Monday, January 29, 2018

Self-Love vs. God’s Love



“Believe in yourself.” | “Make yourself happy first.” | “Treat yoself.” | “Love yourself first. | “Be who you want to be.” | “You’re worth it.”


Do some of these look familiar? Maybe you’ve seen quotes like this on Pinterest in front of a pretty, inspiring background. They’re common things to see on posters and makeup commercials, scattered about on Twitter and Instagram, hear people say on Disney Channel, or just passed from one person to the next. They’re motivating, right? Make you feel good about yourself.


How about this one?


Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” –Matthew 16:24


WHOA. Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound right. Deny ourselves? That’s not what we’re meant to do! We’re supposed to love ourselves. That’s the most important thing. Self-love. Because if we don’t love ourselves, we’re incapable of loving anybody or anything, right?


Well, that’s certainly what today’s society is trying to teach us. But you know what I’ve discovered through the year? Selfishness leaves no room for others.


A lot of people may instantly recoil at this and claim “self-love” has nothing to do with selfishness. I realize that, I understand where people are coming from with it. (Which I’ll discuss more in a bit.) But the thing is: Humans are selfish beings. Why do you think these self-love quotes capture us? Because we’re selfish. We want to be told it’s okay to focus on ourselves.


This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5


That looks awfully familiar to today’s society, doesn’t it?


Selfishness is rooted into human nature from the very beginning. Think about it, little children have to be taught how to share because it’s their natural instinct to claim everything for themselves. To have their way. We have to fight the urge of selfishness from the very second our brains are capable of understanding what that is. Aren’t we all still toddlers, desperately wanting our own way? It’s a fight, every single day. And when the whole world is telling you to “love yourself”, it makes that fight a whole, whole lot harder and, eventually, seem pointless, wrong even, to deny self.


But self-love can be so destructive. The selfishness of our society makes me sick. Sometimes I can’t even watch TV because you can physically see the self-centeredness on actors’ faces. And it’s not attractive, let me tell you.


You know what is attractive? What makes a person beautiful and truly shine? Humility. Selflessness. Love for others.



Have you ever had one of those conversations where the person ends up solely talking about themselves and doesn’t even seem to acknowledge you? Do you walk away thinking, “Wow, what a wonderful person. They’re so confident in themselves. How admirable.” Prooobably not. It’s usually pretty annoying, am I right?


Now what about those individuals who ask you questions about yourself and shows enthusiasm for your passions? Aren’t those the beautiful, admirable people in this world? The people we want to be like?



Self-love says we can’t truly love anyone until we love ourselves. But focusing on one’s self makes other people fall by the wayside.


I struggle with selfishness daily. It’s one of my worst problems. My vanity is a big, ugly thing I’m constantly trying to fight, and constantly finding it creeping back in, taking over everything. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from it, it’s that the more I focus on myself the less I see others.


Being a writer makes it harder. Because we’re supposed to promote ourselves. It’s literally our job to draw people to us and praise our work and gain as many followers as we possibly can.


This used to be very hard for me. Over the years of blogging and immersing in social media, it’s become easier, natural even. In fact, I rather like “promoting myself”. Maybe too much. Because, yes, it’s definitely my job to grow a platform, but God gave me this passion for writing to use it to glorify Him. And I fail at that daily. I get so caught up in gaining followers and trying to prove I’m a good writer, that God gets pushed behind me, me, me.


But when God gives you a gift, it should never be kept for yourself. We are supposed to take it and then pour it out for others. Show people God’s amazingness through us, show what He has done.



Now, I think a million and one people would get on me for saying these things. Because isn’t denying ourselves unhealthy? People hurt themselves and commit suicide every day because they hate themselves, feel unworthy and unloved. It’s heartbreaking. I love people. People is my jam. And it tears my heart in two when I see others hate on themselves.  So I absolutely get this self-love movement.


I’m a huge believer in confidence. I have spent almost my whole life working on being a confident person and few years back something clicked with it. Ever since, I have been much more satisfied. We should be confident in ourselves. But there is a fine line between confidence and selfishness. And our human nature does so love to slip into that selfish behavior more often than not.


