“Calgon, take me away!” Does anyone remember the famous Calgon commercials? The woman relaxing in a bathtub of overflowing bubbles, convincing us that Calgon would take away all of our troubles?
What about the splashy magazine ads that we see every day sporting models dressed in exquisite clothes carrying shopping bags with “You Deserve It” written in swirling letters across the top? Or the happy people boozing it up on billboards saying things like, “The time is now, Have fun, Enjoy Life!”
Do you know people who indulge in a massive ice cream sundae topped with whipped cream and every topping imaginable, after being on a diet for a week? Have you ever been this person? I have!
As a matter of fact, I’ve over indulged in everything I mentioned more than once. And at times, it was fun—for the moment! But adding to the debt I was trying to eliminate, waking up with a headache and regrets, indulging in unhealthy food…well, none of it felt very loving the next day.
Don’t get me wrong, bubble baths are great! And who doesn’t love a new outfit? And sometimes—for some people—drinks and sugar are fine. But the point is that some of the things we associate with “self-love” are actually the things that lead us to think less of ourselves.
This isn’t about being perfect or never treating ourselves. It’s about getting to the root of what it really means to love ourselves.
Our culture focuses on the “self” part of self-love and often encourages us to do things that have nothing to do with loving ourselves. It has perverted the term to the extent that as believers, we often “tune out” when we hear the expression self-love.
Yet the Bible tells us in Mark 12:31 that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do this if we don’t love ourselves? In 1 Corinthians 3:16 we learn that our body is a temple. That God’s spirit dwells in us. Ephesians 5:29 says we are to nourish and cherish our flesh, as Christ does the church! For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)
Self-love is when we make decisions that are in alignment with who God created us to be. It’s when we pursue His heart when we’re hurting. It’s going to Him with our questions—before we pick up the phone, turn to our spouse, our best friend, our counselor, etc.
Self-love is about treating yourself with respect—and extending that respect to others. It’s creating a life that we don’t need to escape from. It’s being able to walk in any room with our head held high (and not feel like a fraud). It’s knowing it’s okay to be vulnerable. To ask for help. It’s understanding that we are worthy of love.
We can’t do any of these things without God. But with God… all things are possible. (See Matthew 19:26)
In its truest essence, self-love is about aligning our thoughts, habits, words, and ways with God. It is treating ourselves with the love, forgiveness and grace He gives us. It’s being healed and whole and walking in the freedom He provides. It’s asking tough questions, such as:
Am I making decisions that honor God? Are bad habits holding me back? Do my relationships build me up or tear me down? Am I pursuing God’s purpose for my life? Have I settled with “okay”? What am I hiding? Why I am hiding it? Is my past affecting my present? Am I living life at my highest potential? If not, why?
And the most important question… What am I going to do about it?
Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Read books that inspire you, listen to music that moves you in the right direction, take classes or workshops that will help you break free from strongholds.
Indulge in God’s love for you. This kind of of “self-love,” will Change Your Story.