As many of you know (or may have guessed), part of what I’ve been up to, during my year-long hiatus from writing, is exploring Christianity.
There is SO much to share with you about this journey but, in the interest of time… for this post, at least, I’ll just cut to the chase:
I am Christian.
To be clear… I define this as a FAITH, not a religion. There’s lots more to say about that, too but I’ll save that for another time. Suffice it to say that I am only interested in God, not religion and I receive my guidance directly from the Bible.
Since becoming a Christian I have, for some time, been struggling with the term ‘Self-Love’… a term with which I have become very closely identified over the past decade.
The more I study the Bible, the word of God and the teachings of Christ, the more I understand that over-identifying with our human-ness and focusing on our earthly existence are among the things which keep us separated from God and His grace. If part of what we’re led to do as Christians is to prioritize God over all else, reliquish our own selfish desires and have unconditional faith that he will guide us, heal us and provide for us, then how can Self-Love be an acceptable focus or practice in our lives? We must be 100% reliant on Him, not ourselves. His love is all that matters, not our love of Self.
As you can imagine, this became quite the predicament for me as someone who has been known to refer to herself as a “Self-Love Evangelist”. (Yes, I do note the irony of that wording).
Having lived through a decades-long experience of what happens in my relationships when I haven’t loved myself is what finally led me to discover how incredibly important Self-Love actually is.
How then, do I reconcile this?
The answer came to me today, in the form of an article I discovered, written in 1978. I had just got home from church where our pastor had spoken about the importance of how we honour God through words and actions which come from a true loving obedience to God versus those which merely come from a desire to feel good about ourselves.
As I sat and listened, I realized that continuing The Self-Love Society Facebook group, which I founded in 2012, had become disingenuous. “If I am to honour God”, I thought, “then I need to re-evaluate whether SLS was still a viable philosophy and perhaps change its name to better reflect the new direction”. Regardless of my decision, I felt it was important to make a statement to its followers letting them know where I was coming from.
So, when I got home tonight, I sat down and Googled “Self-Love vs God” and, WOW…
I was utterly AMAZED at what I found.
The article is called ‘Self-love and the Christian Counselor’s Task’. Amazing, in part, because I am a Christian and a Counsellor (but didn’t specify that in the search) but mostly because this article is nothing short of perfect in terms of defining, not only Self-Love and it’s role in our lives, but also in the way it validates what I’ve come to understand through my professional experience of what the role of a Therapist/Counsellor is regardless of their faith.
I have said, over and over again, that it is our values which determine our life path and it’s therefore absolutely vital that we identify, prioritize and re-evaluate them, not just once, but regularly.
There is no greater priority, on the part of a Therapist/Counsellor, than to help a client identify their values.
And, without God, there is no argument for morality… no reason to adhere to any higher calling than that of our own human desires which, as we all know, cannot always be trusted.
In this day and age, in our increasingly corrupt society, it is all too easy to justify inappropriate or immoral behaviour.
We have pretty much made exemptions to do, be or have just about anything under the sun.
Seriously. Think about it.
Therefore, the only thing that sets us apart is what we value.
The only thing we can or should be judged by is what is in our hearts.
That’s how God sees us.
That’s how He judges us.
Well, I think that’s a pretty good segue to the article.
It’s brilliant, so enjoy 🙂
And, for those of you who are not Christians, or simply not so inclined, I still urge you to read the whole thing.
It’s long… it quotes scripture… but it’s relatable to all of us on so many levels.
Oh, and one last thing…
If, after you read it and you still aren’t on board with the re-definition of Self-Love, as it pertains to The Self-Love Society (which will probably end up being re-named for something more en pointe), or if you’re just not interested in the new direction this blog is taking, please feel free to unsubscribe/unfollow with my wholehearted blessings.
This is all for God, after all 😇
With love and prayers…
TRACY B. RICHARDS