Bible Stuff That Won't Bore You

Why is loving ourselves so difficult sometimes?

As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the value of love.   After a lot of emotionally and intellectually turbulent times during the course of my young adult life, I felt that I needed to review my choices to identify and pursue things that really made me happy.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the value of love.

After a lot of emotionally and intellectually turbulent times during the course of my young adult life, I felt that I needed to review my choices to identify and pursue things that really made me happy.

Having been raised around Christianity all my life, when I hit eighteen it was clear that a piece of me had tuned it out.

As much as I drew benefit from Christianity and the people in it, I pushed it aside for the sake of participating in a totally different lifestyle. At the age of nineteen I got into the party scene, had numerous relationships, used drugs and drank extensively, pursued my career, and lived a life full of sensual indulgence.

Typically, I am a person of extremes. During this particular chapter of my life, I was always seeking a new thrill and came close to dying a few times due to excessive drug use.

Later on, after we had gotten out of our drug habits, one of my closest friends remarked:

“You were the one trying to kill us all.”

In the end, I saw and learned a lot of things. Looking back though, I would rather not have spent the time to learn these lessons.

I already knew the things I was chasing after didn’t have a point, I saw it in the lives of everyone around me. I wouldn’t have considered it a mystery that becoming a drug addict was not a good idea. But, for some reason I went there and did a lot of damage to my life and the lives of people around me.

In a period where I was my own moral compass, I did what I wanted and didn’t hold myself accountable to anyone or anything, not even to my own set of ideals.

And let’s not even bother talking about the relationships I was having at the time, yikes.

After I had spun my wheels for five or six years, I stopped and reviewed both the worst and happiest times in my life and cataloged the emotions I experienced. After a period of reflection, I realized that the best periods of my life were ones where I was loving myself and others with the same type of love as described in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails.

After considering this characterization of love, I decided to live according to these principles to see where it took me. If the other things I had chased after brought me nothing but unhappiness, I could at least pursue something that had made me happy at one point in my life.

As I read more of the Bible, I found some verses that changed my thoughts on God in general.

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Hebrews 13:8
[God] is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I thought that if God was love, and God loved me in the way the Bible defined love, I would strive to love others in the same way.

Also, because of God’s eternal nature, it meant that his loving character would remain the same. This meant that my reflection of eternal love must be just as immovable and consistent.

You can ask the string of broken hearted women I have left trailing in my wake about how long this has taken to actually achieve, but I finally did it.

The verses above provided an example for what type of love to give people in a variety of contexts. I wanted to love my friends, family, business partners, strangers, girlfriend/spouse, and future children in a way that felt peaceful and right.

This meant being forgiving, not getting into pointless arguments, or holding grudges. It meant always thinking the best of someone, and trusting that they’ll work to change when they say they will.

As loving behavior is an active and ongoing choice, it also meant that I would need to express my sense of committment through both words and actions, consistently and clearly.

In my life I strive to push myself to love people more each day. This influences my friendships, romantic ideals, business interactions, and every aspect of my life.

I used to think the toughest part of applying this loving standard was in caring for myself despite my faults and shortcomings. Though after a number of years, I understand now that it is harder to be vulnerable and accept love from others; love requires trust, vulnerability, and honesty.

I have found that one of the greatest things that keeps people from loving each other and being consistently vulnerable is fear.

We can become afraid, and our hearts closed, for a variety of reasons such as the fear of:

  • Rejection
  • Loneliness
  • Not having our needs met
  • Being exposed
  • Getting caught

Personally, my biggest barrier to accepting love is my fear of rejection. I’ve been rejected so many times it’s hard to keep track.

For some, it is society’s push to always want something more for ourselves that keeps us from loving or being loved. We are not trained to be able to say,

“I’m happy and satisfied with my life.”

Instead, we are almost always looking at how we can improve our social, financial, or professional status, achieve some type of goal, travel here, or eat there.

These “goals” are actually endless pursuits, they will lead us farther and farther away from ourselves if we let them. I know many people who have experienced misery for the sake of chasing after their happiness. They achieve what they set out to, but in the end they’re just as unhappy and miserable as they were when they started. The worst part of this, is that there are often sacrifices of emotions, money, but most importantly time–something we can never get back.

So why chase after the wind and become unhappy, just to be even more unhappy?

This question way overcomplicates things I know, life shouldn’t be that simple.

I am the happiest when I accept myself, and my life, for what it is. Having goals is important, but so is being content with what we have.

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  • i was very moved bt your on the same path right now,i have used drugs and i have lost my children due to this.i have been rejected all my life so its hard for me to love.sometimes i ask myself [do i love me?]theres times that i feel alone in this world and i know that god is here but i dont want to be a hyprocrit and go tell god im gonna change and i end up doing the same thing.what should i do in my situation?please write me back as soon as possible.thank you

    • Hi Janice,

      Thank you for writing and sharing with honesty.

      In my long journey to overcome drugs, the most important realization I came to was understanding that drug use was only the manifestation of deep seeded emotional issues inside me. Drug use is not the root of anyone’s problem even though it seems so dominating. It’s like how when you get sick and get a really high fever. The fever isn’t the real issue, it’s the virus or bacteria inside the body that is the root of the problem.

      Whether we are aware of it or not at the time, frequent drug use is often a sign that we have mental, emotional, and physical things inside us we don’t know how to cope with or do not want to face. As my childhood was filled with abusive behavior of all types, I had a lot of emotional scars and feelings that I did not enjoy acknowledging, and was not equipped to deal with them on my own as a young adult. When I entered the world of drugs on the club floor with one of my best friends, I suddenly saw the controllable, emotionally distant, fantasy world that I was searching for. After that I sought my happiness in every pill, rail, bump, point, tab or joint I could find.

      When it comes to asking God for help, being honest with him and ourselves is the best approach. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that you are on a journey that takes time.

      God knows our hearts and whether we really want to work on something or not. Despite repeatedly making choices to do something destructive or negative, he is forgiving and always willing to help us when we turn to him with sincerity. As I have worked through various destructive tendencies in my life, I constantly stumbled but kept pushing on; not giving up is the key. One of my favorite scriptures is:

      1 Peter 5:7
      Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

      It’s important to remember that God is not some angry being with a stick ready to judge and condemn us for things we do, he wants to help us because he loves us and wants to see us happy. When we have been rejected and hurt throughout our lives it is very difficult to trust and share things about ourselves that we are not proud of for fear of even more rejection. It is a big step, but trust God and ask him to illuminate the areas in your life that are causing the drug issues.

      When we have been hurt and mistreated by others, learning to love ourselves is the most difficult journey we can ever face. God loves you in a way that will take time to fully understand and will become more clear as you grow closer to him.

  • I am working on loving myself enough to believe that I deserve and can overcome what does not work for me ( I have made many financial mistakes.) I am also working on believing and appreciating that others want to see me succeed,that people want to help, not financially, but with prayers and good wishes. I need to get these two negative trains of thought out of my head: “You get what you deserve” and “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” I can’t think of one person I would ever say that to, except myself. Gives you an idea of what I sometimes think of myself.

    • Hi Shari, one of the things that I try to imagine in my head sometimes when I feel particularly negative about myself, or feel trapped in a loop of negative thoughts, is: would I say this to a five year old child? In most cases, probably not. I would always want to encourage and strengthen a child as they learned and do my best to never make them feel shamed, inadequate or unloved. One great thing about God’s mercy, is that he forgives us but doesn’t always absolve us of the consequences of our actions. I am thankful for that as we can navigate the aftermath with a clear conscience and learn to take responsibility for the choices we make without being burdened by shame, guilt, or negativity.

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