Self-love is necessary to the Joy-in-full as given to us in Jesus. When we realize how we are forgiven by him and we choose to then forgive ourselves of every shortcoming and mistake we perceive we walk in or we’ve made, we begin to have permission to love ourselves again which ushers in inner peace. Many fears are actually a fear of punishment by God for our transgressions, now or later. That there is a God who is mad and will inflict suffering upon us for our lack of obedience or performance consistency. We then, in turn, hold ourselves to inner standards that we perceive God does. I shouldn’t have done x, y, and z. I should be doing this. I should be less like…myself. And there lies the endless cycle of I’m not good enough as I am.
Christ has come not to change you so he can start to like you, but in fact, reveal to you your value and worth that you yourself cannot destroy, damage, or take away. God’s kingdom–he–continually speaks dignity, self-worth, value, and significance in who you are, apart from the decisions you’ve made. You cannot undo your likeness of him. You are God’s child and he is your father that loves you and is proud of you. He laughs at my mistakes more than I give myself permission to and he understands our thoughts and motives at this point in our journey more than we understand ourselves. God gives me far more grace than I give myself and he is challenging me, growing me in consistently loving myself well, despite my perceived shortcomings.
He speaks this way. “Remember the verse about forgiving other people 70 x 7? That refers to my way, my nature.” That he operates like that with us. “Well I want you to forgive yourself the same way. 70 x 7. Without limit, without measure. Forgive yourself, rather than accuse yourself. Let things go and operate within my love that covers and forgives. Lean into grace.”
He continues with, “Remember that verse about nothing in heaven or earth can separate you from my love? No angels, no demons, no trial, no suffering?” “Well I want the love you carry for yourself to be just as indestructible as my love is for you. That is never waiver or falter. You have my permission to give yourself approval at all times, rather than disapproval.”
God’s spirit will always guide us into taking care of ourselves, insides and out because he is your creator and has given you this gift of life and he knows its value and how much it is a journey of experience with him that is a gift. Anything that cuts down, or discourages your personality, your expression, your gifts, your life, your freedom are quite possibly not from your father who delights in you as you.
Mission minded people sometimes think: I will serve God by loving other people. But we can only really love people to the capacity we have received God’s love for ourselves. You count just as much in God’s aim of love upon this earth amongst all of humanity. That God’s kingdom of peace and joy and love endure and reign within our own hearts. Permission to love ourselves fully and completely again through the eyes of Christ, this is what I call self-love, agreeing with God that he says we are lovely.
Some believers are quick to expect God’s rebuke but they never hear God’s romance. We don’t allow ourselves to hear it, because we don’t believe it’s true or because we don’t believe we deserve it. That’s a lie. God is in love with you and he wants you to give you permission to love yourself again too.