Self-care and self-love are hot topics these days. Everywhere you turn, it seems there is an article, video, or advertisement encouraging you to treat yourself, because you deserve it.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. I personally don’t believe God intends for us to completely neglect ourselves and call it dying to self. According to Ephesians 5:29, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Jesus does for His church.
However, I want to present three ways to love yourself that may not be as obvious as luxurious spa dates, chocolate, wine, and exotic vacations.
3 Ways to Practice Godly Self-Love
Is there something that you struggle to forgive yourself for? God knows you will slip up and fall into sin–again. Still, He forgives you. This is an area where I struggle as a (recovering) perfectionist. When I’m tempted to wallow in guilt and shame, I have to remind myself that the only One who is perfect already forgave my sins. Last time I checked, I’m not God. So, who am I to hold my mistakes against myself?
God’s love is enough to cover every single one of our shortcomings. Whenever you fail, acknowledge your sin and ask God for forgiveness (spoiler alert–He’s waiting to give it to you). Then, give yourself grace, dust yourself off, and keep it moving.
Friend, you have an enemy who is constantly accusing you in order to keep you stuck in a cycle of sin, guilt, and shame. When we give into guilt and shame, we deny the forgiveness of God and reject the sacrifice He made on our behalf–His only, perfect Son. The good news is that you also have an Advocate (1 John 2:1) who is not only actively praying for you and defending your case–He also stands as Judge and Jury.
Are you kind to yourself when you’re going through something, or do you minimize your feelings because somebody else always has it worse? We are quick to pray for the concerns of others (as we ought to), but how often do we also pray for ourselves?
In John 17, before Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, and executed, He prayed for Himself. The next time you find yourself in difficult times, treat yourself as you would a close friend. Give yourself time to grieve, think, and process.
If you were to read the whole Bible from cover to cover, you would notice that the main storyline is God’s compassion toward His people. I’m astonished by how many verses testify to God’s compassion for you and me. He also commands us to show compassion toward others. Certainly you are not excluded! God loves His people and wants them to walk in compassion, just as He does.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
This is the time of the year when my New Year’s resolve is challenged. It’s cold outside, and staying in my warm bed is much more appealing than bundling up and heading out for an early morning walk or workout session at the gym.
As surely as my children resist their household chores, there are certain habits that I struggle to practice consistently. For instance, I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I know it’s good for me, and the benefits are undeniable. When it comes down to making exercise a daily habit–I can easily find an excuse to prioritize something else. In most cases, my comfort is what I place a higher value on.
I encourage my children to be consistent with their chores, because doing good work builds character. Proverbs 3:12 says that the Lord disciplines those He loves. My Heavenly Father has given me one life to live and one body to manage. He has provided the resources for me to take good care of my body because He loves me and wants me to enjoy a full life. Similarly, I want my children to develop good habits so they can enjoy a fruitful life.
In what area would you like to become more disciplined?
It will take time to learn to forgive yourself, develop self-compassion, and become self-disciplined. Learning to love yourself the way God loves you is a lifelong journey. As you take these things to heart, don’t be surprised if you are able to love others more effectively, and your relationships grow deeper.
Kathryn Charles is a homeschooling mom of four and wife to her high school sweetheart. When she’s not doing the mom thing, you can find her curled up with a good book and a hot cup of chai. She is passionate about encouraging women on her blog Mom Life on Purpose.