10 Steps to Loving You (1/2)

First we need to ask, what is love? The Random House Dictionary describes love as: 1) a profoundly tender, passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex; 2) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend; 3) a sexual passion or desire or its gratification.

Here’s God’s more complete definition of love from First Corinthians:

“Love is patient and 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, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”

God’s definition truly encapsulates what love is all about. Love is an action. And notice it’s not about sexual intimacy. With God’s definition in mind here are ways to love yourself to be able to love others.

Courtesy of Anna Coffey

1) Forgive Yourself:
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Don’t let the negative tapes of what you did or the labels of what others said about

you play over and over in your mind. God loves you so much he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for you. You are forgiven.

Claim God’s promise in 1 John 1:9, “When we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us of all unrighteousness.” We are renewed when we confess our sin. Know that you are forgiven by his blood poured out for your sin. We’re not perfect, but we are made perfect through the only one who is perfect, Jesus Christ.

Know that God loves you. Confess your sin immediately and you will begin to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. When we invite Jesus into our heart we are a new creation. The old is gone and we begin a new life with the Holy Spirit in us. We have resurrection power to change little by little. We are in a process that God says he will bring to completion. Don’t let Satan remind you of what God has forgotten.

2) Slow Down:
When I’m exhausted and stressed, I’m no good to anyone! In fact, I can be rude and easily angered, which is unloving to myself and others. God wants us to have peace of mind, but many of us don’t know what that looks like. Busy can appear productive, successful, a life with purpose at the expense of our relationships.

At one time my four children were at four different schools. I tried to be Super Mom by volunteering in each of their classrooms. Activities like work, volunteering, cleaning house, shopping can be meaningful, important and even necessary areas of life. The questions I now ask myself, “Am I too busy to spend time with my loved ones, am I doing the things I really enjoy doing, and am I at peace in my relationships?”

For every new project we commit to we give up something else, usually less time doing what we love. Slow down to evaluate your life right now. Make a list of all your activities and eliminate what you can.

3) Pray to A Personal God:
Remember the Creator of the heavens and the earth loves you so deeply that he longs to have a relationship with you. That is what He created you for. He wants to talk to you. He wants to comfort you. He wants to restore you. I have found that spending time with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit I become God focused.

I ask God to lead me in my day. Even when I wake up in the middle of the night I believe God is calling me to spend time with him. Sometimes I just lay there talking to him and other times I go around my house to pray for my family. The most important thing we can do for our family is pray. When we ask specifically, surrendering to God’s will, we see him at work in our lives, which builds our relationship with him and strengthens our faith.

4) Read God’s Word:
God’s Word is powerful and personal. He speaks to us through the Bible. Ask him to guide you in his word, to speak to you, and reveal himself to you.

Nine years ago my son Connor had leukemia at five years old. On Christmas day when I prayed for God to heal my son and guide me in his Word I opened my Bible to John chapter 4 verses 43-53. I began to read the story about the royal official who asks Jesus to come heal his son who is sick. I had just asked Jesus to heal my son. I read on to discover that Jesus said, you may go your son will live. I knew Jesus was talking to me.

God encouraged me through his Word. He gave me peace and comfort. I knew He would heal my son. We left the hospital thirteen days later, earlier than any child had left after a transplant. Connor spent the remainder of his one hundred days of isolation at home with our family. God wants to speak to you through His Word.

5) Be Honest:
Love rejoices with the truth. I was taught to let everything fall off my shoulder. I kept everything inside. My mode of operation was to say one thing, but mean another. In other words, I was dishonest and a liar. I had to learn to be honest in my relationships, to let my yes be yes and my no be no, as Jesus taught in John chapter 12.

Sometimes we think that saying something to someone will hurt their feelings. When we fail to tell the truth, by not saying anything, we do not allow for the person to understand the impact of their negative behavior. We prevent them from changing. Tell the truth in love and you will be loving yourself and others.

God’s Word To Live By:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and 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 wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always opes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.

Psalm 62:5
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Read 10 Steps of Loving You (2/2)

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