It’s a tricky thing. Sheesh, I agree with some of those “self-love” quotes. And there is a time and place for self care and to focus on our own pursuits. We can pour ourselves out too much and need time to refuel. And we should leave plenty of room to pursue our own passion. Lately I’ve been realizing I spend so much time helping other writers, I haven’t really left any room to work on my own books. And thus I have had to learn to say no (which is hard because I love supporting all my dear writer friends!) and take time out each day to work on my personal projects. I’m not saying we should pour ourselves out until we’re dry to the bone and don’t ever get to chase our own dreams. Again, I get what we’re trying to do with this “self-love” movement, but I think we’re going about it in the completely opposite way we should be.


You know what brings true joy and happiness and satisfaction and love?


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” –Philippians 2:3-4


Value others above yourselves.
Now that is quite the different tone from these motivating self-love quotes, isn’t it? Because that’s the thing with those quotes—there’s a pattern. Can you see it?


Every single one of them acknowledges YOU. Love yourself. Make yourself happy. You’re worth it.


But God’s Word tells us over and over again to deny ourselves, to die to self, to seek humility. The answer to happiness and love can never be found within ourselves. It’s through GOD. But there’s absolutely no room for Jesus if we’re filled up on “self”. But if we fill up on Jesus, we will never run dry. We will find that His goals for us are our dreams and passions, and can chase them all the farther because He is the one driving us, not ourselves.


I’m sick and tired of this world of focusing on self, self, self. It’s a sickness that grows larger and larger the more we feed it.



To truly shine, is to put “self-love” away and accept God’s Love.


He is all the beauty and love in this universe. And when He is within you, you will shine more brightly, live more confidently, find more joy, and love more deeply than any amount of inspirational self-love quotes can ever give you.


Self-love is a shallow love that will eventually lead to bitterness. God’s love is true love that will lead to fulfillment and satisfaction. If we honestly want the best for ourselves and to “treat ourselves”, we will stop glossing over our sins and instead hand them over to Jesus and accept His love for us.


“Believe in yourself” is the big slogan Disney is very fond of using. Well, I don’t know about you but I’d much rather believe in the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Creator of the Universe than myself.


“And all these things shall be added unto you.”

 


TALK WITH ME!

Hope you guys didn’t mind the rant! I know this is a bit of a different post from normal, but it’s been on my mind for…a long time. And, as writers, I do think it’s extremely important we keep centered on Him and use our gifts for His glory. SO LET’S TALK! What are your thoughts on this issue? I know it’s a tricky one and I’d love to debate it with you all and bounce ideas off of each other!

45 comments:

  1. This says everything I’ve thought for a long time. Thank you! The world needs more of this. Like you said, we’re supposed to deny ourselves and take up our crosses. Jesus came to serve, not be served, even though He deserved all the attention we could give Him. He’s our model, not the world. :)

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    1. Beautifully said! Jesus is our all-in-all. We should want to serve HIM, not ourselves, because HE has the best for us. We tend to have the worst for ourselves, even if we don't realize it at the time. XD

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  2. Oh my goodness, Christine, this was wonderful. <33333 I absolutely feel ya on the selfishness--I've been realizing lately how bad I am at talking to people, at making them feel valued, at turning the center of attention away from me. I hate that I'm like that, and I pray all the time that my ego will deflate and I'll be a more loving person. It takes a lot of work. God is faithful; that's the biggest thing that keeps me going. This was a wonderful post; thank you :)

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    1. *huuuugs* Thank you!

      Oh yes, it's such a struggle! I'm realizing how much I accidentally turn the conversation toward me, and I'm working really hard to stop that. But, girl, I've seen your heart for others! You're a beautiful vessel for Christ and it's wonderful you're always trying to seek Him and be better. He is SO faithful! ^_^

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  3. This honestly didn't feel like a rant - I agree with everything you said, Christine!!!

