It's true. I used to look in my mirror and hate what I saw, hate who I was. I thought I could love everyone around me without loving myself. How wrong I was. I could be a self-proclaimed martyr, constantly looking after the cares and concerns of those around me, thinking I was doing the best I could to love them. But it's no wonder it's not enough. You can't love your neighbor if you don't first love yourself. Until Jesus met me one day and revealed what was really in my heart, I never would have repented of this sin of self-hatred. Oh I might have said I just didn't like who I was. Somehow I had accepted the lie that this was okay. But this isn't humility. It's not humility to look at what God made and created good and call it ugly. Once Jesus tenderly revealed this to me and I repented, I had some healing to do. I didn't know how to love myself right away. I had never seen myself the way HE saw me. So I had to ask for Him to show me, "Lord, what do you see when you look at me?"And He began to reveal it to me. He began to show me how much He loved me and give me glimpses of who He'd called me to be, and you know what? I loved what I saw! I can sincerely tell you right now, as weird as this sounds, I love myself! I look in the mirror and I think I'm highly favored and beautiful, I have a calling on my life that NO ONE else can fulfill. I have a Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally.
Let me show you how He revealed these things to my heart. I have known so many Scriptures in my life, but have never felt the truth of them in my heart until He began to reveal them to me through dreams, visions, and journaling. I think I have had what's called an "orphan spirit" - mentally I knew WHOSE I was, but I still felt disconnected from my Father. Almost like He'd adopted me as an after thought, because it was the right thing to do, but I wasn't truly His. In fact I had actually bought into the lie that I could never be close to Him. There was something wrong with me, that would always keep us apart, that would always keep me from experiencing the intimacy I craved with Him. Or so I thought.
Well, one day as I was pondering this, I told the Lord, "Just make me a gatekeeper in your house! I don't deserve to even be near you at all. I'd be happy to serve you in any way!" He turned to me, took my hand, and said, "No, you're my daughter! Only the best for you! Let me show you what I have for you! Let's celebrate!" And He took me into his house. He also reminded me of the time he knelt to wash Peter's feet. In response to Jesus' actions, Peter said, "No, Lord! You shouldn't wash my feet!" Then He reprimanded me gently, "Don't be like Peter. Don't tell me how to love you."
Another time, He allowed me to see myself in the parable of the prodigal son. Oh how many, many times I'd read this passage and heard this story! Yet it never sunk in until I saw myself as the prodigal daughter, returning home and preparing to ask for a servant's position, when the Father came running to meet me! He had been waiting and watching, longing for a glimpse of my return! He picked me up in His arms and kissed me! I am His daughter! I'm not half-rate, I'm not someone off the street who He pitied and brought home to care for - I always was and always am HIS daughter! Joint-heirs with Jesus! That means everything He has is also mine! The King of heaven poured out all of His extravagant love with no expectations in return! He just wants me to take my rightful place as his daughter! Wow! What incredible love! Now I could quit living my life as if I didn't really have a Heavenly Father!
What about you? Have you ever felt as if you didn't belong in the Father's house with Him? Have you talked to the Father and allowed Him to change this perspective for you?
(For Scripture references, see Luke 15:11-32; Psalm 84:10; Romans 8:14-17.)