I will not let shame defeat me

I have not been to work out at the gym in a few weeks; life has become so busy that working out has slipped low on my list of things to do. Because I have not been working out lately with each bite of chocolate or cake that I eat I have been feeling extra guilty over it. I have gone down the path of thinking that if I hate my body enough that will be the thing I need to motivate me to always exercise and lead a balanced life.

But let me tell you that it is not working. This way of thinking is conditional love, I will only like myself or love myself when I look a certain way. I think that if I stop loving myself when I make a mistake it will help me to not make any more mistakes; it is like I am punishing myself. If I punish myself when I fail I will do better next time. That never works, that is shame.

Shame is the most defeating thing. Once I begin to walk in shame I want to stop trying. I give up and give in. When I feel shame I put a wall up around myself, protecting me from what I think that other people think of me. Shame also cuts me off from God (like in the garden of Eden) it stops my ability to receive love and most of the time I need love the most to fix what is going on for why I have shame in the first place.

Shame does the opposite of everything I want and I can no longer use shame to motivate myself. I need to break down the walls and let love come in. The perfect love of the Father is what sets me right once again; it picks me up and puts my feet back on solid ground. When I receive love from the Father it helps me to see myself as He sees me, and it helps me to love myself unconditionally.

So I stop and ask God what are His favorite things about me right here and right now, what is it that He loves about me. I learn to distinguish between what are my thoughts about myself and what are Gods thoughts about me. I must learn to manage my inner thought life. I need to listen to the truth about myself and then speak it out over myself. I speak it out until I believe it.

Only I have the authority over my thinking, my body, my soul and my mind. How I treat myself is so important because it will affect how I relate to the rest of the world.

I know that I am not the only one who struggles in this area. If you can identify with me then I encourage you to own the truth and speak it out over yourself too.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

God loves us no matter what. Learn to love yourself as much as the Father loves you. We need to see ourselves with our Fathers eyes and stop using shame to motivate us.

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Love unconditional

love

I am on a journey to loving myself. Not loving myself in a vain or conceited way that we often think about when we say somebody loves themselves, but that I love myself in a way that I am so comfortable in my skin and so comfortable with who I am that nothing gets in the way of me being the very person who God has created me to be.

One thing that I am learning is that I need to love myself unconditionally. I need to love myself with no conditions or boundaries in place. If I place conditions on loving myself then my self-talk looks like this… If I mess something up or if I fail at something then I stop loving myself.

When I stop loving myself it looks like this… I beat myself up internally, I tell myself that I am no good and so I stop trying at all. I hide away and put walls up around myself to protect me from other people. If I think terribly of myself then what do other people think of me? So I just hide away. All my thoughts are negative and self loathing.

I am not perfect, in fact I am far from it, so I am going to mess some stuff up. I am going to make mistakes, say things that I really shouldn’t say and do things that I wish that I hadn’t done. If I stopped loving and thinking kindly of myself every time that I messed up then I would hide away from the world permanently.

If I love myself unconditionally then my self-talk looks like this… no matter how great I do at something or how poorly I do, I choose to love myself. I choose to love myself no matter the outcome, before I even step out and do something; I am going to love myself no matter what.

I will choose not to beat myself up, not to sew seeds of doubt and self-condemnation. Just because I mess up every now and then does not make me a terrible person, I am flawed and I will make mistakes but that does not change who God has made me to be.

So many of the battles that we face are battles of the mind. Taking captive of our thoughts is so important and if we can take a hold of our thoughts towards our selves and keep them always framed in a language of love then we will be well on our way to loving ourselves well and well on our way to being the person that God created us to be.

Love so they will see the Father in your eyes

In 1 Peter 4:9-11 in The Message translation it says…

Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! 

It is calling us to be quick in helping others and to do it cheerfully. And it is calling us to not only help those who are in our immediate circle, the ‘comfortable’ people in our lives but to actually reach out to those who are outside of our sphere, to the homeless, the needy, the poor, those who have been dealt some bad circumstances in their lives. We are called to help immediately, as soon as we see their need we should lend a helping hand and to do it cheerfully. To help them like you love doing it, your help is heartfelt and that you should enjoy loving on them.

We are called to be generous with all that we have. We are so blessed and we should have a generous spirit and give to others, and not just because people need something but to give to others even if they do not need it. It is all about loving others, somebody does not have to be desperate to give them something.

If it is words that we are giving to another then let them be Gods words. His words are full of life, they give hope, they encourage and they express love. And if it is a helping hand we lend then let it be God’s hearty help. That means to help with no strings attached, we do it cheerfully and we put all of our effort into the thing that we are doing.

