I used to be afraid of traveling in a plane, but now I enjoy it because it reminds me that I am going to somewhere special, somewhere out of my comfort zone. But before I get too excited about the possibilities, I think about safety first, so I listen carefully to the inflight announcements that equip me in case of emergencies.
One of the things that strike me during this time is the instruction about the oxygen mask.
The flight attendant says, “If you are traveling with children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first, then offer assistance.
I often wondered why I shouldn’t help someone else first with his or her mask before putting my own. Will it make a difference? But logic tells me that by the time I’ve placed the mask on my companion, I may not be able to put on my own because I must have run out of oxygen by then. For parents, this instruction is crucial. Who will look after your child if you pass out because you didn’t take care of yourself?
Take Care of Yourself
It is important to help one’s self before helping another. It is healthy to acknowledge and take care of your needs so that you are better equipped to help others, to take care of your family, friends and community.
I used to think it was selfish to love one’s self. I did not really understand what it meant to love one’s self in a healthy way. Loving one’s self as God does leads to a genuine love for others.
We need to begin with a basic foundation. You simply cannot give what you do not have. We will not know how it is to truly give when we do not know how to receive.
First, we need to learn to receive God’s love. If a mother needs to put on her mask before placing her child’s, I believe Love Yourself God’s love is the oxygen that flows through that mask.
We need to inhale God’s love every day to be able to exhale true love to others. God meets us where we are. I believe that God made us out of love, to love us.
But like a perfect gentleman, God won’t force His love on us. We need to accept it and open our hearts to receive it. The Lord waits for us ‘til we open up our hearts to receive the love we need.
Sometimes, we let Him in only when we are in desperate need of air. It doesn’t have to be so. But fortunately, God’s love is always there.
Receive God’s Love
Brian Philip Welch, former member of the metal rock band Korn, struggled with drug addiction that also killed his wife, until he encountered the love of Christ.
In a desperate plea to God, he asked for help to get rid of his addiction to take care of his young daughter and be a good father. At that moment, he felt the love of God come into his heart and he was healed.
“When Christ came in, that feeling, it gives you the gift of understanding life, which is everything was created for Christ and by Christ and we are created to be with Him. It’s the most incredible feeling because it’s where you belong,” Brian shared in an interview that can be viewed at http:// www.iamsecond.com.
Brian shared that he had everything — cars, money and fame — but these did not fill his emptiness until he received the love of God that flooded his being.
As I have also experienced, it is difficult to encounter the love of God and not be changed by it. It is also the unconditional love of the Father that saved me from self-destruction. I may not have taken drugs but I slowly destroyed myself with the way I treated myself. I allowed myself to be abused emotionally and beat myself up in my head. I did not value myself. Until I, too, encountered the love of God.
He reminded me that I am valuable, beautiful and very good. He said that I am His child and that He loves me forever. I believe it when God says it because His Word is truth. We need to listen to God’s voice every day by taking time to read the Bible, His love letter to us. His love casts out all our fears. I learned to love myself by receiving God’s love for me.
I pray the same for you. Give God a chance to help you. Allow Him to love you. Believe me, He will love you to wholeness.
And when His love has healed us and we have a healthy relationship with Jesus, we learn how it is to truly love as we learn from Him.
His Spirit in us enables us to love in the right way. From a place that overflows, we can truly give. When we receive God’s love, we can’t help but love ourselves and others with His love.
Brian shared that when he received God’s love, he felt His love go through him to his daughter. When God’s love resides in us, we find that we have His kind of love to give — a love that is secure, trusting, and desiring the best for our loved one.
We are all works in progress. Loving ourselves is a continuous journey, but we are not alone because God is with us. Each day, when we receive the love God wants to give us, we grow in love, and we become all that God created us to be — that is, made for love.
*This excerpt is taken from Love Yourself as God’s Love You by Marjorie Duterte, available on paperback and e-book copy at www.feastbooks.ph!