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Loving Yourself

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another…” Owe no one anything except to love one another. Oh, how much simpler life would be if I only took this scripture to heart.

I have a confession to make: I am a people pleaser. I worry about what other people will think of my decisions, and even what they think of me. I want to make sure people are happy with me and my work. I catch myself comparing my life to others. It’s so easy to do, right? When I stop and think, deep in my heart I know the truth about this: it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to try to please everyone in this world, or to compare myself to others. My concern should be pleasing God.

Pleasing God can be difficult in a world that is so often wrapped up in material things, in this life, in the here and now. However, as Christians we are called to keep an eternal perspective. Jesus tells us in the Gospel today, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Lord, help me to let go of my earthly concerns, for I want to be free from them in heaven. Lord, help me to bind myself in love for you, and in love for others.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So often when I hear this scripture, I focus on the part about loving your neighbor (which is important!). Today, however, I am struck by the second part of the statement, “as yourself.”

Do you love yourself? Do you really love yourself? Do you see yourself as the Lord sees you? By His grace we have been made in His image, and we should love who God made us to be. None of us are perfect, of course; we are human. But we are called to strive every day to become more and more who God calls us to be – and to owe no one anything, except love.

Spend some time in prayer at the beginning of this new week, and ask the Lord what He loves about you. Open your heart, and allow yourself to receive His love. As you go through the week, spread His love by sharing with others what it is you love about them. Let us bind ourselves in love.

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Elise Howe is a devoted wife and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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