I love this song by Brian and Jenn Johnson. Its lyrics are…

Let me be filled with kindness and compassion for the one. The one whom you loved and gave your son, for humanity increase my love. Oh how He loves us, from the homeless to the famous and the in between. You formed us and You made us carefully, cause in the end we are all your children. Help me to love with open arms like you do. A love that erases all the lines and sees the truth. That when they look in my eyes, they would see You. Even in just a smile, they would feel the Father’s love.

It is a cry to God to help us to love like He does. God loves with open arms, His love erases all the lines between us. He loves us all unconditionally, from the homeless to the famous and in between. It does not matter who you are or what you have done, He loves us wholeheartedly.

The song is prayer asking God to help us stop for the one. To be able to see humanity as He sees them and to help us love them like He does. And that when they see us, when they look into our eyes as we encounter them with our love, that they will see the Fathers love staring right back at them.

Love heals our wounds

love one another deeply (1)

We know that we are called to love one another deeply. In the message translation it reads…

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. 1 Peter 4:8 (The Message)

I love how it says that love makes up for practically anything. 

We need to love each other deeply which means even when it is hard or even if it hurts we still need to respond in love. And not just the fluffy love, but that deep down fully committed kind of love.

I am seeing how that deep love heals wounds of our past, wounds we didn’t even know were there. We are a Foster Care family, and in the Foster Care system there are plenty of broken and hurting people. Both the children who are placed into Foster Care and their parents and family are all broken and hurting.

I have seen first hand how deep love can heal wounds. How when you put your whole self into loving and caring for someone you can begin to see their hearts begin to open up and to heal.

They begin to trust again and have hope that there is a bright future ahead of them.  They feel that they are no longer alone in this big wide world but that there is actually somebody who loves and cares for them deeply. Somebody who cares when they are hurting, who cares when they are sad and lonely and somebody who will hold them through all this pain.

Loving deeply looks like devotion, compassion, caring, concern, warmth, friendliness, friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindness, unselfishness, brotherliness, sisterliness, humanity.

It is not just saying that I will pray for you when you are facing difficulties and despair, loving deeply looks like stopping right where you are and instantly praying for them releasing hope and healing words into them. It is not saying I hope you feel better soon when your friend is unwell it is going above and beyond to care and provided for them in their time of need. It is going completely out of your way, out of your comfort zone and even making sacrifices to put somebody else’s needs above your own.  It is helping the poor, the orphan and the widow. It is being the hands and feet of Jesus to a broken and hurting world.

So love oneanother deeply. Your deep love can make up for practically anything. It can make up for past hurts, pain and brokenness. It can make up for loneliness, hopelessness and depression. Deep love releases hope, healing, life and freedom. Love someone deeply today, you will not regret it.

Love deeply

love one another deeply

Lately I have been pondering what love really looks like. I guess I had been thinking about it because I was finding it difficult to love others. It is not too difficult to love the people that are easy to love but I was really struggling to love those difficult people, we all know that we have some of those kinds of people in our lives but we are called to love even them.

In 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 22 it says that we are to love one another deeply, from the heart.  It means that we are not to love half heartedly but we are to love with all of our heart. In the message version it says to love one another as if your life depended on it.

When it puts it like that it makes me feel like in some areas of loving others I am failing miserably. It really challenged me to lift my game in the loving others department.

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. 1 Peter 1: 13-17 The Message

I love how it says in these verses to let your self be pulled into a way of life shaped by Gods life. A life that is energetic and blazing with holiness. The Lord wants us to align our hearts, minds and lives with His.

Now that we have Jesus living inside of us we can leave our old way of thinking and living behind and take up our new position as Gods children. Children who know the Lords nature as good, loving, kind and compassionate. We let ourselves be pulled into living a life shaped by Gods life, Gods nature.

So to lift my game in the loving others deeply department I began a process of aligning myself with the Lords heart once again. Reminding myself of His perfect nature, looking at what I really loved most about Him and then try to take up those qualities myself.

I remembered that I am unconditionally loved by my heavenly Father and that I had been taken into His family and there is plenty of love to go around. I am His precious daughter and I will never be with out so I do not need to have jealousy or envy towards others in my heart. Basically I filled myself up with thoughts on what my true identity is and that I am safe and secure in the Father and I can reach out and love others no matter what they say, what they do or what they think because these things have no affect on me in any way.

That is what really stops us from loving others well, how they react to us and the world around them. We often find ourselves not wanting to love them because they have a bad attitude so we think that they do not deserve our love and attention or that they have done something terrible so we think that they deserve their consequences and we do not extend mercy or grace to them.

But we are called to love others deeply, from the heart, so we need to make sure our hearts are in the right place, aligned with the Fathers heart, full of love, grace, mercy and compassion.

The verse above also says that when you call out to God for help He helps—He’s a good Father that way. If you are struggling in the loving others department or even in loving yourself then call out to God for help. And in His goodness He will come alongside you and show you the way.