Love Thyself!

The Greatest command that Jesus gives to his children is to love. While I do not believe that love is an end-all and be-all of the Christian experience, I do believe that it is the mode of operation in the command to Make Disciples; which I do believe is the end-all of the Christian responsibility. What’s even more interesting is that in order to do this to the best of your successful ability is to first Love Thyself. LOL (just wanted to sound more urgent and smart with the “thyself”).

 According to Paul, one of my heroes of my faith in Jesus;

Love is patient

Love is kind

Love is not jealous

Love does not boast

Love is not proud

Love is not rude

Love does not demand its own way

Love is not irritable

Love keeps no record of being wronged

Love does not rejoice about injustice

Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out

Love never gives up

Love never loses faith

Love is always hopeful

Love endures through every circumstance

We usually think of this infamous character-building list as what we should do for others.  But what if we did it for ourselves first?

 In the world of iambutNaked, February will be “Love Thyself Month.” It’s what we single people who want to be married, and are tempted to be depressed for Valentine’s Day (or as I like to call it “Single Awareness Day”) can do to celebrate love in a way that uplifts and encourages us. BUMP that 1 day! Let’s just spend the Whole Month loving on me. I don’t mean to leave you married people out. One of The Best ways to have a good marriage is to teach your spouse how to love you better and in order to do that you need to know how to love you. Maybe you (married person) could use a boost in this subject. Does your spouse really know how to love you? Maybe they need a refresher course? Or maybe you’ve changed since last year and need something else.

 This month I’m going to give principles that you may not have thought about regarding loving yourself. It’s difficult to get others to love you when YOU don’t love you. This works in relationships, business, parenting or your alone time. Let’s look at the list again in light of YOU – not others. Stop at each one and contemplate the question.

 How can you do better at:

 Being patient with yourself. Do you rush yourself when there is a change or an idea or the possibility of a new relationship? Do you even know the process that you need in order to make wise decisions? I know I have been bad at this. I am typically a quick decision maker. I don’t like to lament. If it seems good, I’m ready to GO. But sometimes I need to be more wise by giving myself a moment to make sure that the decision and/or  timing is right. Patience is the decision to go at your pace and not be pushy!

 Are you kind to yourself? Do you like what you see in the mirror? So you tell yourself?(?) What are you putting in your body? Is that kind?

 Are you jealous of your rich friends, your married friends, your single friends, your vacationing friends? The problem with jealousy is comparison.  You will Always get the short end of that stick.

 Are you a boaster? Are you overly prideful about who you are and/what you have, or your skin color? This is an easy way to clear the room and find yourself alone with whatever you’re boasting about – no love in that.

 No one wants to be around rude people who demand their own way. I dare you to ask your friends if they think you are a rude person. It may be quite humbling, but facing and changing this character trait will end in love of self.

 Irritable people are overbearing tasks. This is why I’d rather be alone when I’m irritable. When you are irritated you are pushing away the people who love you. The most difficult thing is to first admit that you are irritated, then to do the heart-work to change it. The people who are good at this can do it in minutes. Others take days. Which are you?

 Are you like me? I remember almost everything that is done and or said to me – wrong or right. Keeping records of being wronged is called unforgiveness. And if you check out what Jesus said in Matthew 18, you will see that the Lord doesn’t tolerate the offender NOR the offended.

 Love does not rejoice about injustice. What cause are you involved in that shows your love to your community. We are in a very polarized political climate in America right now. There is no short of ways to give love to others in your community. The ability to give love is a surefire way to tell if you have love for self.

 Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Or are you defining good things as evil and evil things as good. Movies and media do it all the time – get you to root for the bad guys. Or are you sensitive enough to true righteousness that you can see clearly what’s right and wrong and can speak about it?

 Have you given up on you? Are you tired of going after those dreams that have eluded you? Are you sleeping all the time? Have you started on that book, that website yet? Have you made that call or sent that text message yet? You know the contact you need to make to the one that could change everything for your business? Don’t give up on you! Don’t lose hope in the God who still believes in you! ENDURE to the End! Don’t lose faith in you! God hasn’t!

 I know that this may seem self-serving. But think of this principle that I learned from my father. You can only do according to what you believe about yourself – be it marriage, business, or personal accomplishments. Loving yourself as Christ loves you only enhances your ability to accomplish His dream for yourself.

 So…LOVE THYSELF!

 I’m Tifiny and iambutNaked…

Tifiny Johnson