Love yourself from the inside out sounds kind of funny to say, but no piece of advice you’ll ever receive about loving YOU will ever be better. This came to me earlier today because I was taking a long look in the mirror and I had a moment that I actually embraced the fullness of how much God loves me. My whole life kinda flashed before my eyes (both good and bad) and I realized how thankful I am for my life, victories, defeats, trials, good, bad, blessings, lessons, and the process. Most of us have heard over and over that God loves us no matter what, He gave his life for us (John 3;16) but I don’t think I’m alone in the boat when I say although I heard that, it really didn’t mean that life changing “ah-ha!” like it should have. For most people, it is extremely difficult to fully comprehend an all loving creator that you can’t see when most of your life most of the experiences you’ve had paint a very different picture about the world. It can be drowning, exhausting, depressing, etc. What we forget most of the time that we as human beings are made up of 3-parts (Spirit, Soul, Body).
A lot of people leave out the Spirit part and say mind and soul which are actually the same thing. Your soul includes your mind because it’s the part of you that your memory, emotions, and free-will are. Your soul is the part of you that experiences the emotional side of your life that your physical body lives. So when your physical body’s life experiences rejection, abuse, hurts, disappointments, pains, etc. the memory of it lives in your soul (your mind). Just because something doesn’t haunt us on a daily basis anymore doesn’t mean that we’re over it. A lot of people experience things and unless you looked very closely or knew what to look for (i.e. close enough to know someone has trust issues) you’d never know that it still exists. So when we find out God loves us, that’s good news and our spirit receives it, but most of us can’t even comprehend what that even really means because our souls are busting at the seams with contrary information. What happens then is our spirit wakes up and begins to try to climb it’s way out of the quicksand of our soul. I use this analogy because this is exactly what it can feel like on the inside when you make a decision to follow Christ but there’s that “thing” that keeps blocking you from experiencing the fullness of it. (We’ll get into the “How thick is your soul’s quicksand” in another article)
We are constantly fed through media outlets “the quick fix” for just about every problem we can create. The truth of the matter is, the quick fix isn’t always the best fix. You can’t put a band-aid on a broken leg. Sometimes the real reason we can’t fully receive God’s love, is because in all honesty we have no idea what love is actually supposed to look like. The hardest person to love, is always going to be yourself. Loving yourself has nothing to do with being conceited or running around in designer shoes with a T-Shirt stating “I woke up like this”. Loving yourself is the inner sense of knowing that you are unique, precious, and irreplaceable to the creator of the universe and He wants nothing but the best for you no matter what has happened, what you’ve done, what you have accomplished, what you’ve failed at, in your brokenness, and in all your flaws He loves you. Loving yourself from the inside out encompasses everything from allowing God into the secret cracks and crevices of your soul, letting him into every memory, hurt, pain, attitude, or poor self images you have collected or been given over the years, all the way to the food you feed your body.We have been mislead thinking the answers to it all was to make it look good on the outside because that’s what everyone sees. What good does it do you to put lipstick on a pig or a fresh hair cut on a bag of rotten garbage? Isn’t it still a pig? Isn’t it still garbage?
Take sometime to really search out the things that have or still hurt you. Be honest with yourself and be honest with God. There is no problem you can bring to him that He can’t or won’t fix, but it has to start with you. When you can begin to see yourself the way God see’s you, the outside will eventually catch up to your inside. The happier you are on the inside will begin to change what’s projected outwardly.
You’re probably wondering how convenience can be dangerous if it’s convenient. When we think of convenience, we think of things that make life easier for us. If your new house is close to the highway, your child’s daycare is close to your job, the pizza place you like delivers to your area, grocery stores offer self check-out, the rental car place is at the airport, etc. all of these things are examples of the good kind of convenience. The danger lies in being dependent upon convenience.
Have you ever been in a convenient relationship? (Some of you might be as we speak). This is the relationship that you both know needs to end but you become dependent upon the convenience of the relationship where it has now almost become a habit and the thought of having to make changes, move out, get a new place to live, find somebody else, or pay for bills all by yourself becomes so overwhelming and stressful that you stay exactly where you’re at, which most of the times is a miserable place. How about have you ever not done something either for yourself or for someone else simply because it wasn’t the convenient thing to do?
This happened to me recently actually. I was in a tough spot and I needed some help and I’m sure some of you can relate because the last thing I want to do is ask anybody for anything. The truth of the matter is though that we all need help sometimes. So I had a situation recently and I was telling one of my family members the news and before I could even express what I needed help with, the person quickly let me know that they couldn’t help. I spoke to another family member and got the same response. Reasonably I knew that what I needed help with was going to be inconvenient so I was determined to get it done on my own however, God had other plans. See sometimes there is a lesson for ourselves within even having to ask for something after being shut down or rejected because it keeps us humble. The situation I was trying to do on my own? Just was not even remotely possible for me to do on my own. I was talking to a friend about what was going on, not even thinking to ask them and they offered me a solution to my situation. Soon after, the first family member asked if I had found a solution and when I explained the solution I found their response was “Well why are you doing that? Why are you inconveniencing yourself? Isn’t doing it another way more convenient?” What I responded surprised even me! I said, “just because something is more convenient, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.”
How many times do we pass by a blessing simply because we are unwilling to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable to get there? Have you ever stopped to think that the parts of a struggle, trial, or blessing that help you grow actually come from the parts of it that are uncomfortable? Convenience can lead to comfort and comfort can lead to complacency. Your comfort zone could very well be the exact thing that’s blocking your path of being a blessing to someone else or even your own break through. Don’t be afraid to be humble, “for the humble shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12) and don’t be afraid of the inconvenient thing, especially when it’s the right thing.