Love Yourself

(Press the music button!)

Definitely one of my favorite artists. Check out the rest of his stuff on Spotify.


Nope, we’re not talking about the Biebs.

But, a small rant about him real quick… I remember seeing his movie in theaters a few years back and feeling like I was on a secret mission. Going lone wolf into the cinema was the only option, as it would have been absolutely ludicrous if I even seemed remotely interested in the film. Super-fan I was not, but nonetheless, I went to see it. I felt like if someone my age had that grand of success, I needed to at least be familiar with their story. But now, years later… as he’s matured, put out more music, and gotten his life together, you’d be a little bit crazy if you didn’t like him. Like, his song came rushing into your subconscious even as you read the title… that’s pretty crazy to me.

There’s really no point to any of that, except that maybe I told you so?

…But really though, that story is reflective of a much deeper thing than simply embarrassment or difference in taste. I would dare say that every person has twinges of this thing that creeps into every instance in their life. As one grows and moves through life, so does this thing, like an old friend that’s inevitably there. Variations in severity and scope constantly fluctuate to the rhythms of existence — it’s seemingly never not present, even in the greatest of moments.

That thing is insecurity.

Lemme tell you a little story. I used to be the most insecure person that I knew. It included everything from my obscenely curly and unruly hair, to my irrational fear to speak on the phone, to my tendencies to worry about everything, to the crookedness of the very teeth in my face… and the list went on for ages. So much of it was about looks — probably something like 75% of it came back to the way that I thought the world saw me. It simply destroyed me daily. I would look in the mirror, and be absolutely dissatisfied with everything about myself. I never once had suicidal thoughts, but on a scale of 1-10, I felt like my usefulness and purpose in the world was about a .5.

Now, somewhere along the line, Jesus came into the picture and a whole lotta things changed, but… that insecurity was something that I had to deal with head on. I knew that it was holding me back — I knew that my destiny could not be accomplished if nothing changed. But it wouldn't happen overnight…

I started working out, eating right, meeting people, playing guitar, etc. — I adopted pretty much every discipline that I could to offset the things that I didn’t like about myself. And it worked… but there’s one crucial, beautiful thing that I began to do that has forever changed my life.

I chose to love myself.

Every morning, I would look myself in the mirror, and smile… even if I didn’t feel like it. I thought of the things that made me unique; the things that God took joy in crafting into my personality and body and mind. I knew that by forcing myself to smile, my brain’s chemistry would change to account for the presence of a smile, therefore making me feel happier. And slowly but surely, I found that the negative voice in my head began to shut it’s ugly face hole. The list of things that I feared began to dwindle, and the vitality that I was missing in life sprang forth in the form of friendships, opportunities, and relationship with Christ. It’s not like everything became perfect… but I now know myself enough to destroy insecure thoughts as they appear and to be proactive about my choice to love exactly who I am.

Happy ending, yay!

But, lemme take a turn here. There’s a much more sinister plot at hand in regards to insecurity, beyond the already personally devastating nature that it maintains.

Wanna know why there’s such intense instances of discrimination and hate and racism engulfing our country and this world? What’s the motive behind all of the recent shootings, and those that have been before? What about the overarching theme of every war that’s ever been? Even more broad, why do we have conflict as human beings at all?

It’s because people have lost sight of the incalculable value of human life, particularly, their own. 

When a person doesn’t place value on their own life, they’re making a choice between these two options: 1. Adding value to self. 2. Subtracting value from others. It’s always a conscious choice. To obliterate the personal infiltration of insecurity is to add value to oneself. But to let it fester is to blur one’s vision… people become enemies, the world becomes solely about you, but most terrifyingly… other humans become worthless. They’re merely beings that inhabit and taint the existence that you’re meant to live, unaltered and unscathed by the whims of humanity.

Whether you know it or not, by having this collection of insecurities, you’re not only robbing yourself of the life you’ve meant to have, but also the people in your life. You don’t start wars, but your insecurity binds you and makes you fearful of having important, life-changing conversations with those you love. You’re not a killer, but your lack of self-confidence could be destructive in your relationships, killing the confidence of others. You might think your insecurities are yours alone, but most definitely not.

Does that sound too extreme? Perhaps. And don’t hear me being insincere about the devastating acts of terror and brutality that have happened recently. I am absolutely heartbroken by the lives that were stolen recently, and even more so by the fact that violence usually is followed by more violence, as proven lately. Nonetheless, what I’m saying is true. So, how do we change this?

I’ll tell you how we don’t: Facebook posts, political rants, verbal tirades, heated conversations, or even blog posts. That only stirs the pot, making the symptoms of insecurity flare up and cause division between people. No it’s way more personal than that…

It starts with you. And I really do mean you… not what you do, not what kind of values or ideals you subscribe to, not even the positive efforts that you make towards making the world better. I’m talking about YOU. You must take up the mantle of choosing to love yourself, purposefully destroying the poison of insecurity that has waged war against you for long enough. Why? Because the world needs you to. I need you to. Your family needs you to. 

Even your greatest efforts to love other people with be useless if you don’t first love yourself.

Big change starts small, and that small change can be you choosing to love the way your body looks. It’s you taking positive steps to being active in your church, instead of being afraid to talk to people. It’s smiling in the mirror and telling yourself that you’re valuable. Understand your insecurities, acquire disciplines, ask for help from the Lord and people, keep doing all of those things, and truly believe that it will happen.

Your insecurity has held you for long enough. Today is the day to be free. Learn to love yourself.

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CHALLENGE: Answer this question… “What are 3 things that you love about yourself?”

In regards to that challenge, perhaps you’ve never even considered any of the things that you truly enjoy about yourself, or that you even have the capacity to. But I promise, there are wonderful things about you. Try breaking the question into three categories: Something that you love about yourself physically, something regarding your personality, and something about the way that you interact with the world around you and people. To give you an example, I’ll share with you my three things.

  1. I love the way that my eyes crinkle around the edges like a smile. I feel like an old man and I love that about myself.
  2. I love that I’m relentlessly optimistic. I’m always on the hunt to find the best in a person, situation, place, or thing… really, that’s why I decided to write about this topic!
  3. I love the fact that I have the capacity to inspire people. I feel like I’m good at making people believe in themselves, dream a little bigger, and encourage them to do whatever it takes to make those audacious dreams happen. It’s one of my greatest joys in life to see other people succeed, and I feel like I can play a part in that.

 

I pray that you feel a little bit lighter in this day by knowing that you’re valuable. I hope that your perspective of the matters of this world become full of compassion and grace and love, knowing that every person is fighting a hard fight. You’re more loved than you can even think about. And not for what you could be, but for who you are right this very moment. Your soul matters far more than those few pounds that you’re quietly murdering yourself over — let it go. I pray that you see the crazy amount of influence that you have in this world, and that you don’t let it go to waste. You are the most amazing person that I’ve ever known, and you’re absolutely worth the price that God paid to save your soul, which is the very life of Jesus. Keep moving forward, friend. I believe in you.