A mentor I truly admire recently pointed out to me that “self love” does not mean “don’t ever change”. And I agree.
I’ve always believed self love means loving yourself enough to create a meaningful, purposeful life from the inside out. But that doesn’t equate to acting on every whim, fancy, and fleeting happiness that catches your eye.
- It means honoring the commitments you make to yourself.
- It means knowing where you want to go, and doing your future self a favor.
- It means giving up something good for something you hope will be better.
- If it’s the genuine article, it requires work; it doesn’t come naturally! — because you must acknowledge both the light and the dark within you and learn to love yourself as a whole anyway, rather than merely shoving unwanted feelings under the rug.
- But, the clincher?? It must come from a place of respect, faith, grace, and, possibly, of godly sorrow (love for God and others as well as yourself).
Lasting change cannot be founded upon guilt, shame, or fear.
(I recognize there are nuances when it comes to guilt and shame: guilt = “I did something bad”; shame= “I am bad”. But guilt can spiral into shame in a hurry. So, please, be relentlessly mindful of where you are at.)
Why? Because if you’re not right on the inside (self love and self compassion) any changes you make on the outside will be temporary, if not detrimental.
And do you know why this is on my mind? Because I’m facing it. Self-doubt. Mom guilt. Wife guilt. Inconsistent. Imposter.
These are some of the feelings weighing on my heart tonight. And I don’t tell you this for re-assurance. I’m admitting it, because it’s something I believe each of us face and battle on a regular basis. You are not alone!
That is what Satan wants!
For us to believe we are not enough.
If he can control our inner narrative, he can send our progression into a tailspin.
A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
So, tonight, as I talked with my husband about my struggles — with writing, editing, podcasting, social media, yet choosing to show up for my family in the way that I want — I asked him, “Why am I so bad at moderation?”
And do you know what he said?
When you tell yourself that, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Ha! I talk about self-talk ALL of the time, you guys. And Satan still got me. He is subtle like that.
Yet, Jesus’ Gospel is a Gospel of LOVE.
Paul (the perfect messenger for such a lesson) taught in Galatians 5:6 “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
It wasn’t the to-do list that mattered, but “faith which worketh by love”, that he knew would make all the difference.
Jesus also taught “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14: 15).
And John: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (1 John 2: 5).
These scriptures all denote action, but action from a place of love.
Because God knew that we would need to know and take comfort in His unconditional love for us, in order for Him to lift us into who He knows we can become.
You are enough.
Jesus knows better than anyone that I am a flawed, imperfect human being, but He came for me anyway. “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2: 17).
I am enough. And because I am enough, I keep trying.
I remember, at a particularly low point in my life, I was struggling — making one mistake, hitting one roadblock after another. I told God, I can’t do this anymore. I am just not getting to where I want to be, and I’m tired.
Immediately, the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus came to my mind. I saw Jesus weep. He wept with me. And then I thought of Him raising Lazarus from the dead:
You are not a lost cause.
And I have held on to that ever since: I am not a lost cause.
If He could raise Lazarus from the dead, He can help me juggle all the things, and make the right decisions about what is most important in my day-to-day life.
If He could turn water into wine, He can help me manage my social media.
And I 100% believe that, just as He is working miracles in the details of my life, He can do the same for you.
All you have to do? Believe it is possible. Come from a place of love. Never forget: you are not a lost cause.
Don’t allow shame and Satan to get the better of you. Instead, here’s to progress from a place of love.