    It is a fine line between dying to self and being depressed. I think if we revived the concept of sacrificial love, it would make explanations a lot easier.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, that is such a relief to hear! Lol. Because I was a little nervous to share. But I just had to spill out my thoughts before they exploded in my head. XD

      YES. Just...YESSSS!!! What a beautiful, straightforward way of saying it. Sacrificial love is the most important thing, but it seems to be dying away and it breaks my heart.

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  4. This was great!! I feel like our generation is a bunch of people who are wanting to please themselves and put their own comforts first, and are only going to be disappointed. We are supposed to put God first (after all, man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever), and everything after that will simply fall into place!

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    1. Thank you!

      I so, SO agree. We have become a sickeningly selfish generation, and it's tearing us apart. But, as you beautifully put, our very purpose for living is to glorify God. If we'd only pursue that purpose, what a beautiful world we'd live in.

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    2. Someone else who quotes the catechism! Nobody mind me while I flail!

      (Sorry, stranger. I don't even know you, it's just exciting to see that familiar line.)

      https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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  5. You are absolutely right. Lots of people need to hear this. You speak truth where others are afraid to. Yes, we must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others, but we shouldn't be so selfish that our pursuits are above Jesus. Jesus leads, we follow. Thank you for this post. <3

    ~Ivie
    Ivie Writes

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    1. "Jesus leads, we follow." That is EXACTLY it. And why wouldn't we want to follow the One who has the very best for us? We let our selfishness blind us from His very best and it's so sad.

      Thank YOU for your comment. It so encourages me to see others wanting to glorify Him! <3

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  6. AHAHAHAHAA I LOVE THIS POST bc it goes against everything I've heard from everywhere lol I AGREE 1000%

    - lisa @ inkwell

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    1. OKAY BUT YOUR COMMENT MADE. MY. DAY. I was kind of terrified to post this because it IS against what basically eeeeveryone says. But I just couldn't help but spill it out. It encourages me so much that there are others that see this and agree! ^_^

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  7. This! I've been trying to say this for years, and you put it into the perfect words! Excuse me while I go share this post on Facebook. It's fantastic.

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    1. D'awww! It's something I wanted to talk about for a while, and eventually it just exploded from my head into words. Lol. But AWK! I'd be so honored if you'd share it. Thank you so much! I'm really happy that I'm not alone in believing all of this. <333

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  8. Yes to the things! Lovely post. :) I totally know what you're saying, too, about sometimes not giving time for oneself and one's writing, so I have such a hard time balancing the two. :-/ It's definitely a struggle! But yes, focusing on God's love is so important, and believing in only ourselves and putting ourselves first is just not the way. Thanks for your thoughtful sharing! :)

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    1. Awww, thanks! ^_^

      Oh man, it's SUCH a struggle finding that balance. Because I want to help people and serve but I need to make time for my own writing and just slkdjflskjdf. IT'S HARD. But I guess we get by day to day through the grace of God. Goodness knows He has a lot of patience with me. XD

      Anyways! Thanks so much, girl. Glad you enjoyed it! <3

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  9. I loved this! Selfishness is something that I struggle with too, but everything you said here was so true. Jesus is perfect - literally - and He loves us more than we can imagine. We are decidedly imperfect, so it makes sense that our love can't be as strong and fulfilling as His, especially when it's directed towards ourselves.

    Thanks for this beautiful post, Christine!

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    1. Thank you! I think selfishness is one of the biggest struggles with humanity, which is why all these quotes and talks about focusing on self can really harm us. But YES! I looove how you said that. We're imperfect so our love CAN'T be great as His. What a beautiful point!

      Thank YOU for your comment. You have blessed me! ^_^

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  10. AMEN!!!

    I've noticed the "believe in yourself" trend ever since I was a little girl, because my mom would point it out to me in movies and explain its worldliness. It's EVERYWHERE! She and I often laugh now when we're watching a Disney or a Hallmark and the same inevitable message pops up. It's almost to the point of being ludicrous.

    I love reading posts in which I can say "Amen!" to every single word. This was one of them. :)

    ~Lizzy

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    1. That is so lovely your mom made sure to explain how backwards the "believe in yourself" thing is. When we grow up hearing that over and over and over in all our movies, it can really mess with the brain. And it IS everywhere, yes! It's getting kinda redundant at this point. XD

      Awww! That is so sweet. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! <3

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  11. I apologize if my comment posts multiple times... blogger doesn't like me lately, and it looks as though it was attempting to eat my comment.... ?

