[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]W[/mk_dropcaps]hile listening to a sermon podcast by Ps. Kris Vallotton recently he mentioned a quote by Robin Williams that struck deep. [mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." [/mk_blockquote]
This is both very sad, but also very true. The deep desire we all have to belong. To not only know others, but to be known is hard wired into our being. We all have it. It may be more obvious in some than others, but that is what we are built for. Relationship. In thinking about this quote there really are two contributing factors that help foster belonging so we develop real connection.
The first being the environment we are in. Who we choose to hang around. The quality of people we seek to connect with plays a significant part in this. The other factor however is where we will focus today.
The second contributing factor that helps us to develop real connection with others has nothing to do with others. In the Bible it is written
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[/mk_blockquote]
Romans 13:9 sets up this commandment by stating "..and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That adds some serious weight to the importance of a healthy relationship with....
Truthfully, when I hear terms like "self care," "self love," "be gracious with yourself" part of me cringes a little. Not because I don't believe they are important, but like most things that are really important if misused it causes serious damage. With social media and Hollywood culture what is healthy about "self love" has been portrayed as nothing more than pride, ego, and narcissism. That is the exact opposite of what this kind of love really is. The kind of love mentioned here is a recognition of the value, the uniqueness, the pure providence that all came together to make you and I. If we don't master this first, how we love others gets diluted, morphed, and even perverted if we aren't careful.
We do have a bent to become selfish if we aren't careful. This kind of love is different because the purpose doesn't end with us. Establishing a healthy loving relationship with ourselves actually makes room for us to love others healthfully and bring more value to every interaction. We no longer are consumed with what we can get from someone else, but we see more clearly the value and significance of others.
Think of it like this... how much easier is it for you to tend to someone else's needs when yours are met. Imagine with me for a second how you interact with others when you're hungry and are in need of food. You aren't going to be as pleasant. That is why we made up the word "Hangry." Rather, once you're full you're much more willing to help another person find and get food because your need has been met. The same goes for love. When we know regardless of another's actions we are loved by God first, and we share that feeling toward ourselves, we are freed up to love others out of an abundance not lack.
My prayer for us today is that we stop working so hard to prove our value and significance! Instead, by the help of our Heavenly Father, I pray we each uncover the well of love we can draw from that allows us to be overflowing with love that we can share love freely and without agenda with others.