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Self Love, or Self Sacrifice?

Self love is a term used quite frequently today. Women are encouraged to go to the spa, go shopping, or have a girls night out, for the sake of “self care” or “self love”. While I am not against any of these things, I think we have started to twist what true self care looks like, and turned it into a justification for doing something that feels good just for the sake of feeling good, or in reward for getting through a long week.

What if the root of self love was actually self sacrifice? I often think of this as I go about my life. In a fast paced lifestyle on a budget, I don’t often want to stop to rest, or take the time to make the healthier recipe, or read a novel instead of a “productive” book. I want to keep going to get the job done so we can get started on the next one! But I’ve realized that if I pause to take care of myself, mentally or physically, it often enables a higher gear of doing all of the other work (home or professional) that needs to be done, often times more efficiently. Instead of thinking of it as something I deserve, or indulging in (resulting in a guilt trip), it’s actually often an investment in my health, which is an investment in my family. The stronger I am, the stronger I can be for my husband and our children. The more rest I get, the higher level I can perform at when I communicate as a teacher or at the show that night. The more I allow my imagination to take over when I read or watch a movie the more creative I can be.

All of a sudden, that “self love” act was actually a sacrifice for the ones I love, and for the work I am called to do. When I can slow down enough to take care of myself, our home, etc. then I can hear God. There are layers of busy-ness and it’s hard to turn off all the mental voices, but when they can be allowed to take a break, the voice of God can be heard much more clearly. And isn’t that the goal? To live a life in pursuit of holiness, knowing the voice of our Father like Jesus did?

If a sacrifice is actually an act of love, then it’s not a painful sacrifice. It’s a joy, and an investment in the peace-filled life our world longs for.

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