Nov
29

The Garden Party: Pleasing Yourself

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(This blog is part two of The Garden Party. In part one of this blog, I referenced Ricky Nelson’s performance at Madison Square Garden and his inspiration for writing the hit song, Garden Party. Be sure to read part one for the context of this blog.)

While it might sound selfish, after all, pleasing oneself….is that godly? But what if pleasing yourself means that you are listening to your heart? Being comfortable in your own skin? Being authentic? Being who God made you to be? Loving yourself?

Does the sound of that set off alarms in your heart? Yet Jesus clearly told us that we were to love others AS WE LOVE OURSELVES (Mark 12:30-31). What can that possibly mean? Is that self-centered?

Jesus Himself practiced this kind of lifestyle. We see him caring for himself in regards to eating, drinking, spending time alone, and asking friends for support in trying times. Jesus reminded us that God knows what we need and he cared about us having food, drink, and clothes. He modeled what it means to rest, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He cared for himself and yet he was never selfish. In fact, he was selfless as he gave himself for us when the time was right.

Paul later said, “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, the church.” (Ephesians 5:29)

We need to love and honor ourselves as God’s beloved, those He died to set free, those who are His sons and daughters, those who are worthy of love because we are His creation. The Bible tells us that our very bodies are the temple of God for which we are responsible.

That kind of love frees us to love others because we are no longer setting the value of our lives based on what other people think of us. We can sing a new song and know that even if the world doesn’t applaud us, we have value and worth. We are no longer getting our needs met through the accolades of others. We can love from a place of authenticity, no longer needing to act a certain way or jump through a particular hoop in order to feel loved and accepted.

We, as the Church, have failed to bring the whole counsel of God. We have rightly taught the need to care for others, but neglected to teach the care of self. We have swapped the price tags that God placed on our lives and marked our value down to clearance prices somehow believing such an act to be spiritual. Such a faulty belief system keeps us from living lives fully to the glory of God.

I have learned so much the hard way. A few years ago, I was so out of touch with this idea of self-care/self-love that I had ignored many of the warnings that my physical body was sending to me. God was speaking through my body and my emotions and I couldn’t hear Him. My blood pressure was 220/145. I felt nervous, anxious, and STRESSED. Yet, I never slowed down enough to ask God what He was saying. Oh, I never neglected my “quiet time”, but that time was not connecting me deeply to the Spirit of God. Perhaps I was talking to God too much to listen to Him talk to me.

What about you? Are you caring for your whole self: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically?

Are you listening to the Spirit of God within you? Can you interpret what your emotions are saying and evaluate if they are accurate indicators that need to be attended to? Do you balk at the idea of loving yourself?

If so, are you saying in actuality that your standard is better that God’s?

Can you hear the faint sounds of Eden in the background calling you to experience all God has for you?

What hinders you from love?

 

 

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