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Accepting God Loves You When You Don’t Love Yourself
Accepting God loves you even when you don’t love yourself is sometimes tough. It’s hard to imagine anyone loving us when we don’t love ourselves, let alone God. How do we accept God loves us when we don’t first love our own self?
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5:14 NKJV
That’s a powerful verse, and it’s found a few more times throughout the Bible. And I’m betting you have no problem loving others. Sure, sometimes family can be a pain, or our kids can make us crazy, but when it comes down to it, we still love them. It’s often ‘easy’ to love others.
But how successful are you at loving yourself?
“That was a dumb thing to say.”
“How could I have been so stupid to do that?”
“I’m so fat.”
“My nose is too big.”
“I’m so ugly.”
“I’m so stupid.”
“I’m not smart enough.”
We often speak those words, or similar ones, inside our heads. They aren’t words we would ever think of saying to those around us—friends or family—but we can speak them to ourselves without hesitation. Why is that?
Sadly, society has trained us to fall into the trap of believing we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc. It’s taught us that if we aren’t a certain height, weight, and skin color (just to name a few) that there’s something wrong with us.
Or how about when we keep on dwelling on our former errors in our heads? Better yet, what about when we’re with friends or family and we can’t stop bringing up the hurtful things we did to them years ago? Often, they have forgiven and moved on and don’t enjoy talking about the past hurts, but we can’t stop doing it because we haven’t forgiven ourselves yet.
And finally—what about when we feel there’s no way God can love us when we don’t love ourselves and think our past sins are unforgiveable? Why do we fall prey to those things and think those things about ourselves? Especially as Christians.
God Doesn’t Want Us Believing Those Lies!
Just look at Psalm 139: 13-15:
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Psalm 139: 13-15 NKJV
And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”Romans 8:15-16 TPT
Did you catch that? Fearfully and wonderfully made!
But let’s be honest, being human makes it hard to fight against our self-destructive thoughts and self-criticism. Making it difficult to be gentle with ourselves and give grace, which is precisely where the devil desires us—’despising’ ourselves. Do you know Jesus calls you beautiful? Look here in the Song of Solomon…
“Listen, my dearest darling, you are so beautiful—you are beauty itself to me! Your eyes are like gentle doves behind your veil. What devotion I see each time I gaze upon you. You are like a sacrifice ready to be offered.”Song of Solomon 4:1 TPT
Jesus calls us beautiful, yet we can’t seem to see it for ourselves. So if we are going to learn to love ourselves, we need to know what self-love is.
What Is “Self-Love”?
First, let’s get clear on how we’re defining self-love. If you look it up in the dictionary, it has a negative connotation:
The instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage. (Dictionary.com)
That’s not what we’re talking about here. Here we’re using the word self-love in a way that means not beating yourself up for past actions, or for looking in the mirror and loving what you see regardless of skin color, size, or number on the scale. We’re talking about self-love to accept ourselves… faults and all, just like He does.
So, how do you accept God loves you even when you don’t love yourself? It’s not always easy, believe me, I know the struggle. But it gets “easier” as time goes on if you’re willing to put forth the effort to work on it.
9 Tips You Can Follow For Accepting God Loves You Even When You Don’t Love Yourself:
1. Look up, not around you—remember who you are in Him
We’ve already discussed, briefly, how society has caused us to believe if we’re not a certain height, skin color, etc. that there’s something wrong with us. When we look around and compare ourselves with how much money a friend makes, the fancy car a neighbor drives, the exotic vacations a colleague takes, it’s easy to get down on ourselves and start believing we’re not good enough.
But that’s not true! God doesn’t love us based on how much money we make, the vacations we take, or the car we drive. In fact, none of these things matter in the grand scheme of things.
Stop looking around and instead look up and remember who you are in Him. Find a good devotional to read to reinforce God’s love for you so you can love yourself again. Proverbs 31 Ministries has some great resources like this devotional “When it’s hard to love yourself.”
2. Mediate on His word
The best way (and easiest) to accept God’s love is to immerse yourself in His word. Pick a topic on what you’re struggling with, in this case, self-love, and seek the answers He gives through His word.
If you don’t have a specific topic in mind, I recommend just opening your Bible and reading some verses on the page you opened to. Trust that whatever you needed to hear that day was shown to you in those Words; for God’s Word is living and active.
“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12 AMP
3. Do something for yourself
Contrary to popular belief and what some of society says, it is not selfish to take time for yourself. In fact, God wants you to take care of you, and that includes time for yourself.
You decide what works for you—once a week, 15 minutes a day, whatever works, just choose it and make it happen. You can use this time for something as simple as a quick walk, reading a few chapters of a book, listening to music, writing in your journal—whatever you feel like doing! Maybe you have that craft project packed up in the closet you never got around to doing. Set aside time for yourself and do it.
