If you thought I loved me before…..

January 9, 2010

Do not try this without adult supervision.  I am no biblical scholar and this is just what I am thinking.  Please don’t let me screw you up.

I have one thing in common with Barrack Obama, Jack Welch, Brad Pitt (well, 2 things in common with Brad) Oprah Winfrey and Pope Benedict…..every one of us feels that we are getting away with something. If people knew the real me – the voice of doubt deep inside, the hateful thoughts, the insecurities I hide – if people could really know me as I know me, they would not love me. Let alone respect me.  I promise you, the President is thinking this, the Pope is thinking this, Oprah is thinking this, your Spouse is thinking this and even your Pastor is thinking this.  I do not care who you are or how much it appears you have got your life together, we all have that voice only we hear. We sometimes let that voice make decisions for us, we always let that voice influence decisions we make. We do not say or do the right thing because we are afraid of ……what? It is really a fear of being exposed as who we really are or having someone actually confirm what we already believe about ourselves.

I mentioned a book I have just finished reading, “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. It was not an easy book to read. Oh, the words were small enough for me and all that, it was just that it is a series of stories and vignettes woven together out of Donald Millers life and a lot of it really did not resonate with me. Every few pages, however, I would find some little nugget that really hit home. I love to read and it took me over six months to finish this little 240 page book. I would put it down for a couple of weeks and then pick it up and read 5 pages. I could not figure out why this book was taking me so very long to finish. I figured it out last week.

It turned out God wanted me to read page 231 on Friday, January 1st, 2010.

I was dealing with a lot of crazy relationship stuff. Things I had spent a lot of time in prayer about and it was not working out at all as I thought it should or even as I thought God had planned.

And then I read this on page 231 – “Love your neighbor as yourself” – We have all heard it many times and I think it is slightly important since Jesus was fairly clear on that point. Here is the actual verse.

Mark 12:30-31 (New International Version)
30: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31: The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

‘There is no commandment greater than these.” I felt I needed to repeat that part.

It makes total sense and is very rewarding, loving others can’t be anything but good for all concerned, right? But Mr. Miller made me stop and think. Do I really love myself? What if I have this all wrong? Would I say the things I say to myself, you know, those things I don’t let anyone else hear, would I say those things to someone I really cared about? If I would not do that, why would I say those things to me? Do I really care about me?  Maybe what Jesus is saying was, how can you love anybody, friends, family or even God if you do not love yourself?  How can you accept love  from anybody, friends, family or even God if you do not love yourself.

Wow, whether this is what Jesus meant or not, how much would it change my life, and the way I loved others if I could somehow quiet that damn voice.  I think about what it would mean to not hear that voice……ever!  Stop and think about that.  Really.

I think I may have just described heaven.

Well, I am not yet in heaven, and I still have this sinful, human nature to deal with.  So, I am committed to talking nicer to myself .  I am going to try to not yell at me anymore and I am going to try to give myself the benefit of the doubt I would like to receive from others.  Hopefully, the people I love will notice that I can love them better.

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