My Surprise Discovery: Absolute SelfLESSness is NOT the Will of God!
Sometimes I often ask myself, what went wrong in my personal relationships?
Could it be traced back to my decision to place the needs, desires, values and opinions of others before my own? When was it that I realized that the vast majority of my friendships were imbalanced and emotionally abusive?
Maybe it was when I found myself unable to stand up for myself and set boundaries, in the face of the “adult” bullies in my life. Perhaps it was when I realized that most of the people in my life were takers,
I was the perpetual giver and I didn’t know how to end the cycle. Or maybe it how I purposely allowed all of my relationships, both good and bad, to fall by the wayside, only to find myself again lonely and missing the companionship of my seemingly loyal, albeit abusive, “girls”?
Maybe it was my choice to feed the emptiness inside with burgers, potato skins, alcohol and oh yes, all the chocolate I could stand? It could have been when I decided to become a taker and enter into a relationship with a married man? And later, perhaps it was my inability to forgive myself that justified my decision to wallow in the shame, condemnation and guilt of it all?
Maybe it was when I realized that I only saw the “bad” in me, and was surprised when the people around me saw fit to point out and celebrate those things they felt were “great” about me? Could it have been when I refused to take a bubble bath, for fear that I would never be able to stop the tears?
Perhaps it was when the stress of it all caused so much constant physical pain that I was ultimately diagnosed with depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia and I later suffered 5 herniated discs; allowing worry for others to cause symptoms that manifested themselves physically.
I can’t exactly say when I realized that I didn’t love myself, but the truth of it all was eventually revealed. One day I looked up, and I was depleted Spiritually, mentally, physically, relationally, and yes, even financially.
There was absolutely nothing left in me for me.
As I sat home, on disability from the chronic physical pain that became my everyday life, I was forced to look in the mirror and stop blaming everyone else in my life for my sadness. I felt led to go to a particular scripture that ultimately changed the course of my life, forever.
Did you know that there is one command that is considered the GREATEST command in the entire Bible? Yes, it’s true. Matthew 22:36-40 basically says that the greatest command is that we are to Love God first, then love others as much as we love ourselves.
As I read this, I thought. “Wait a minute, this implies that I already know how to love myself. But what if I don’t? Heck, I don’t even like myself! Then how do I love my neighbor and even more importantly, how do I love God?
If I am reading this correctly, it’s saying that the whole Bible and all of God’s prophets depend on ME knowing how to love God and ME! Until I can answer that question, how can I ever love others the way that God intended?”
According to the scripture, Love is designed to flow from me in three directions:
1) Towards God
2) Towards myself
3) Towards others in the same manner that I love myself.
At the time, I was showing love the best I knew how to God and others, but I was totally neglecting myself. There was absolutely NO LOVE flowing towards me. I had to acknowledge the truth and renew my mind to what the Word says.
God intends for me to not only know how to love me, but I am to use what I learn about loving me to learn to properly love others!! It was then that I went on a hunt to unearth all I could find about Self-Love in the Word and to integrate it into my life.
I have to be honest, as I continued to study on the subject; it still just didn’t feel right. I didn’t understand. I always thought that if I was selfless and gave all of myself to everyone else, I would be happy. Therein was the root of my problem: Self-Less-Ness.
I thought if I gave all of myself away to others they would love me back and then in turn God would love me. When that didn’t work, put up walls, and tried selfishness which left me feeling even more empty and filled with shame. Could there have been something I was missing?
Where was the balance, I wondered?
Absolutely, I discovered that I had it backwards. It took a little tough love for me to finally embrace the fact that I was not a victim in my own life. Instead, I had to own the truth that I had the ability to change everything about my circumstances and relationships. And it all started with a little understanding and a bitter pill that I had to swallow. And of course, I am happy to share my bitter pill with you.
Buckle your seatbelts, ladies…it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Here goes: Contrary to popular belief, selflessness is NOT the will of God. Let me explain.
The American Heritage® Dictionary defines selfless as: showing [perceived] unselfish concern for the welfare of others; having, exhibiting, or motivated by little or no concern for oneself; unselfish.
Many of us have learned messages growing up that selflessness is THE posture for women. We’ve embraced its ‘martyrdom’, and blindly celebrate our own ‘sacrifices ‘. hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not HEALTHY!
There is no glory in being a doormat. There’s no benefit to God, you or the people in your world when you operate out of depletion. Although the facts show that everyone else is happy and being well cared for, the truth is that everyone is happy… except you.