Sunday, January 25, 2015

Self-Love...What It Is and What It Isn't

"The most terrible and violent of our own afflictions is to despise our own beings." -
Michel De Montaigne

Self-Love. Two small words whose meaning runs so deep.

Self-love is the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person.

Self-love shouldn't be confused with narcissism. To love oneself means acceptance. Narcissism is being in love with yourself.

Love is a verb and it is expressed through our actions.  

I love this quote - "Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you."

I thought this was such an important subject. When your in a domestic violence situation your vision of yourself is skewed. I came out of that situation with such low self-esteem. Well, virtually non-existent self-esteem would be more accurate.
There was a time in my life after that when rejection would thrust me into doing self-harm. I would turn all that pain inward and punish myself. Abuse victims often experience that. We can't handle criticism. Or for that matter, even gentle correction. Immediately, all we see is rejection. It has taken me years to learn to love myself. Accepting my flaws. I always strive to improve, but no longer see all the lies I was told over the years. Loving yourself means protecting yourself from harm.

Choosing to love and accept yourself is the most important decision you will ever make. It will affect every area of your life. So do it, and let it be your superpower, if you will. Self-love actually increases our ability to love other people.

I read something very interesting recently. "Self-love is not a crime." So why then is it we are so hard on ourselves?

Well, first it could be depression. Certain situations you've experienced in your lifetime can lead to low self-esteem and devaluing yourself. That person needs positive feedback in order to feel worthwhile and validated as a person. And while doing for others is what we should do, if your accepting of yourself, you won't requite that positive affirmation in return.

Secondly, you may have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Have you ever stopped to notice how critical you are of yourself as opposed to how critical you are of others? 

How perfect of an example of love it is that God loves us (imperfect) people, perfectly. Perfect loves casts out all fear. We should be secure in the knowledge that He loves us, and in turn we should love ourselves.
It's being selfish not to love ourselves.Have you thought about the second commandment? Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love our neighbor as yourself." So if we don't love ourselves, we can't follow the commandment.

I survived. I am beautiful. I am desirable. I am worthy. I love. I am loved. 

When you are accepting of yourself, things become easier. The little things no longer seem like a crisis. You're happier. Your relationships improve. Not to mention, you're healthier. Life itself becomes simpler.

Self-love can be reborn by practicing self-affirming activities. I have found fitness greatly helps me in this area. I have also recently taken up Tia-Chi. Exercise is very helpful (and for me therapeutic) when dealing with depression.
I also spend time in prayer. Matthew 7:7-8 says  “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” Talk to your Heavenly Father. He longs to hear from you. He wants to help you.

My hope for you is that you realize how truly valuable you are. Thank you for walking with me on this journey. Know you are not alone. If I can help just one person who is struggling or needs encouragement, it makes it all worthwhile.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Discovering The Proverbs 31 Woman

Hello loves and happy new year!!

Oh how I have missed you these last few months. I can't believe it's been that long since my last post. I hope you have been enjoying the recipes I've shared with you. If so, stay tuned because I have a lot more to share this year. I love the ring I am wearing in the photo above. My daughter gave it to me as a birthday present. It is inscribed in Hebrew; The Song of Solomon; "I am His, and He is mine." Which happens to be one of my favorites! :)

This new year I wanted to study the Proverbs 31 woman more in depth. I am focusing more this year on my health and body. I have always taken good care of myself physically, but let's always remember our bodies are our temple. The place where Christ dwells. And what better way to show reverence to God our Father, than to take the best possible care of ourselves.

As you probably already know, I love the Proverbs 31 woman. But, I didn't know her as well as I thought I did. I knew her as a wife and mother, but now that all my little ones have grown and moved out, I have gotten to know her as a woman.

Let's start this post by focusing on the word "virtuous". Usually moral purity comes to mind, right?

Let's dig a little deeper. Virtuous is defined as:

Adj. - Having or showing high moral standards. But I would like to focus on the synonyms...
righteousness, good, pure, whiter than snow, saintly, angelic, moral, ethical, upright, upstanding, high-minded, principled, exemplary, and so on.

In Hebrew, the word virtuous is "chavil" (or "havil") which translates to mean strength, power and might. It seems a virtuous woman would be a strong woman. She would have strength of character, not just morality, (or moral purity). So before we go any farther, let's not confuse strength and power with fleshly characteristics. She shouldn't be over-bearing, bossy, inconsiderate and so forth. There needs to be balances in her relationships. This strength of character in which we're speaking of comes about by having been broken. Just like a horse who is wild, needs be be broken and tamed, we too, need to let go of our egos and personal agendas, and let God guide our vocations.

Ruth 3:11 states: "And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability)."

Of course, (as in my post last year) the Proverbs 31 woman is skilled in homemaking and raising her children to be godly. She is a good business woman and knows how to turn a profit.

But she also has self-worth. A purpose given to her by God. A Proverbs 31 woman is strong in all facets of her life!

We as women need to work on believing and applying God's agenda for our lives. He wants to release us from the enemies lies. John 10:10 states: "A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." MSG

She is more valuable than rubies...

In Proverbs 31 the entire chapter speaks of a woman who is confident, able, efficient, and wise. "How joyful is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding, because she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 3:13-15)

May we be the women of whom He can say..."Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it... She senses the worth of her work, and is never in a hurry to call it quits for the day... When she speaks she always has something worthwhile to say, and says it kindly... She's quick to assist anyone in need, and reaches out to help the poor... Her children respect and bless her; and her husband joins in with words of praise."

I hope this coming year will be a blessed one for you, dear friends. And that you will grow in your relationship with Him, the one who created you in His image. What better way to begin a new year than to become a better wife, mother, woman, and daughter of the King!

All my love,

Anna ~