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    1. Or... if it doesn't show up at all... ?

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    2. UGGGH. Blogger keeps doing this to my commenters! I can see your comment in my inbox, but yeah, it didn't show up here. I'm really upset with blogger. How dare it eat all the lovely comments! >.>

      But, like I said, I was able to see it in my inbox and it made me smile. Thank you, Jenelle! <3

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    3. Oh good, well, at least you were able to see it!

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  12. "Well, I don’t know about you but I’d much rather believe in the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Creator of the Universe than myself."

    ^^^^^ AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! Whenever I see the quote "Believe in yourself," I shake my head in sadness/frustration.

    What a powerful, inspiring post, Christine! Thank you for sharing this - lots of people need to hear it. Or, such as yours truly ^.^, be reminded of it.

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

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    1. I'm just sitting here grinning over your comment. It's so beautiful that so many others want to pursue God and see the harm in all this self-love stuff. It really encourages and inspires me.

      Thank you so much! <333

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  13. Someone needed to say this, and you did it beautifully. I find that society is constantly pushing the "focus on you' which is the exact opposite of what God wants us to do.

    Beautiful post!

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    1. Awww! ^_^ Exactly right! It's reeeally not helping our desire for selfishness when we're TOLD to be selfish. Heh.

      Thanks so much! <3

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  14. (Sorry I'm so late! :-Z)
    I loved this post, Christine! It was so beautiful, and what you said is so true. Too many times I've seen people say "Be who you want to be"; "Be yourself"; "Believe in yourself"; "Take care of number 1"; and so many other things of that sort. They don't realize that they're showing a selfish attitude. Loving others comes first. Besides...I don't want to believe in myself; I would mess things up pretty fast. :-Z Thank you so much for sharing! XD

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    1. (A wizard is never late! :P)
      D'awwww! That makes me happy! And YES to everything you said! I'm laughing so hard at you saying you don't want to believe in yourself because I SAY THAT VERY THING ALL THE TIME. Like...ugh, no. I make the worst decisions. It's a RELIEF that I don't have to believe in myself. That'd be awful. XD

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  15. This is so beautiful... I just...have no words. So lovely. Thank you Christine. <333

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    1. *happy squeal* Thank you, Madeline! You've made my day! <3

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  16. This is an interesting discussion and I do agree there's a fine line between confidence and vanity. For years, I was so scared of being vain that I denied myself confidence. So yes I agree we should value others and God above ourselves and not let our love for ourselves blind us toward others and above, but I also believe it's important to love yourself as in not hate who you are. Love your personality, love your body, and stay away from the comparative game. That's what I think of when I think of loving yourself. When I was a teenager I grew to hate how I spoke, what I ate, how I looked, and that was extremely dangerous. It took me years to get how I am now which is I like what I eat even though I like weird things like mochi, kimchi, and eel. I like how I look even if I have a bit of a pooch on my stomach. I like how I talk. There's nothing wrong with having a large vocabulary. But I don't think of myself higher than other people because of these things or inconvenience other people to suit my needs. So yes fine balance as you said, but I just felt like sharing that. XD It got longer than I thought it would.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. I LOVE WHAT YOU SAID AND TOTALLY AGREE. I should have shared some of these thoughts. I actually had WAY more to say about this subject, but my rant was getting long enough as it was, so I omitted some stuff from the post. XD

      But YES. I absolutely am not saying we should loath ourselves. Like I said, confidence is sooo important to me. Hating ourselves is an insult to God itself, because He created us and does not mean for us to hate on His creation. Confidence and loving the personality traits He gave you is so, so important. I should have stressed that more in my post!

      I think it's beautiful you've learned to love yourself and all your fun traits. It took me yeeears, and I'm still working on it, but I, too, am starting to appreciate this crazy personality I have. And I think God wants us to. He wants us to love the person He created us to be.

