All You Need is Love

I have spent some time lately looking at old pictures because my oldest is set to graduate in a few short months and I need to find pictures to display during his graduation party. I was looking at a few pictures the other night from years gone by. One of them was taken when I was at my largest/heaviest. I am here to tell you, looking at some of those pictures is painful. It’s very painful, actually. Not because I feel sorry for the very, very big girl in the pictures. No, not really. More so, because I am finding it really hard to love “that” girl. I don’t know the last time I was really kind to her. The other day, I mentioned this to a dear friend of mine, a very wise woman. She had been married before her current husband and had raised a family with this man. But her first marriage had been very difficult. I told her I was looking at these pictures and the smile on “that” girl’s face made me sad. I hadn’t smiled big in years and my eyes were sad. She said I reminded her of a time when she had looked at a family photograph of her and her children with her ex-husband. She said that she felt sorry for the woman in the picture. I asked her if she ever struggled with loving that woman in the photo.  She answered simply, “No. She tried so hard . . . but not able to change the other person. She was dutiful to stay. She loved the man until she couldn’t love him anymore.” I then told her that I was struggling to love THAT girl in my photos. Heck, I’m struggling to love THIS girl.

There are so many things to which I can attribute the difficulty I have in loving myself. I have been in church most of my life. (There was a 3 year span when I was not attending church and a lot of lessons were learned during that time and I’ll leave it there.) I grew up in the church, went to a Christian school for 6 years and have raised our family in church. I am a born-again believer, Christ-follower and sinner, saved by God’s grace. Throughout my life, both in and outside the church, I have been surrounded by people who all have different opinions on what we should think about ourselves. Without chasing a rabbit here, I will let you in on a few things I believe about self-love. I have met people who live like they believe that humility is more about self-degradation and deprivation than simply holding others in higher esteem than themselves. I don’t believe that we have to put ourselves down in order to hold others higher. And I believe firmly in what the Bible says when it tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But, to do THAT, we must recognize in those verses the forethought that we are to love ourselves. Not with a prideful, “better-than-anyone-else” kind of love. Not thinking we are “more than” anyone else. But also not thinking we are “less than” anyone else. 

The old adage, “What would Jesus do?” . . .  WWJD . . . can be reworded to fit in this instance.  We could ask ourselves, “What does Jesus think?” . . . About us?  About you? About me? One thing’s for sure. He loves us beyond measure. He gave His life for us. And why would WE not love His creation? Starting with ourselves. For me, it’s normally fairly easy to love others. And I think most people don’t find it too hard to love themselves. I have read that for most people self-love isn’t hard. Most people typically tend to think fairly highly of themselves. For others, sometimes that is hard. I haven’t loved “this” girl in a long time. If ever, if I’m being completely honest. 

I spoke last week about finding my voice. I don’t think I KNOW exactly what my next calling in this life is going to be. But I do know I am meant for something greater than what I am doing with my life right now. I am being called to a higher purpose. One with more Kingdom impact. But to find that purpose and flesh it out, so to speak, I have to find my voice. And I have to find a way to love Lacy. I am writing about “losing Lacy” during those years I gained weight. But “loving Lacy” may be the next chapter.

I am slowly understanding that the girl in the photos was and is worthy of receiving kindness from me. She was and is worthy of my love. King David in the Bible was tasked with gathering the materials that would be used to build the temple. While he was never going to see that project come to fruition and completed, he laid the groundwork for it. He purchased the land, materials and such that would be used. In doing so, he helped King Solomon (his son and temple builder) achieve HIS purpose and build it. Much in that way, that girl in the photos I am struggling to love in the state she was in for so many years has laid the groundwork and has gathered resources outside herself and has prepared “this girl” to find her purpose. 

What I realized when my friend told me that she didn’t struggle to love the girl in the photos with her family all those years ago was this: only through seeing ourselves through the eyes of Christ and learning to love ourselves through those eyes can healing and understanding and compassion and love take place and grow and blossom. Without proper self-love and self-care we cannot in any capacity care for and love those nearest and dearest to us let alone the world outside of those we love so dearly. As I’ve said before, you are worth whatever it takes to be healthy in whatever way matters the most to you. And I’m praying that whoever needs to hear this can learn to love YOU as the creation God made and the purposes He has set in motion for your life. Learn to love YOU. God sure does.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

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