To Love Yourself

A couple of years ago I was on my way back to Varsity. My Dad and I were standing outside at my car and I was about to greet. All of a sudden my dad looked at me and said;” Make peace with yourself.” Those words gripped me. I laughed at him and jumped in my car. I had twelve long hours to think. Make peace with yourself. What does it mean?

Every South African family believes that they are the loudest and weirdest family. However, if you think about what they believe, it only reveals the truth that what makes a family unique is the people in the family. The quirky, weird person that you call sister ,brother, mother or father is what makes the family, family and creates the belief that your family might be the weirdest and loudest family! Now, my family , and when I say my family I include my uncles, aunts, cousins and fake family members that became such good friends through the years that they end up being “Family”, is loud and weird. I grew up with a Dad that has such an incredible sense of humour and doesn’t judge a soul on this earth, and a mom who are drawn to the weird and wacky. My sisters are both one of a kind.My sister closest to me, keeps us entertained with all her comments and music  quizzes on the long road. My other sister is Unique with a capital U! She grew up with her own opinion and mind and will live life according to what she sees and believes.My youngest brother, well, he is a younger version of my dad. Then we have the weird dogs. For some crazy reason, every time we as a family try to follow the “white picket fence with a golden retriever wholesome family” look, our dogs give us away. We do not have normal pets. Our hope for the wholesome family dream was a black labrador… he unfortunately never became,uuhmmm, a man. Running,swimming and retrieving was supposed to be in his DNA but ,alas, those characteristics never featured. Then my mom, in her kindness and natural draw to weird and wacky, adopted a dog.. well, I think it is one.. she looks more like a baboon cross with a sheep. The perfect picture was shattered. So, it came to no surprise when my youngest sister, in search for a companion, brought home the latest addition of weirdness…Mila..who believes that the world was created for her.She adopted my dad’s golf cart as her own limousine and INSISTS on being taken out on the estate DAILY. Does not matter what the weather is like, she will sit on that cart, in the garage, and call us until one of us go and take her on her daily ride around her kingdom.

Me being a weirdo was normal in this family. I was not judged, I fit in perfectly. So why the comment from my dad? Everything changed when I left home and started my own life. I became actively involved with church and pursued my relationship with God. Somewhere a long the line I started to believe that God was not pleased with who I was. My shortcomings became my enemies, whom I can never escape because everywhere I went they came with me. My pursuit to overcome sin and to become the good, holy christian was a full-time task. I was filled with guilt every day of my life. Questions like:” Am I doing enough to show gratitude towards this God for my life?” and “Am I reaching the lost?” was constant on my mind. I remember how I wished I could just walk to the shop without worrying if I somewhere missed an opportunity to minister.Then there was also the fear to witness to unbelievers when the say offensive stuff about God.I was wreck and lost myself completely. I remember how I wished I was not called.. then feeling guilty because I was ungrateful.

Until one glorious day when Jesus came and taught me about His grace.The truth about me already being righteous and without sin. The freedom of walking around absolutely convinced that I am loved and treasured, just the way I am. The day that I discovered that God is also weird! It is true! Just look at the animals He created (think of the eel.. why? 🙂 ). My relationship with Him became private and personal. I share absolutely everything with Him. He became the One who understands me and do not judge me for my shortcomings. I am free and in my freedom I chose to live for Him. I allowed Him to share Himself with me. He shares secrets if His heart with me. He talks about everything…For 6 months straight my conversations with Him was all about how much He loves me. I would ask Him about something and then He would answer.. “I love you, Linda”. He even has a nickname for me!

The one day He guided me to the place in John where one of the pharisees asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. Jesus answered and said:”Love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself.” You have to love yourself to have an impact on someone else. This is not a tolerant love, where you only think of your basic needs, like food, and wish the same for your neighbour.. no this is a deep love.. a love that can giggle at yourself when you make a mistake.. a love that actually allows yourself to make a mistake.. a love that forgives yourself.. a love that will protect yourself, for when you are tired, to rest and not stay driven.. a love that extends peace to yourself.. that can laugh out of your belly because Joy became your source..a love that receives good things into your life and keeps the bad out.. a love that does not become self focus but focussed on God.. a love that knows how to give.. and lastly.. a love that can celebrate who you are.. just as you are celebrated by your Creator. Imagine what will the world look like if we love our neighbour like that.

So, I made peace with myself.. and yes, I am called quirky, weird and unique.. but above that I am called Loved.My life became a journey that I absolutely love to walk and share with God and the people in my life. My heart became so vulnerable in His love ,and the love around me ,that the natural thing for me is to reach out to the broken. I am stirred but hope and want to share it with the world. I became a believer of Hope. To believe the gospel creates an organic reaction in us as His children. When we see how much we are loved and free, our natural response will be to praise and love on Him and to love the world. Selah.

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