Learning to Love Ourselves – Part One

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we hear a lot about flowers, candy, dates and dinners with that special someone in our lives. These things are all fine. But why aren’t we recognizing and celebrating love all year round? Could it be because the first step that many of us fail to take is learning how to love ourselves – every day – with flaws, mistakes and all of it? It has recently occurred to me that self-love should be the first gift I give at Valentine’s Day.

Failure to do this, for me, starts with not aligning my day in the right way to begin with. I often try too hard to fit into what I think will make others love me. That can mean I go in many directions at one time. But God is a faithful friend and teacher. He is showing me how to start my day in His loving presence. Although I might feel pressed for time, even upon awaking from sleep, if I make my first intention about talking to Him, my day really does go better. I’m not saying there are less storms or difficulties. Those are part of life. It’s just that when I feel the Presence and know, really believe, He loves me, I can get through anything because I lighten up on myself. In other words, knowledge of God’s love takes the pressure off to perform, prove or seek out other sources that assure me I am loved. So, does it not make sense that I would then take the pressure off of others to perform, prove or seek my approval as assurance of my love for them?

Several years ago, I took a class called “Light Works.” In this course, I learned a contemplative way to pray, sit, listen, learn and feel fed at the feet of our Lord. The last assignment asked participants to write a prayer reflecting what we came to see, and learn, about prayer time. Here is what I wrote in early 2009. I hope you enjoy and relate to this one my friends.

“Good morning, Lord. I am so tired some days when I rise. Today is one of those days. Do you mind if I have a hot cup of tea while we talk? I truly do thank you dear Savior for the gift of another day. I ask you to help me focus on You and what You would have me do with this gift.

You see, Lord, often I am preoccupied. I jump out of bed and get moving fast, trying to meet the demands of my preordained agenda. I have much to do. Let me see here, I have responsibilities for the family, the church, all this writing and stuff and stuff. I have another dance to choreograph and, and, and… So, really how can I focus on you? On us? I know Lord that you are my answer. But sometimes I get so busy I don’t remember to ask the question.

Will you help me look to you and disregard the overwhelming thoughts about the “important stuff” I have lined up for today? Can we just talk and be together now before my day presents me with opportunities to be angry, hurt, lost, lonely, out of control and out of my mind?

Oh Lord, as I sit in your company watching the pink morning light play in the clouds you have hung, and listen to the singing birds as they search for food, I know deep within me there is nowhere I would rather be. I want, and need, to sit in your presence. When I do, nothing seems hard or urgent. Nothing else is important right at this moment. It is you, me and the hum of the refrigerator in my kitchen.

Oh this feels good, Lord. I am safe. I am okay. I am loved. And I don’t want to rush off to any of those “important things.” Let’s stay here a while. I think I’ll have another cup of tea. Would you like a cup too, Lord?”

Copyright January 2015
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, CO 80401

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