Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash
Author: Katelyn Borek
1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 reads, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Okay I know what you are all thinking and yes, these are those “wedding verses” you’ve heard at dozens of ceremonies, but that’s not where I want to take this right now. This is the way in which Christ has created love for extension, but, what if we would love ourselves in this way too? The Scripture says that nothing we do is worthwhile if not done in love; there is no gain in loveless efforts. We are to speak, think, and operate as loving human reflections of Jesus in how we love Christ, others, and ourselves. Taking care of yourself and loving yourself is a holy and blessed thing.
There are two sides to this chunk of verses: what loves is and does, and what it isn’t and does not do. For the sake of word count and time, I am only going to go into what love does, which is still a lot. If you’re into this and receiving from these verses, consider what love does not do so you know how NOT to treat yourself. (P.S. a favorite of mine would be “love does not keep records of wrongs. We are meant to forgive ourselves lovingly. If Jesus forgives us daily, what makes us think we are above that? There is grace for you to have grace for you.) So, let’s break down what love IS.
Patient: Be patient with yourself. Don’t let your mistakes and brain farts get yourself upset so often. I far too frequently find myself irritated with me for trivial things I slip up on, making them into a bigger deal than they are. The Lord has infinite grace and time for you, give yourself a break from time to time.
Kind: Being kind to yourself is not comparing yourself, but rather cheering yourself on, looking for the best in you, and working to bring it out. Extending kindness to you is treating you with the type of love and compassion we seek to give to others. Kindness is just another repercussion of grace, so share it with yourself. By doing so you will be standing under the purchased life Jesus has for you.
Rejoices: Love rejoices with the truth! There is so much truth about you to rejoice in. Celebrate the identity Jesus made for you, the words He sings over you, and the eternal promises of Scripture written for you! Those are TRUTH and the fulfillment of real joy. There is so much truth about you as a woman, a daughter of God, and force of power with the Holy Spirit. Seek the absolute truths for all, and the individual ones that the Lord speaks over you personally. He has a way of whispering His affirming holy thoughts over us in the sweetest of ways.
Protects, always: Guard your heart. If you’re 16-30 and/or single/dating, you’ve heard this far too often, but its truth does not diminish with overuse. Your heart, mind, spirit, and soul are not made to be open range. The Lord put your heart behind a cage of ribs and your mind housed within an enclosure of bone and cartilaginous matter, encompassed with protective layers of growing tissues. Loving you is protecting you. Protect yourself from harmful exposure, unhealthy relationships, degrading conversation, and sinful habits. Do not run from darkness (as we are called to be the overcoming light in it), but know your limits and protect your heart that the Lord has so carefully crafted for goodness.
Trusts, always: Trusting yourself can look like a lot of different things. I think the hardest for me is trusting myself to make decisions, and good ones at that. I can get so consumed with “living in the will of God” (a good thing) that I feel as though I am unable to have a good will of my own. Loving me is trusting myself to be wise, discerning, and bold, believing the Holy Spirit lives in me, and that I know good from evil. I can trust me to be okay, and to do good things. Plus, when you trust yourself, others will trust you. Take rest in your ability.
Hopes, always: Hoping is trusting, waiting for, and looking to for the benefit of the future. Hope and trust in the Hebrew are very similar and often translate to be the same. Hope is expectant. It is patient and enduring. Hoping in yourself is trusting you, wanting and waiting for the best for you, and sitting in expectation of your future. If you are living in hope, you are living in desire. Hebrews 6 says that the hope of God’s promises is the anchor of our souls– firm and secure. Placing hope in Jesus for yourself is obtaining the holiness of God released by Jesus into your everything, every day.
Perseveres, always: You are worth fighting for. You are worth battling against trials, worth bravely enduring hardship for. Don’t be afraid to fight for yourself. Fight for your inner self and work hard in combating the lies in your life to bring about truth. Satan wants nothing more than to battle you to the point of defeat every day, as you are a threat to him. Choosing to persevere in personal attack, refusing to be the enemy’s doormat, is loving yourself in the overcoming, determined love of Jesus.
So, ladies, love yourselves! Take care of you. You are made to be loved. It is in your DNA.