This is the third post in the Loving Well series. It is centered around loving ourselves well as followers of Jesus.
The first post in this series explored the idea that we can only love God, ourselves and others well with the help of God’s Spirit. The second post considered four ways we can love God well. The final post will be about loving others well.
I think there’s a good reason why the first and greatest commandment is to love God; Because loving God changes the way we love others – including ourselves.
Loving God first allows us the ability to love ourselves without going too far in our self-love. It helps us maintain the balance of loving ourselves – just right. (Thank you, Goldilocks.) Are you tracking with me here?
If we love ourselves too much, then arrogance and pride can sneak into our hearts. What I believe God wants for us is holy confidence with humility; knowing that all we are is because of who God made us to be.
Here are a couple of quotes to help us nail down this idea:
With that in mind, let’s explore some ways we can actively seek our own highest good. The best way I know how to do this is to give some examples of how I’m trying to flesh this out in my own life.
Strengthening My Faith in God
Faith in God is what grounds me and gives my life meaning, so it only makes sense that strengthening this faith is at the top of my list of “highest good” for me.
Here’s a bullet list of how I can make that a reality in my life:
- talking to God and having a relationship with Him
- remembering all the good He has done and is doing in my life
- personal Bible study; right how I’m completing Seamless by Angie Smith with some other women
- meaningful, deep relationships with other Christians
- being active in a faith community
I hope this list will inspire you to make your own list of ways you can continue to strengthen your faith in God because your list might look different than mine.
Taking Care of My Physical Self
We only get this one body to carry us from birth to eternity.
As I’ve gotten older (and wiser) I realize that I have not done a good job of taking care of myself physically. And trust me, young ones…age will eventually catch up with you; so learn from my mistake and don’t put this off until the pains of old age grab your attention. Be proactive and take care of the body God gave you NOW.
Oh, how I wish I could turn back the clock on this one. I wish I had been intentionally moving my body just a little bit every day. It’s kind of like compounding interest. I don’t think it takes much but over time a little moving makes a big difference. I wish I had not waited until I was 50 to start learning how to take care of my body. But here I am, and I’m making up for lost time as best I can. I don’t think C.S. Lewis was referring to physical health when he said this quote, but it certainly helps me put this in perspective.
I do love a good list, so here are some of the things I do to take care of my physical body:
- Intentionally moving my body every day
- Learning how to take care of my body by educating myself
- Not ignoring pains or dealing with them by popping pills, but proactively doing something about them – like regular therapeutic massage for my neck, shoulders and back or engaging in physical therapy when needed
- Making healthy eating choices one day at a time and focusing on what I can eat rather than what I shouldn’t. Give it a try. This mindset helps me SO much.
- Drinking at least 88 ounces of non-caffeinated, sugar-free beverages every day. I could not do this without herbal tea in my life. I love to shop Adagio. But my favorite right now is Cacao Bliss by Davidson’s Tea. It’s hot chocolate without the guilt.
- Making the drastic choice to have weight loss surgery has been a game changer for me as well. You can read more about that here.
Again, I hope this list and the idea of loving ourselves well, will prompt you to consider ways to better take care of your physical body. I would love to hear what’s on your list. Please share in the comments!
Nourishing My Mental and Emotional Health
First off, I believe strengthening my faith and taking care of my physical body lay the groundwork for nourishing my mind and my soul. But – man, oh man! – there are SO many opportunities for loving ourselves well as it relates to our minds and emotions. I don’t even know where to start.
I have been exploring this idea more deeply for the last six months and am seriously overwhelmed by the amount of information and options. (Warning: I feel another blog series coming on.)
Yes, friends – indulge me with one more list. May it inspire you to make your own, to consider things that are working for you, as well as things you might like to try or research more. So, here goes…
- Avoid negative self-talk at all costs. Taking Brene Brown’s advice to “talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
- Explore and try meditation. I ran across the book, Unplug by Suze Yalof Schwartz, at my local Half Price Books. It’s given me a lot to think about.
- Take prescribed medication. Yes, people, there are times when you might need more than your “faith” to tame the thoughts in your mind and take the edge off of your emotions. I have been taking a small dose of “happiness” since perimenopause reared its ugly head. I’m so grateful that God makes this available to us. It is no different than taking a pill for a physical ailment. Mental ailments are also genetic and deserve the same attention and care. (I will now get off my soapbox.)
- Fill my mind with truth from God’s Word. I do not take for granted the incredible blessing I have to be able to daily create things that feature God’s truth. I also write Scripture in order to better retain the Bible. Double bonus because this also helps me strengthen my faith.
- Seek wise counsel from professionals as needed. This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the benefits of counseling (aka “therapy”) when necessary. Our family has taken advantage of this resource on many occasions, and it has made a difference in the lives that we live now. Once you see how beneficial it is, you will not hesitate to seek it out when you need it; and you will be better equipped to recognize when you do
- Replace those unkind thoughts in my mind with positive self-talk. I recently posted six positive affirmation cards around my home:
- nighttime affirmations on my nightstand,
- healthy living affirmations on my treadmill,
- faith affirmations in my bathroom,
- business affirmations on my Mac monitor,
- morning affirmations at my coffee station, and
- general affirmations in my car.
In a future post, I will share more about these affirmations and how they help nourish my mental and emotional health. In the meantime, for inspiration, visit my personal Pinterest board: Affirmation Ideas.
I really pray that by sharing some of the things I do to actively seek my highest good that you will be inspired to do the same. Ask God for insight and wisdom. He so very much loves to reveal the deep and hidden things to His children (Daniel 2:22). Or put another way in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
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