Saturday, December 19, 2009

Learning to Love Self

Since the middle of September, I have been focused on: What does it means to really love God, myself, and others. In Mark 12:29-30, when asked what are the great commandments Jesus states it is to love God and others as yourself.

Okay, this sounds great and easy, but to actually walk it out in daily life can be a daunting task. I asked God to take me through this life long journey of learning to truly love Him with all of myself, and to love others deeply, as He is teaching me to love myself.

So...What does it mean to love self well?

I have been hanging out in the letter of 1 John for the last 19 days, with the desire that God will reveal to my heart what needs to be transformed and acknowledged, concerning the way of love. In 1 John 3:16-24 John is clear on a few points of what love is. As far as he is concerned, it all points to Christ sacrifice of his life for us and that we too need to live with the same attitude towards others.

In verses 18-20, John writes that by practicing the way of love we stop the poison of self-criticism. Okay, the question now becomes what role does self criticism play in my life? And what is the connection between freedom from self-criticism and loving others well?

I have become aware of how debilitating my self-talk can be and it truly can place my heart, mind, soul, and strength into invisible chains that stop me from being open to the way of love. I like the way the Mark 12:29-30 passage is written in the Message.

Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."

Have you ever noticed that when your self-talk becomes full of self-criticism that it is hard to have passion towards God and His word, entering prayer is impossible, your brain becomes blurred, and energy is slow in coming. I usually need to stop everything and sit in silence until my heart can realign with God's truth. Sometimes I simply need to sleep! Wow, imagine that, our self-criticism can totally drain us, and I have personally experienced this.

These are my rambling thoughts for Decembers journey, it would be great to read your thoughts concerning self-criticism. Christmas seems to be a time when this invisible chain of negative self-talk likes to be unleashed. Thank goodness through Christ's sacrificial love we have a way to be free.

Love and Peace,
Robin

Be sure to check out the inspirational writings at Spiritual Sundays. Thanks to Ginger and Charlotte for hosting this site and encouraging us today to seek the Lord.

21 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Hi Robin. Been a while since we have visited each other's blogs. I hope you are doing well. How are your seminary studies coming?

You ask a good question: "Have you ever noticed that when your self-talk becomes full of self-criticism that it is hard to have passion towards God and His word ..."

Yes I have! And it is hard to be open and positive with others. When we put our selves down I think we do two things:
1) We hyper-inflate our own faults. Yes, we have faults and need to sensibly acknowledge them and lay them at the altar, work on them, etc. But not hang ourselves with them.

2) Lose interest and, as you said, passion in God, his Word and other people. That may be b/c we don't feel worthy of God's attention (which, ironically, we aren't, but it is far more healthy to accept that and respond in gratitude rather than become critical and angry) or even the attention of other people, especially healhier ones.

Thankfully, God's grace and mercy accepts us as we are and allows us to grow. Gratitude! wb

Robin said...

Warren, it has been a long time! Thanks for coming over. What you say about hanging ourselves with our faults is so true! If it was not for God's mercy and grace I would not be on this journey.

Andrea said...

I am amazed by HIS grace. He continually draws me to HIM and away from criticism. I am still a work in progress, but better each day.
Blessings, andrea

whidbeywoman said...

Merry Christmas, Robin. I enjoyed reading your post.

Kathy said...

It seems the promotion of self doubt is a favorite of Satan, doesn't it? Thankfully, as Believers, we are saved by HIS grace, not our own. He believed we are valuable enough to die for us. He strengthens our weaknesses!

"I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10b.

When struggling with self doubt I try to remember that my Heavenly Father believes me to be worthy of His Son's death and of a home with Him. He shepherds us in all circumstances!

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
I Peter 5:7

Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Christmas...Kathy

Susan said...

When He loved us enough to pay the price for our redemption it is almost a slap in His face for us to go around saying how unworthy we are. In a way it is like saying He is wrong. Took me a long time to realize this because it truly is one of satan's ready attacks.
Susan

rcubes said...

The enemy is truly busy trying to find ways in any form to keep our focus away on Jesus. Especially making us focus on ourselves and our weaknesses. But thanks be to God, we can do anything through Christ Who gives us the strength!!! Merry Christmas and God bless you and sustain you with His strength and power!

Sandy said...

This is very good. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte said...

What a beautiful post, Robin. I'm so glad you shared it with us today. Love the music also.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Denise said...

Have a very merry Christmas.

Diva Kreszl said...

Thank God for the 'Perfect Gift' !!!

Cherie said...

Ah, I GET IT!!!!!

Karin said...

Thanks to you for this post and for all the additional comments! I needed to read that right now for myself! I'm sure I'll need to read it again next week, lol!

Clif said...

I love what the other people who commented had to say. Good and valuable thoughts. This is a very important post. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

Ginger said...

This post gives me a lot to think about. It is so true. Thank-you for haring your thoughts today.
God Bless,
Ginger

Regina said...

Wonderful message.
A blessed Christmas.
Regards.

Regina

Robin said...

I pray you will all have a wonderful Christmas...love Robin

Beth in NC said...

Great post Robin. Self talk can be nasty. Sigh.

Bless you this Christmas season!
Beth

Deborah Ann said...

Robin, God bless you for this post! It's really thought provoking, and I know it will stay with me for a long time...

Bill Sweet said...

Robin,

You mentioned in effect to me that the brain becomes blurry when thinking of self as criticism instead of on God. I offer what might sound like a surprise answer. I'm sure at times evil does knock us out of the ballpark when we should be putting our thoughts on God.

In our busy and noisy world, it's hard to hold a Biblical thought for more than a few moments it seems. What I'd like to share is that from the prayer research I have observed, where people from different religious backgrounds prayed and results were measured, often it was the "preparation" of the individual's thought (like preparing a field for planting) that came into play when the person was not consciously ready himself/herself or in the best frame of mind. The ground of the subconscious mind was cultivated enough to do the job.

Also, there are some people who do pray and get the wrong results either deliberately or not. That would be negative prayer. (An example of very negative prayer is like we see and hear from terrorists of the Muslim faith.) However, a Christian with pure motives that are constantly "prepared" for right action can help out his or her prayers despite when the brain is worn down or blurry or hit with self-doubt type emotions.

You and whomever else might wish to see some of the controversial prayer research that creative scientists have been doing. See www.SpindriftResearch.org

Happy New Decade,
Bill Sweet, near Chicago

Robin said...

Wow, thanks everyone for your insights and comments.

Bill thank you for your comment and link. I believe if we truly believed in the power of prayer, we can move mountains exactly like Jesus told us. The issue is to get doubt out of the way and other distractions. God is the center of all power that comes through our prayers. Interesting topic to write about.

What comes to mind as I write this is love God with all of your mind, heart, body and soul...as we enter prayer seeking a relationship with God anything is possible. The thing is to keep our prayers Christ centered.

Love to all.