This post was inspired by the recent video that went viral earlier this week featuring Tracee Ellis Ross sharing a quote that changed her life. Here it is in case you haven't seen the video yet.
Why this video? What made it resonate with me so much? As simple of a concept as it is, how many times do we have the expectation of wanting others to love us unconditionally, and are not able to do so unto ourselves... I know I'm guilty of that myself. "I'll be good enough when get my doctorate. I'll feel better when my body gets more toned. I wish I wasn't still holding onto past relationships. Ugh, I shouldn't have eaten all those cookies at once!" I mean really, how many times do we love ourselves, but we still wish there was something different? Often times for me, it's not always an active thought, and sometimes it is, but regardless there's always that lingering thought of, "what if" or even sometimes "why or why not?" And even in those brief moments when we begin to let these questions and thoughts creep in, we begin hindering ourselves from truly loving who we are.
By entering into a space where we can begin to love ourselves unconditionally, we unlock a place in our hearts and souls where we can begin to understand just how our God loves us-unconditionally, as we are, in this moment! Not by what we accomplish, how we look, how well liked we are, or how much money we make. And it's when we begin to understand this type of love for ourselves, that we can truly begin to love others, family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, even those that we've never met, in the purest, most genuine form of love that exists and that's simply as God loves us. Because it's not based on emotional ties, nor compatibility, nor other things that this world will draw us to as a way to justify our love, but by the soul of a person.
" Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love."
1 John 4: 7-18 (NLT)
The book of '1 John' was the first book in the bible that I read in its entirety, very unintentionally actually because I was originally looking to read John, but I always believe that nothing is ever an accident. It was actually in reading this book that I began to open my heart to believing and receiving Christ, because it was in reading the above passage that I understood the nature of God, and what it means to be a Christian- love.
So 3 days ago I took an oath for myself, and I have been reciting it every morning since, looking at myself in the mirror. "I will choose to love myself, unconditionally, this day. Although I may not be where I want to be, I am exactly where I need to be. I choose to love myself through the scars, through the triumphs, through the moments where I may feel like I am not enough, through the moments where I feel like I am. Then and only then, can I allow God's love to intercede in my life, completely and fully, to truly accept the ultimate gift that He has given me, and that's life itself."
I pray that if you're like me, if you still have things you are holding onto, things in your life that make you feel like you are anyone less than who God created you to be, that you can begin to enter into a place of being able to love yourself unconditionally, as you are in THIS moment, not who you want to be or where you want to be in 5 years, 5 months, or even 5 minutes from now. And as we work towards this together, I only pray that my journey can be a light for those reading and watching, so that God's love and grace may be glorified! Amen!
Side note: Because I believe in giving love externally, not just receiving internally, I will be accepting prayer requests via the Contact page on my website. God did not call us to walk our journeys alone. I want to not only strengthen my own faith, and my own prayer life, but also help those walking this journey to know that you are not alone, that this is a space where you can be vulnerable, and that if you are going through tough times (or someone you know is) that you have another sister that is willing to pray with you and for you! God bless!
P.S. Here's to my "auntie" Tracee serving all of the Black girl magic needed to end this post!