I heard a radio DJ sign off with the catch phrase, “Be good to yourself, and better to others”.
I liked it, because it’s a pretty good reminder – but as I pondered all that goes into those two simple points, there were various convictions, I’m not sure the DJ was trying to make.
First, it is so easy for some of us to hold self-contempt. Meaning, we blame ourselves for a lot, and can be rather hard on ourselves. This obviously isn’t a kind thing to do, and often is rooted from harm we experienced in our past.
For me, it is the deep rooted fear, oftentimes subconscious, that I am “not enough”. It’s a fear of failure for sure, but more than that, it’s a fear that I’m not the right fit for a particular situation, relationship, person, position, and/or need.
It’s just a down right feeling of inadequacy, and that there’s nothing I can do about it.
Not a healthy, or kind emotion to hold of oneself. However, I also know it’s an absolute lie I have chosen to listen to for far too long.
Clearly, this isn’t God’s voice. For He repeats time and again that we are His beloved, His children, and His dearest creation. His love builds us up, speaks truth, breaks down lies, and never heaps shame, and guilt.
He calls us by our true name, knows our true self, and transforms us into these living vessels of hope through His profound love.
So, being “good to ourself” is not always easy to do. For it doesn’t necessarily always imply we are to satisfy our every whim, but rather, to understand who we truly are, and to allow God’s healing to transform our hearts, and minds so that we may live out this freedom on a daily basis.
To do so means dealing with the lies and false agreements we have made, and embracing our first love – Jesus.
Now, the next part of being “better to others” can begin to take momentum. For as we embrace God’s love for us, we begin to love Him more and more, and as this gratitude, truth, trust, and reality compounds, our hearts can’t help but overflow and share this love, this goodness, this peace, and this joy with others.
We see this laid out plainly as Jesus tells us “to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and others as we love ourself”.
Sadly, I can understand God’s wrath, and judgment, better than His love. I see what separation from God looks like all around. Depravity, destruction, distortion, decay, darkness, and deception play out daily, and we experience it simply by living in a fallen world.
But God’s love? Yes – It’s all around too, but how often do we see it? Do we look for it? Do we believe it?
It can be so much easier at times to see the bad in others, and ourselves over the good; and to believe the harmful lies about others, and ourselves over the honoring truth.
Thankfully, although there is brokenness all around, there is also beauty. God’s love is in the here and now. It is healing hearts, binding wounds, and saving souls right now.
And as His beloved – we get to discover the beauty of joining in this good fight, learning and growing in His love, and sharing in the joy of helping others break free from the bondage that tethers so many of us from our true self, our true calling, and our true identity.