Why is it sometimes hard for us to love ourselves completely, when we have a Father who has done so before we even existed?
This is a thought that has crossed my mind more than once in my life. We have been given such a great example of love thanks to the Father.
Most of my reflections come from conversations with good friends. I really think the Lord works through the people in my life most often when He wants to reach me. Over Christmas break, I was walking with a friend through a few rough days of her feeling tired and overextended. These talks often revolve around how to love and take care of ourselves better, something that we both struggle with and was an original point of bonding in our friendship. Through our conversations, I began to reflect on my journey with self-care and love, and how that journey has gone alongside my journey towards Christ.
This reflection led me to realize that as women, but also Catholics, insecurities seem to be bred in an instant, and we are on a journey of knowing the Father and His love for us. I used to think that feeling insecure was a sign that I didn’t fully believe that Jesus loved me, because if I did, I thought all my problems would go away.
This is far from the truth. As people of faith, we are allowed to be insecure. We are allowed to feel our weaknesses. We are allowed to not feel okay! I wish I would have let myself believe this earlier. If we don’t accept these truths, we have no need for God, which gives us such a beautiful space to grow in dependency on Him. Our weaknesses have a purpose. They help us rely on our Creator.
Even though we know in our heads that we are unconditionally loved, why is it sometimes difficult to live like we know it, and show ourselves the love we deserve?
The answer I have found is simple – we are a broken people. We sometimes think we have to be perfect, when that status has been reserved for Jesus and His mother Mary alone! We sometimes find it easier to love and invest in others than to invest and love ourselves where we are, and how we are. In our imperfect efforts. Our imperfect prayer. Our imperfect relationship with Jesus.
At St. Isidore’s, I see so much love being sown. I see women investing in women, men investing in men, and leaders loving others so well. What does this look like specifically? It looks like sacrificing time, putting phones down, intentionally listening, buying your friend’s coffee, sticking by others through difficult times, offering mercy when others wrong us, and many other things. In a community that is generous when pouring out love to others, I challenge those reading to reflect on how they pour out love to ourselves.
We should be making sure to listen to our own feelings and validate them. Showing ourselves mercy when we slip up. Take ourselves to coffee to check in with ourselves. All of the love we look to give to those close to us, we should give to ourselves regularly. This looks like taking breaks, saying no, and many other things, depending on your individual needs.
Hope still lives here. In our admitting imperfection, the Father delights in us. When we are satisfied with ourselves and love ourselves, the Father delights in us. This is not my first post to include a song reference… but a short phrase from “Big Black Car” by Gregory Alan Isakov that comes to mind here is “plain jane glory.” I hear these words and see the Father delighting in all of our plain jane glory, in us being satisfied with our imperfection.
I want to encourage you, reader, to join me in finding ways to love ourselves like the Father loves us, right where we are. Even though it’s hard, this is the best way to truly experience the growth He desires for each of us. This will bring us closer to loving ourselves the way the Father loves us.
Grace Leonard is a junior studying Secondary Education and Social Studies. She feels deeply, is passionate about music, and is inspired by the irreplaceable-ness of every human person. Click here to find her blog & musical outlets.