I was recently listening to Brene Brown speaking about her latest book called: “Daring Greatly” and one of the points she made just stuck with me. She said that: “You can’t give what you don’t have”. In other words we are not able to give others love, courage or even a sense of belonging if we don’t have it ourselves.
The question that I kept asking myself afterwards is how this statement relates to the commandments Jesus gave us in respect of loving God and our neighbours.
Mark 12:29 – 31
Jesus answered, “…’you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (NRSV)
We need to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves and the trick is that I have always thought the difficult part is the “loving your neighbour” bit, but now I have to ask if there is not a step that maybe I have missed in this command. Can I truly have a sacrificial kind of love for my neighbour/enemy if I suffer from a low self-esteem or if I continuously find fault with myself?
Probably not, because my focus will be more inward on my own shortcomings than outward and I have learned that you can only practice sacrificial love if you are at peace with yourself.
What I am realising more and more is that anything relating to love and to be loved is interconnected and if there is a link missing it needs to be fixed before we can truly experience the fellowship with God that He intended. To fix any part in this cycle always start with God.
I need to focus more on seeing myself through God’s eyes and truly believe that He loves me fully just as I am, that He believes in me, and that I already have a place where I belong. When I believe and experience His love, I can accept and love myself, which means that I can then have more success in obeying my Lord’s commands and start living a life outward towards others.