      Anyways! My comment is getting long too. Lolz. But I love that you appreciate your beautiful self and personality, but of course don't put yourself higher than other people. That's precisely how it's meant to be. Thank you for sharing all of that with me! *HUGS*

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  17. Wow. Just wow. I has NO WORDS. What a beautiful reminder! Oh, Lauri, you are such a dearheart. We all needed to hear this! <3

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    1. D'awwww! SARAH. What am I gonna do with your preciousness? I'm so happy you enjoyed this! <333

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  18. This is awesome, Lauri! Recently I've been going through a time of learning self-care because of health issues and I don't give myself any grace, so God has had to knock me down and teach me to give myself a break. It's so hard to find the balance though, of not being selfish, yet taking care of ourselves to better serve Him. This post was AMAZING and I'm probably going to link to it in the future--if you don't mind??

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    1. Awww, thanks, girl! ^_^

      Self-care is really important and I probably should have stressed that more! Because we're a temple of Christ and are SUPPOSED to take care of ourselves and even dress well. We're representing Him after all. I had so much more to say on this subject but this got long enough. XD But yes, self-care is a very important thing and I'm glad you're taking it seriously. (I need to work on it more myself.)

      But yeah, finding that balance is really difficult! Because our selfish nature can take it too far. XD I guess the key is to make sure everything we do is to glorify GOD, to make sure our acts are serving His kingdom and not ourselves. *nods*

      But EEP. I'm so honored you liked this post. Oh my goodness, YES YOU CAN LINK TO IT. I'D BE SO HONORED! :D Thank you, Pickle! <333

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  19. PREACH IT, SISTER. An over-emphasis on self actually gets... exhausting after a while. I was realizing a couple of months ago, during a really full season in school, that I was so busy to the point that I felt like I was just looking after myself. Just surviving, and not having the energy to give to others. And I hated that feeling. But it's amazing how, when we fill up with Jesus's love toward us first, we have more than enough to pour into other people!

    This post was a good reminder to give my head a shake and look BEYOND today, BEYOND myself and my own concerns. "And all these things will be added to you." I love how you ended it with that verse, because it's so true! We get our priorities messed up and pursue "all these things," relegating God's Kingdom to the back burner... when it should be the other way around. And then "all these things" will come to us without the striving, the struggling, and the burnout--AND we'll be loving others like crazy while we're at it. That's what I want in my life.

    *HUGS* Thank you for a beautiful post! <333

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    1. Awwwww! Lol! ^_^
      YESSSS. In a single paragraph you literally said everything I was trying to! THAT'S EXACTLY IT. I, too, get so busy I only focus on myself, only focus on surviving and getting MY things done, and totally forget to pour into other people. It's seriously a struggle every single day and I hate that about myself. You're absolutely right--when we fill up on Jesus, we have a river of love to pour on others!

      I feel like most of this post was preaching to myself! Lol. Because yep, again, I focus on the today and myself and getting all my little tasks done, all the little shallow things, and don't look at the big picture, at GOD'S plan for my life. Again, you said it perfectly! God's Kingdom should come first, and everything else will fall into place.

      *HUGS BACK* I'm so happy you liked it. Thank YOU for your precious comment. It really blessed me! ^_^

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  20. AHHHH YES, YES, YES. This is exactly what I've been thinking for so long but have never gotten to express.

    Obviously, you don't want to be selfless to the extent where you don't take care of yourself and don't follow through with your own tasks, but for the most part, "self-love" or "self-care" shouldn't be the focus.

    Thank you for writing this! I'm definitely bookmarking it to share.

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    1. *BEAMS* It's so good seeing others with this mentality of realizing the poison of this whole "love yourself first" society we've dug ourselves into.

      YES. You put it perfectly! Self-care is so, sooo important. We NEED time to take care of ourselves. But I think we get so focused on loving ourselves, we forget the first and second commandments are to love God and our neighbors. We've gotten so far from that, and it makes me sad.

      Aaaahhhhh! Having my post bookmarked and shared is basically the HIGHEST form of flattery. Thanks so much, Hanne! <333

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