Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love yourself

1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT) “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Ever had love end on you? Have you ever had someone say, “I just can’t do this anymore?” Have you ever been that person? I know that I have been tempted to quit on people that God wanted me to continue to love. Sometimes I have quit.

How do we make our love go the distance? How can we arrive at the end of our lives having not given up but hopefully endured through every circumstance?

I cannot love my neighbor as myself if I don’t love myself. If I do not take care of myself physically so as to be strong and healthy I will find it exremely difficult to love others. What happens to your relationships when you're run down? Little issues become big problems when you're tired. You're more cranky, defensive, critical when you're physically unfit. I believe that in many relationships love would clearly resurface by simply getting into better shape. Things like rest, real food (that actually has nutrients in it), and moderate exercise could dramatically change the way one feels and impact the way one loves.

What about my emotions? How do you know when you need physical recharging? Your stomach growls -- it's time to eat. Your eyelids get heavy -- it's time to sleep. We often overlook the signs and symbols that say our emotional tank is on empty. We often tend to ignore it more than eating and sleeping. Jesus often withdrew for times of solitude when he was drained emotionally. Time all alone can serve us well. Away from people, phone, TV--just silence. Some form of recreation can recharge emotions as well. Something you truly enjoy. Playing is for adults too you know (healthy ones anyway). Laughter is medicine for strapped emotions. Do you have people in your life to laugh with? Fun people who can help you not take everything so seriously? Believe it or not, God made you to laugh. It is a way to stay healthy, alive, and strong. Love is greatly enhanced when emotions are recharged.

Ongoing spiritual renewal is perhaps most vital. Allowing God access into my spirit brings insight and truth moments that make the difference in love. God shows us things about ourselves that are hindering love. He shows us the other people in our lives from His perspective, re-energizing our ability to love them. He softens a hard heart toward one who has offended when we are fed up and ready to quit. In short, God’s Spirit produces the vital fruit of the Spirit that makes lasting love possible. Good ole’ Bible reading and prayer is what the doctor orders. Without it, love will not go the distance in many, many relationships. But a spirit empowered by a word from God can bring some series love to the table.

You need to love yourself in order to love others. Do yourself a favor. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually so that you can make love go the distance.

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