"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV)
Did you catch it? Who are we to love? We are to love God. We are to love our neighbor. We are to love ourselves. How you feel about yourself has much to do with how you feel about others. So, how do you feel about yourself? Do you like you? Do you love you?
I didn't. I didn't like me and I certainly didn't love me. I'd done things in my past (guilt) that led me to feel certain ways about myself (shame). Guilt is; Look what I've done. Shame is; Look what I am. Guilt is; I did a bad thing. Shame is; I am a bad thing. Guilt is external; it looks outward toward our actions. Shame is internal; it looks inward toward our feelings about ourselves.
Shame kept me from loving me. I wore it like a brightly-colored cloak drawing the attention of shame's siblings; fear, doubt, self-loathing, anger, sadness, low self-esteem, and distrust. Shame told me over and over again; "You are worthless." "You are not enough." "You are despicable." "You are bad." "You are unloveable." "You are unwanted." "You are nothing." "You are weak." For years I listened. And for years I was abused, mishandled, mistreated, misunderstood, used, and devalued.
Shame left unchecked in my soul destroyed me from the inside out. When you don't think you are worth anything, everything of no worth finds its way into your life.
I remember the day it changed. I was dealing with some deep rejection and pouring out my heart to God, when I heard these words deep inside of me: "I know you love Me, and you are beginning to learn how much I love you, but you don't love you...why do you despise what I made, what I love, what I cherish?" I was undone. Being rejected by someone else has nothing on being rejected by yourself. I rejected me, I didn't accept me, I didn't like me, I didn't love me.
From that day on I began to renew my mind. I began to like me. I began to learn to love me. I found out that God "made me accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) I heard God say from His word in Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." I discovered that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:14) I found out that I am "the apple of his eye." (Zechariah 2:8) And slowly the lies were taken apart. I wasn't 'bad.' What was done to me was bad. I wasn't 'worthless.' I am of great value, so much so, "that He gave His only Son." (John 3:16) If the God of the whole universe loves me, wants me, accepts me. and cherishes me then I can love me and accept myself free from shame, free from my past, free from all that would try to hold me back from all that God has for me.
So, if you don't like you much today, if you don't love yourself, I encourage you to see yourself as God sees you, to ask Him how He sees you...because His perspective is the only one that matters, and He is crazy about you, He can't live without you, He is off the charts madly in love with you, so perhaps it's high time you start loving yourself!
The Image of Me
A nothing, a waste, a worthless thing
These were the lies I have known
The voices of others cold and harsh
were nothing compared to my own
Used, discarded, less than, bereft
These were the image of me
If you believe you have no value
then valueless is what you will be
One day in the quiet stillness of pain
A whispered question clear as day
Simple words hit like a hammer,
"Why do you despise what I made?"
I say beloved, the apple of my eye
I say beautiful, whole, renewed
I say your image the likeness of mine
You were never made to be used
Lift up your eyes to the heavens
Lift up your head bowed down
The image you have held distorted
A broken mirror keeping you bound
I love you now and forever
My child, feel your shame no more
Release your grip on the handle
For my love has closed that door...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com.
qUIET IN CHAOS
Quiet in Chaos is a blog about nothing, everything, and all things inbetween…it’s a space, an ellipsis, a deep pause. Life can be chaotic, and often needs more moments of quiet…So join me as I share and give through the written word, the place I find my Quiet in Chaos…