves to be happy. Once we learn happiness for ourselves, nothing else will matter. In this day and age, the world tells us to love ourselves, to put ourselves first. They call it Self-love, Self-care, Self-esteem, Self...Self...Self.
But what if I told you that self-love was one of the worst things you could do? WAIT...Before you stop reading, before you turn off your phone, let me explain. I'm not saying that you shouldn't take care of yourself. I'm not saying that you shouldn't take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. For we are called to take care of our bodies, of our mind, and of our heart. I'm not saying to hate yourself. But I want to point out something many of us, myself included, miss.
What does each of these ideas start with? Self. Each of these ideas begins with self. They tell you to love yourself because YOU are enough. Because YOU can do it. Because YOU are beautiful because YOU say it YOURSELF.
But is this what God says? No. He explicitly says in His Word that our identity is solely found in Him, that our Beauty was given by Him and that our value lies in Him alone. So then...this is the issue with Self-love...it replaces God with "me." Rather than turn to our Savior for our worth, we turn to ourselves.
“But Laura, that’s better than looking to a guy for my worth.”
But I'd beg to differ. The bottom line remains the same. Just like you’ll never be enough for a man, you’ll never be enough for yourself. It is a futile endeavor that will ultimately leave you emptier than before.
Genesis 1:27 - So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
And the famous:
Psalm 139:14-15 - For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Do you see it? Do you? The Lord of all the Earth, the Calmer of the seas, the Author of eternity made you. He knit you. He KNEW you before you existed. I don't know about you, but that blows my mind.
So where am I going with this? Well, many of us are familiar with what the Bible says about us. It's just another "Christian saying." So let's play out both sides:
Self Love: I'm going to love myself because I am perfect, also because I am worthy.
But how many times have you stared into the mirror, no one else around and you STILL don't feel like enough? How many of you put on makeup for yourself, but you still come home and feel empty? The truth is, we are our worst critic; we can be our worst enemy. We can kill ourselves with one thought, one negative word. If self-love is the answer then why do I still feel ugly for myself? How many times do you feel that you're not enough...not even for yourself?
"Self Love" In Christ: With loving eyes, and open arms God welcomes us. He welcomes us broken, bruised, scarred, and in pain.
When He looks at us, He sees nothing but perfection, perfection IN HIS SON. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone else who'd do that. We all know someone could be willing to die for a loved one, but would someone die for a murderer? A thief? A liar? Would you die for someone who broke you, who dragged you down to nothing? No. We wouldn't, but that's exactly what Christ did for us. So then, the Creator of the universe, knowing full well all the sins we would commit, died for us. We were worth the death of His Son. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
What I'm trying to say is: This world tells us to love ourselves because we are worthy of it...because we say so. "Be true to yourself." In other words, we're sitting in the driver's seat, we're sitting on the throne, and God is pushed to the back seat, to the back of the room. While on the surface self-love is a beautiful idea, however, it is ultimately empty.
You see, your worth is not in what you see. Your worth is not in what you say. Your worth comes from the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. You were worth the torture Jesus went through. He was beaten, the skin of His back was ripped from His bones until He wasn't recognizable as a human. Do you understand that? He was beaten so badly that you could not tell He was human. He was mocked by the ones He loved so dearly. They drove nails into His flesh, they tore His face by a crown of thorns, and they strapped Him to a cross for all the world to see. This man, they murdered.
If you can't see your worth in this, then I don't know what to say.
Jesus lived to die. He lived to die, to die for you.
So when we say I'm going to be good enough for myself, we're looking at Jesus' wide open arms and walking in the opposite direction. We're telling Him, "it's ok God, I can do it without You."
Instead, I want you to
Look at your reflection, you are beautiful IN CHRIST
Love the body GOD made for you
Look at yourself through the eyes of CHRIST
Our worth is in Christ Alone. I cannot say it any other way. In conclusion, I would really encourage you to listen to "Above All" by Michael W. Smith. Listen and read the lyrics, for they paint a beautiful picture of what Christ did for you and me. Christ died for you, above all.
So to my dear friends and readers, I hope that you are able to see what God is saying. Contrary to self-love being the first and last love, let our love for Christ be our first and last. For your worth comes pouring out of an immeasurable, eternal God. And that is more than any of us could give ourselves.