Part 3: How does God raise, restore and release us?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at some key stepping stones that have helped me to allow God to raise, restore and release me into the fullness of who he called me to be. So far we’ve talked about self-awareness and embracing our true identity. This week I want to challenge you with a testimony about loving yourself.
STEPPING STONE 3: LOVE YOURSELF
Jesus said, “...Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:39 NLT
I believe that there is a healthy self-love that God wants us to have that is not arrogant, prideful, or narcissistic. Continue to grow in fully loving yourself in the way God wants you to SO THAT your capacity to love others increases significantly. If we love ourselves well, then we have the ability and capacity to love others well.
Due to experiencing abuse in my background, I struggled from childhood to well into my adulthood with great self-hatred and self-rejection. Through the years, I am so grateful to God to have experienced His healing touch and transformation.
God is quite creative in how he heals, restores, and renews us. He can touch us through prayer, counseling, a movie scene, His Word, a person, a song, art, or a circumstance… and so much more.
I am 61 at the time of writing this email and just one year ago, I had a significant God moment regarding loving myself. I pray the Lord will speak to you through this testimony:
I attended a small retreat at my friend, Nancy Vuu’s home with just a few women. Nancy surprised us one day, telling us we would be getting our hair and makeup done, having a professional photo shoot, and going to a special dress-up dinner at a fancy restaurant wearing beautiful crowns she had given each of us! I happened to be the first one who finished getting my hair and makeup done, so I got dressed in my pretty dress earlier than the others.
Nancy, who is always full of ideas, beckoned me outside to her porch where there was a large mirror leaning against the wall. She told me to go in front of the mirror, smile at myself, and put my right hand on the mirror near my face. She wanted to take photos of me doing this action.
So, I did. There I was, wearing a fancy dress, a crown on my pretty hairdo, smiling at myself in the mirror.
Suddenly, a God moment. For the first time in my entire 60 years of life, I thought to myself, “Wow. I’m beautiful!” I shocked myself with such a thought!
Immediately, God spoke, “Michele, remember years ago when you looked at yourself in the mirror and cursed yourself?”
I then recalled a memory from when I was in my 20s. I had been so upset one day that I glared at myself in a mirror with eyes of disgust and blurted, “I hate you! I wish you were dead!”
I had since asked the Lord to forgive me for saying that, but the Lord brought it to my mind again.
God continued, “This is a full circle moment for you. Think of that moment years ago, and this moment right now. You finally recognize your beauty and the beauty of my glory within you. I have been patiently waiting for this very moment when you would finally see what I see.”
I started to weep.
I then told Nancy what had just happened, then she started to cry. She then shouted, “Michele! God just gave you a key! Do you know what key He gave you?”
She then ran inside and came back to hand me a golden key. She said, “God just gave you the key to extravagantly love yourself! Now you can help others do the same!”
Since that moment, I have never been the same. Something shifted deep within me. I understood and received my worth more fully than ever before. I also realized my love for others expanded and deepened!
A few weeks later, my husband commented on how I had significantly changed since the retreat. He shared I now displayed a greater confidence and sense of security than ever before. Praise King Jesus! Of course, I am still a work in progress!
There is a glory of God so brilliant, so unique, and so profound shining within you as well! Do you see it? Do you love yourself?
I encourage you to try this activity: Every day for a month, journal one thing you love about yourself and write a sentence describing how that one thing expresses something about who God is. Ask the Lord to help you. If you are ambitious, write 100 things you love about yourself over time!