4. Follow a healthy diet
What does this have to do with accepting God’s love? Everything! In fact, His word even says:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31 CSB
Wow. There you have it in black and white—even something as simple as eating is to be done to bring Glory to God. But aside from that, think about how you feel when you’re feeding your body “icky” stuff like candy, cookies, chips, fast food, pizza, soda, etc.
Does it make you feel energized, refreshed, mentally aware? Or does it make you feel tired, sluggish, crummy, and mad at yourself for eating junk once again?
I’m guessing you chose the latter because that’s usually what happens when you eat that stuff. Not to mention all the health issues that can result when you’re eating all that unhealthy, non-nourishing stuff regularly. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m indulging in that stuff a little too often, it adds to the negative feelings I have towards myself!
5. Exercise regularly
This one goes hand in hand with following a healthy diet. Exercise doesn’t have to be a long gym workout or 60-minute exercise class. In fact, even just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial. It’ll help your mood, which will help you feel better about yourself. Even a short walk can do wonders. In being honest, I really struggle with this one myself.
After a quick search, I didn’t find any Bible verses that specifically mentioned physical exercise (although I’m sure there are some somewhere) but this (exercise/being healthy) goes back to treating your body as a temple.
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.“1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT
6. Seek counsel from a pastor, leader or trusted friend
God will not be mad if you need to talk with someone else. Sometimes praying on our own isn’t enough and we need help from those around us. That’s alright! Our pastors, elders, leaders and trusted friends are there to minister to us and give us counsel when we are in need. And in Gods Word it says:
“Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.”Matthew 18:20 CEV
Sometimes accepting God’s love and taking care of yourself means reaching out to others to ask for help. Besides, gathering with a close friend, pastor, or a small group for prayer and ministry is a wonderful way to soak up God’s love.
We were not meant to do this life on our own. Even Jesus had His own inner circle: Peter, James and John that He shared His most intimate moments with.
7. Forgive yourself
We know the importance of forgiving those who have hurt us and not carrying resentment or anger towards them. God’s word tells us we’ll be forgiven if we forgive others who have sinned against us.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”Matthew 6:14 AMP
So, doesn’t that mean we need to forgive ourselves, too? Sometimes we’re going to give in to the self-hatred, not feeling satisfied with what we have and comparing ourselves to others, negative self-talk, and more. But accepting God’s love means that we forgive ourselves when we do these things and move on.
Can you do that? Don’t you deserve to do that for yourself?
8. Join a Bible study
Again, one of the best and easiest ways to accept God’s love is to immerse yourself in His word. Joining a local Bible study is a great way to do this.
Not only that, but it’s a good way for you to get involved and get to know others on a more personal level. Especially if you attend a large congregation where it may be hard to make connections just by attending Sunday services.
Maybe you cannot attend in-person services for various reasons. There is an endless supply of really great online Bible studies that cultivate deep intimate relationships among participants. I met my closet and dearest friend, Sharla, attending online church and study sessions over 2 years ago.
If you can sign up to volunteer within your church – helping in the office, taking care of babies, playing with toddlers, leading kids’ church, ministering to the youth, being a door greeter on Sunday, etc.—that would be a great benefit. After all, what better way than to embrace and accept God’s love than to be of service to Him within His place of worship?
If there isn’t an opportunity to volunteer within your church, any type of volunteer activity is a fantastic way to get outside yourself and stop focusing on you/your problems. In the beginning of this post we talked about how sometimes it’s easy to love others. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus is talking about the first great commandment is to ‘LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ He then says this:
The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’Matthew 22:39 AMP
Remember, loving those around you as your neighbor is one of God’s commandments. Volunteer work is a fun, but sometimes challenging. It’s a way to not only show love, but receive love, too.
Create Your Own List
These nine tips are merely suggestions. You can choose one or two to focus on and start there. Maybe none of these things mentioned appeal to you. That’s ok too. Create your own list. Come up with your own ideas of ways you can let God love you even when you don’t love yourself.
I promise you, you can’t immerse yourself in God’s love and not eventually start loving yourself too.
Remember Who You Are & Who You Belong To!
Never forget who you are or who you belong to. You are God’s masterpiece, just like it says in His word:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:10 NLT
He loves you unconditionally, and He doesn’t expect you to be perfect. He made you for a reason and has a plan for you. You will make mistakes and sin along the way. Way back when He created you, He knew that! But that didn’t stop him, did it?
Knowing how unconditionally loved you are, how he has a plan and purpose for your life, doesn’t that mean you should show yourself a little compassion, grace, and self-love, too? After all, you are worth it because you belong to Him!
If this spoke to you today, leave us a comment and let us know which of these tips you are going to use this week. Don’t forget to share on social media.
Scriptures For More Encouragement:
1. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 CSB
2. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NKJV
3. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NKJV
4. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
5. I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 CSB
6. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV