I smiled at my little nephew, heart swelling with pride.
There he was on the school stage, tie askew, singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” loudly and badly. He didn’t know the hand motions. He got carried away and sang the closing note for too long. And at one point he accidentally flopped his hand into the person next to him while getting too into the music.
It was awful, and I was so proud. I was proud because he was fearless and bold and doing his best. And even beyond that, I was proud simply because I loved him. He could have shyly sung with his lips barely parted, and I would have felt the same kind of love.
Seeing Yourself as God’s Beloved Child
I sometimes think of this feeling when I’m down on myself.
In those moments, a little voice inside me says, “You’re a disappointment. You ruined it. Why couldn’t you be better?”
But then I remember: The perfect, almighty God of the universe wouldn’t say this about me, so why would I?
Now, instead of asking myself why I can’t be perfect, I try to see myself as God sees me. Some days are harder than others—but now I understand what it looks like to love myself with a godly self-love.
Are you finding it hard to love yourself today? Take a few moments to discover just how much God loves you:
God sees how hard you are trying to be loving, kind, and helpful. He understands that you will fail at all of these things! And he still loves you. Can you find the grace to love yourself even when you fail?
And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. … There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment. — 1 John 4:16, 18 (GNTD)
God’s love for you is not contingent upon perfection. You don’t need to expect perfection from yourself. Can you look at yourself—flaws and all—and say, “I love me because God loves me”?
God is love. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. — 1 John 4:8b-10 (GNTD)
God isn’t here to condemn you. He is actively working for your good! Try to hold onto that goodness when you’re tempted to condemn yourself.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour. Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. — John 3:16-19 (GNTD)
God loves you no matter what. If you are God’s child, you cannot escape his love.
For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39 (GNTD)