Anyone who belongs to Christ knows without a doubt that God is love. The quintessential bible verse we all have memorize is John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world that He gave us His Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” As we grow in Christ we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves, but what if we don’t know how to love ourselves? What if we actually despise who we are?
For any woman has faced any sort of abandonment there’s a deep root of unworthiness. We blame ourselves for someone else’s rejection. Obviously, there must be something greatly wrong with us if they didn’t want or like us. And that’s exactly the thought Satan wants us to dwell on. Deep within our minds and souls, it’s burned in and without realizing it, we have fallen prey to his deceit.
Maybe you’re unable to rightly love yourself because you’re still beating yourself up over a past sin. The grace of Christ seems too easy to cover a sin so great. And just like the enemy did with Eve in the garden, he’s created doubt in your mind of what God can do. Or maybe you’ve fallen into the lie that you can only love yourself if you have a great job. Or get married and become a mom. Or maybe you can only truly love yourself if you lose weight, get that degree, and have lots of friends. You can only love yourself if you weren’t so tall, or so short, or so clumsy, or so loud. You’re perpetually trapped in feeling like you’re too much or not enough.
In all these situations the focus falls on us instead of on God. We don’t think of these torments as being prideful, but if we aren’t careful that’s exactly where they will lead us. Our attention is centered around our sin, our hurt, or our lack instead of our Healer.
The enemy knows just how to spin this web around us so that we don’t recognize just how self-centered we’ve become. And I say “we” because I’ve been here too. For years I battled with past sins because that was the most obvious. I knew Jesus died to save me from my sins and I trusted His Word was true and that He forgave me, but I couldn’t forgive myself for the sins I had done. The more I grew in my walk and sought God for healing the less Satan could hold these things over my head. I walked boldly in healing and therefore he found another way to sneak in.
1 Peter 5 tells us that Satan is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Again in John 10:10 we are reminded that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is the father of lies! So once he could no longer hold my past sins over me he found another way. He used old wounds of rejection mixed with current ones. And I let him.
Somewhere over time I not only listened to the negative things people said about me, not only did I let the enemy spew his deceit, I also spoke those negative things over myself. I affirmed that I was too much this and not enough that. This cycle of self-hatred would come in waves. I made a fatal mistake that you are probably making too. I confused confidence for self-love. If I was doing something well, or even if I felt particularly pretty that day, my confidence was up and I was unaware that the lack of self-love was still missing.
My worth began to live and die based on people’s compliments or how I happened to feel about myself that day. Do you see how dire this mistake is? My worth was based on human opinions instead of Biblical truths. Who does God say we are?
In the very beginning, God created people in His image. Our value is high simply for this reason alone! As believers 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. God of the entire universe lives within us! We are His children and He loves us unconditionally! We are chosen, a royal priesthood, God’s own possession as 1 Peter 2:9 puts it. How dare we put ourselves down and live in condemnation when God says we were created and chosen by Him?
The only way to learn to love yourself rightly is to remember not just who you are, but Whose you are. We have to constantly take these negative thoughts and words captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and began speaking life-giving words over ourselves. Proverbs 18 and Deuteronomy 30 both talk about the power of life and death in our tongues.
I have found that when others criticize us it truly has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with them. When their words sting, do as scripture says, pray a blessing for them and then speak the truth of God’s Word over yourself. Do not let the enemy continue to win this battle! Christ died to set us free. So if it’s a sin that keeps you in the cycle of hatred, have you truly repented of it? If not, do it now! Confess to Jesus. He’s not going to shame you or condemn you. John 10:10 not only tells us that the devil is looking to devour us, but Jesus says He came to give us life and for us to have it abundantly. Not mundane. Not just ok. ABUNDANTLY! Full! Complete!
This world makes self-love into prideful deceit, but loving yourself in Christ is acknowledging God’s creation, Jesus’s redemption, and the Holy Spirit’s transformation. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. Take note from Romans 12:2 and keep renewing your mind. Do not conform to this world and what it tries to tell you about who you are! Take those thoughts captive, renew your mind by reading the Bible, worshipping your Creator, and praying to Him daily. Hourly if needed. Then it says you will be able to test and learn what God’s will is for you. And that His will for you is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Friend, you are worth loving. God created you, He chose you, Jesus gave His life for you, the Holy Spirit lives within you. You are not the sum of your failures or your successes. You are His. And that’s perfectly enough.
**Watch Ashley and I's live interview on this topic below**
--Ashley is a self-professed dork who loves sharing the Gospel and digging deeper into Scripture! She wants to live her life in such a way it inspires others to passionately seek Jesus and have Lively Faith. She’s a happily married homeschooling momma to four blessings who runs on Holy Spirit power, coffee, and laughter.
You can find her writing about her faith and crazy life at aLivelyFaith.com or over on Instagram @ashley.sigrest. Ashley serves in her local church and community and enjoys helping other women grow in their spiritual gifts.