Over many years of praying for myself to have a loving heart. God answered my prayers. He has taken my once ‘hard heart’ and softened it through showing me how much He loves me. God loves me like I’m the only one. He loved me, until I could love myself and love others.
I say all of this with sincerity and without pride. It has been a huge challenge to be comfortable in my own skin. To know God loves me. To understand His love has allowed more room in my heart to love others.
Loving myself has been an insurmountable task. I’m very goal orientated. Setting a goal to improve my defects of character has been one that never ends. It’s constantly being redefined. Once I feel I’ve achieved a milestone, the next task is set in my path to work on another defect.
With a few years of this process of working on personal flaws under my belt, I’ve come to understand one thing - it is never ending. It’s hard work. It seems to improve on certain days, yet falters the next. So, I try my hardest to remind myself, it is a job that will never be finished.
Loving others has been somewhat easier. The focus is off me and on them. I have found I can only love people as much as they will let me love them. Some respond in the ‘expected’ way. While others will not respond at all. This simply allows me to ‘keep loving’. Working on not getting caught up in the ‘why’ of the situation and ‘just love’.
The ‘love’ scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG) remind me of so many things I ‘get’ to work on in this ‘love’ lesson. And, ones I get to receive.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
For me, love is not just expressed on Valentine’s Day, it’s a daily expression. However, Valentine’s is one day to make sure I focus on pouring out love. I try to make it fun with a few extra twists.
This year, I did a seven-day countdown. Each day I taped a paper cut out heart on the bathroom mirror. On each heart is written a unique characteristic I love about the person. I’m making heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies, heart-shaped breakfast and supper. I’m all about food! It’s just my way to make others feel special by making the food they enjoy. The fact is ‘I’m cheap’! I’m not big on buying gifts, I like to make them.
The truth is I like to keep some money for other things to ‘treat’ myself – like getting a massage or a new book. Ok, now, don’t judge me. I’m still working on being ‘selfish’, in a good way. But, I think I have the ‘loving myself’ thing down! LOL!
On a serious note, I want to encourage you to evaluate your love walk with yourself and others. Take Valentine’s Day to remember to love others and love yourself. Discover how you can express your love to them in a special and unique way. Just like how God shows us how much He loves us, ‘just the way we are’.