I am a go-getter. I love to get stuff done, work hard and check things off the to-do list. I’m sure that almost all of us can identify with the good feeling of accomplishing tasks. On the other hand, being unproductive, being lazy or just failing to do the things you should or even want to can lead to some pretty horrible feelings. I understand that discipline doesn’t always come easy, and as I wrote in an earlier blog, the most difficult things in life end up bringing the greatest reward. But I don’t want to talk about disciplines, how to become more effective or even how to be the person you always dreamed of. I want to talk about love.
Often in church we talk about loving God and loving others. There is good reason for this because Jesus talked a lot about it! There is one side of love that I believe is often overlooked, however. Loving yourself. Now let’s be clear, I’m not talking about being self-centred– giving yourself what you want, when you want, and putting yourself before others. The kind of self-love I’m talking about is a healthy self-respect and love for yourself. It’s the kind of love that makes you confident to love others and God well.
For me, productivity and loving myself are more closely tied than I thought. The Holy Spirit showed me something pretty difficult today. I woke up early to get stuff done. This week is crazy busy and I thought, “I’ll get up and work my butt off”. To give you some context, I was feeling pretty bad about myself for what I didn’t accomplish over the weekend. I got up and spent some time praying and worshiping and then God said the last thing I wanted Him to…
“Go back to bed.”
I paused and thought surely this was the voice of the devil himself trying to ruin my productivity! But again I heard, “go back upstairs and get in bed”. Yup, it was undeniable this time. God was telling me to go back to bed– to forget my list of things to accomplish and just rest. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was for me to actual obey Him! I’m thankful to say that I listened and went upstairs to get back into bed.
Fifteen minutes went by, then twenty, and I was hearing nothing. So much time passed that I could have used to work, but I knew that He was trying to show me something. He began to talk to me about how I often withhold love from myself. When I don’t do something I planned to, I punish myself. My self-talk is negative and dishonouring. I realized that I had been speaking to myself in a way that I would never consider talking to someone else. I would beat myself up for “missing the mark,” then resolving to “try harder”. I didn’t let God’s love dictate how I would talk to and treat myself. The Father’s love doesn’t punish me, it holds me close and speaks hope and peace and identity into my heart. It’s His kindness that leads me to repentance. I have been believing and receiving God’s love for me well but was not doing well at believing and receiving my own love. I wasn’t letting God’s love change how I treated myself. There was a disconnect.
I’m not sure if any of you can relate to this, but today I’m choosing the narrow road of love. I am learning to change my beliefs and my thoughts about myself, not changing them to pride and arrogance just to falsely build myself up, but changing them to the thoughts that God has about me. I want to have healthy beliefs that dictate how I live and how I handle failure. I’m done with punishing myself for “missing it” and I’m choosing today to let grace and love empower me to become who God sees me to be. The best part is that it’s attainable because I’ve got the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me today, tomorrow and forever!
What about you? Do you have destructive and abusive self-talk? Do you beat yourself up when you fail or don’t do something you set your mind to? Confess those thoughts, ask for forgiveness and let the Holy Spirit give you new thought patterns about yourself. Let your mindset shape you into the man or woman God sees you as! Be blessed and take every thought captive!