“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
~Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)
Happy Wednesday !
I am sure when you read this passage of scripture you get the “the love the Lord your God” part and the “love your neighbor" part but did you notice that this scripture challenges us to love ourselves?
I know that is not how this passage is typically taught. I am often challenged on this statement. The argument most often is that we do not need to worry about loving ourselves because humans are inherently selfish. But here's the thing: selfishness is NOT self-love so when I say that this scripture is teaching us an important principle about self-love, I am not talking about being selfish.
Here is what I believe: Jesus wants us to love others in the same way that He does - an agape kind of love. From what I have studied, agape love is not about putting everyone else's needs ahead of yours to the point of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Nor is agape love is not about stroking egos, making people feel good or giving them everything they want (and feeling guilty when you don't or can't).
Agape love is the love that Christ demonstrated towards us, a love that prioritizes what is good for the person and their development, not what feels good. He does not always give us what we want and as my mom is famous for saying "He prioritizes our character over our comfort." If that is true, (I see countless examples in my life and I am sure you do too), then loving others properly - in a way that furthers God's plan for their life - requires that I learn to love myself in the same way. You see, we can only give what we have. If I have an unhealthy view of self-love (i.e. selfishness or completely selfless), the love I give to others will be unhealthy too.
Just like Algebra must precede Calculus, you must learn to love yourself before you can properly love others. That means learning to do what is in your ultimate best interest even when it does not feel good or is inconvenient. When you can do that, you will love others in that way and:
You see, having goals, speaking up for yourself, and knowing what you need to do to be successful is not selfish and always pushing your goals to the side for others is not healthy. In Christian circles, it is easy to deem selflessness as the ultimate form of kindness, but that is not what Jesus modeled for us.
So I challenge the assertion that in order to be a "good Christian" we have to run around like a chicken with our heads cut off meeting other people's needs and always sacrificing our own. Now, hopefully, you do too.
Again, I'm not here to throw shade. I am on a journey with God too. You pray for me and I'll pray for you.
Until next time,
P.S. Are you following me on Facebook? If not, click here and then like.
People who are serious about starting a business develop their idea and get a business license...
People who are serious about going back to school study for entrance exams and submit applications...
People who are serious about giving pay tithes and give offerings...
People who are serious about getting out of debt stop spending unnecessarily and look for ways to increase income...
People who are serious about getting healthy make better food choices, show up for their workouts and invest in accountability until the habit is built...
People who are serious about moving up the corporate ladder do more than is required and invest time in networking...
People who are serious about growing their business invest time, energy and money in learning marketing and lead generation and becoming a better sales person...
People who are serious about changing their mindset pray, read, and meditate daily...
People who are serious about making a relationship work learn their partners love language and make an effort to speak it...
People who are serious about ministry pray, read their bibles, and give space for Him to speak...
Today I’m in RoboCop mode trying to clean up the condo. My homegirl and I are hanging out later tonight and quite honestly, the house is a mess after traveling 2 weeks in a row and then hosting #ItsAllAboutMeWeek. I prefer a clean house but when I considered the 40-50 hour work week plus the 20ish hours I put into #265Point each week and my need for #Sabbath and fellowship, it was clear something had to go. I COULDN’T DO IT ALL. But I used to try.
You see #SuperWomanSyndrome says you can be everywhere and do everything as if there is an endless stream of time and energy. That is a LIE. Everyone from MLK Jr. to Mother Theresa to Barack Obama had the limitation of time – they all got 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. And, as much as God loved His only son, he too got 24/7/365 to fulfill His call. The bottom line: The issue is not how much time we have but what we choose to do with it.
Earlier this year, I hung up my SuperWoman cape because the expectations that come with that job are unrealistic. Instead, I claim the title of Wonder Woman. God says I’m wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and wonders are “a cause of surprise, astonishment, or admiration.” Made in His image, I am capable of amazing and wonderful things! That does not, however, remove the gift of limits. Prioritization is necessary and key.
Faced with the difficult choice of what to let go, my mind went back to a conversation I had with my coach years ago. He impressed upon me that “you will never have peace when your life is out of alignment with your values.” So…I reviewed my values list (if you don't have one, you need one), determined that having a perfect house wasn’t on the list and let it go. The same it is with you.
Are you investing your time where it matters most? Or competing with an unrealistic expectation of how much you can handle which ultimately puts YOU at the bottom of your to-do list time and time again? Something to think about.
We all have at least one "frog" in our lives - things we don't like to or don't feel like doing. The natural tendency is to put this thing off and then low and behold, we run out of time and we move it to tomorrow's to do list.
Now if we REALLY don't want to do this thing, we put it off OVER and OVER again and then weeks, maybe even months have passed and we've made absolutely NO progress simply because we never got started! This can easily happen even with tasks that we see great benefit from like planning meals and working out! We know they are necessary to reach our goals, but we just don't wanna! Am I on your street?
Here's what you need to do: EAT THAT FROG! Get it done first before you move onto other things so that it is sure to get done. "First" could mean doing your workout in the AM before you go to work because you've proven to yourself it doesn't get done after. Or if you are an evening workout person, it could mean not allowing yourself to pass go - your gym bag is in the car and you head to the gym right after work - no stops. If you workout at home, it's the FIRST thing you do, before you start dinner, watch TV, etc.
If you're SERIOUS about seeing change in your life, put this tip in place. You will get more important things done and the not-so-important stuff will finally take a back seat.
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!