Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower, wife, mother, and aspiring writer of women’s inspirational fiction. If you are interested in reading more, please feel free to visit:
If God Loves Me, Why Can’t I Love Myself?
“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
The world teaches us that beauty is only skin deep and if you don’t fit into the world’s standard of “perfect,” then you are somehow not worthy. God tells us that He is more concerned with our heart than our body.
There are multiple verses in the Bible where God talks about how much He loves each and every one of us. He doesn’t play favorites, He doesn’t compare, and He doesn’t value our outward bodies more than our inner spirit. Yes, He wants us to take care of both our body and our spirit, but He loves us the same, regardless of what we look like or what “issue” we are working on presently. God loves us with real love: He purposefully chose His Son to die on the cross to allow us a chance to live with Him for all eternity. The only thing we have to do is invite His Son into our lives and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior.
So…if God loves me (us) that much, why is it so hard to love myself (ourselves)? Being a bit of a perfectionist, I really struggle with this issue and am working on changing my mindset. I am very hard on myself. If my friend makes a mistake, it’s a mistake. If I make a mistake, it’s the end of the world. If the scale shows me a number that is not acceptable, I stop eating all junk food or skip meals, punishing myself. If my friend sees a number that isn’t acceptable, I tell her she’s probably retaining water and watch, it will go back down in a few days.
I am realizing that if God can love me regardless of what the number is on the scale, whether or not I have exercised 3.5 times this week, or if I got mad while driving and said something I regret, then He would want me to love myself too. Not the kind of self-centered love that the world glorifies – where I am catered to and my every whim is fulfilled. No…but I should learn to cut myself some slack. If I got mad in traffic, you know what? I can learn from that experience and do better next time, and having an audience in the car in the form of my children is good incentive to work hard at improving faster. If the scale is creeping into (or past) the danger zone, then I can cut back on desserts at every meal and have the occasional treat instead, not punishing myself by complete denial but loving myself enough to get back into a healthy weight range. I should strive to be healthy and put exercise in my life so I have the energy to enjoy life and fulfill God’s purpose for me, but not beat myself up about missing a day here or there when life gets in the way.
A wise woman told me and I keep reminding myself of this daily, sometimes hourly…If I wouldn’t say out loud to a friend the messages that play internally about myself, then I shouldn’t be saying it to me either.
God doesn’t expect me to be perfect; in fact, He knows that I will never achieve perfection here on Earth…so why should I expect perfection of myself? Besides, perfection would be boring.