I have, through the years of my Christian life, learned to love God and people.
I am commanded to do so by God. I have to admit it is easier to love God than to love people. But I have done both with a measure of success. However, the scripture which tells me to love God and people also tells me to love myself. I found that loving God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving people had a lot to do with how I loved myself. In my self are emotions, tempers, fleshly faults which no Christian should love.
So love of self is not a toleration of things which God expects me to crucify. Loving self is learning to identify and appreciate the woman God made me to be and doing what God made me to do.
One of my struggles has been to esteem the woman God made me to be. I used to compare myself with other women. Not a good idea for I always fell short in the comparison, disliking my body, my hair, my height, my clothing, my southern accent, etc. You name it, and I did not like it and would tell you so. I found myself locked in a dark closet of inferiority, dissatisfaction, and complaints. I did not love myself. In fact, I did not even like myself. I wanted to be some other “self.” I was not sure who that “self” was.
I am reminded of the story of Dr Frankenstein creating his monster. When I try to make myself who I am not, I have a “Frankenstein monster” in the closet.
One day I heard a sermon about the uniqueness of each one of us, and it dawned on me that I was “one of a kind.” I have been made and formed by the hand of God. Much thought was given by God to me, June Evans.
God needed me to be who He had created me to be. When I began to love myself many of the issues I struggled with went away. I no longer had to measure up to standards I could never achieve. Inferiority left when I ceased to compare myself with others. I did not have to compete to be the best, the greatest, etc. I just had to be myself and do what God had created me to do.
I am June Evans, one of a kind, and made that way by the most high God, called and equipped to do His purposes in the earth.
Loving self is not a narcissistic love. It is not a self love which is unhealthy and ungodly. Loving self is being “comfortable in my own skin” kind of love. Loving self is appreciating the thought and effort God has put into me. Loving self is doing what God has made me to do.
We women can be trapped in dark closets of inferiority, self hatred, dissatisfaction, comparisons, etc. My best advice is to give it up. Learn to appreciate your uniqueness, your calling, and the self that only you are to be. “Your own skin” is a lot more comfortable than being locked up in a dark closet with a Frankenstein monster.
“I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works. and that my soul knoweth quite well.” Psalm 139: 14
June Evans is Pastoral Advisor and keynote speaker for Women of the Word, a Christian womens conference ministry. She travels around the US teaching biblical principles in understandable and humorous ways, using life stories as examples. June is gifted in speaking to women across generations, cultures and denominations.