Love your neighbor as you LOVE YOURSELF!
Have you ever had a time where God spoke something so clearly, it almost seemed audible? But then you didn’t quite get it the first time and so that same message kept appearing over and over?
Yeah, me too….It has taken me the better part of an entire year to fully grasp on to a truth God had been shouting at me. You see at the end of 2019 my wonderful hubby sent me to the island for a couple nights on my own personal prayer retreat. I was able to reflect on the past year, pause and prepare for the year ahead. (Little did we all know what 2020 was going to look like).
As I looked forward to this new year, contemplating what this year could be, the verse from Galatians 5:14 came to mind. “The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” Galatians 5:14 ERV As I read this verse over and over, it was as if God was putting a magnifying glass over the words – as you LOVE YOURSELF!
I realized after having reflected back on the last year and knowing how depleted I was… it was a reflection that I had not loved myself very well. As a wife and mom it’s so easy to put myself on the back burner, to put everyone else’s needs before my own and never really take time to care for myself. Over the years I’ve heard my friend and pastor’s wife Teri, say that I can’t give what I don’t have. I have to make sure I keep my cup full otherwise, if I keep pouring out eventually there will be nothing more to give. I can’t give from an empty cup. I thought I was being loving by putting everyone else’s needs before my own. But in reality, I wasn’t giving them the best because I wasn’t taking care of myself in the process. I realized that I began to dislike me…I was running on fumes and needed something in the tank. So if I’m truly to love my neighbor, be that my spouse, kids, extended family, co-workers, or friends, the best gift I can give them is the best version of me. To be the best version of me and to love me, is to take care of me.
To take care of yourself, you must know:
- What fills you up?
- What drains you?
Once you figure these two things out, tell someone. A spouse, a close friend, or a parent. Someone who can ask you “Are you loving YOURSELF and taking care of YOU?”
This doesn’t mean that you neglect all your responsibilities, it just means that as you make time for others in your life, you also make time for yourself. Schedule it on the calendar and then like anything else that’s on the calendar, you follow through.
To neglect taking care of yourself is to disobey one of the greatest commandments. To truly love your neighbor is to LOVE YOURSELF – taking care of YOU. But may I encourage you, start from the inside and in the process may you begin to truly like who God has created you to be. In return, you will be able to truly love your neighbor as well.