// Denise Hagin Burns
THE WORLD TELLS US as women that we can have it all. We can have a thriving social life, an amazing career, a happy marriage, kids that are involved in every activity, a Pinterest-decorated home, and an inspiring social media presence. But that's a lie. We can't. We can try to do all those things, but we'll sacrifice our happiness.
I know. I thought I could be superwoman. I was trying to give 100 percent to my job, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, and my social media status. Until one day, I was just worn out. I was stressed out and unhappy. I realized I couldn't give 100 percent in every area of my life and still survive!
I cried out, "God, I admit it. I'm not superwoman!" The Lord said, "Who's asking you to be?" And I didn't know. I said, "I just want to be me and I want to be OK with that." The Lord told me, "To just be you, you have to love yourself. You have to love yourself like I love you." And I realized that I didn't love myself.
Somehow, I don't think I'm alone. I feel like there are women who feel the same way I did. No matter how much we do, how early we wake up, or how late we stay awake, we just can't fit it all in. God began to show me how to love myself as He loves me.
That's the key: loving ourselves as God loves us. Being you is letting people see the things you're good at and the things you're bad at. It's being who God created you to be. When you begin to see yourself the way God sees you, you can love yourself, and you can love others.
How God Sees Us
Seeing ourselves the way God sees us can be hard when we look in the mirror. So we have to look into a different mirror—the Word of God.
Luke 12:7 (NLT) says, "The very hairs on your head are all numbered." We are so important to our Heavenly Father that He even knows the number of hairs on our heads!
In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus told us how valuable we are to God.
MATTHEW 6:25–30 (NLT)
25 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?
27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing,
29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you."
If God takes care of the random flowers in the field, how much more will He care for us? We're the ones He gave His only Son for. How much more valuable are we to Him than birds and flowers?
We need to think God's thoughts about us. God made us just the way we are. We are His masterpiece. He's the Artist. God worked and said, "Yes, it's perfect!" One of my favorite passages is Psalm 139. It talks about God making us and how valuable we are to Him. He says in verse 14 (Message) that we are marvelously made.
Truth or Trash?
The first place we must start loving ourselves is in our thought life. I like to use a truth-or-trash concept. We should evaluate every thought that comes into our minds. We should ask, "Is this truth? Is this what the Word says about me?" If it's truth, we keep that. But if it doesn't line up with God's Word, then it's a lie, and we throw it into the trash.
Second Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." To love ourselves as God loves us, we have to control our thoughts. We win or lose battles in life in our minds.
Love Your Neighbor
Why do we need to love ourselves? Because if we don't love ourselves, we can't love others. Jesus said in Mark 12:31 (NLT), "Love your neighbor as yourself." We can't obey God's Word and love others when we don't love ourselves. But when we begin to love ourselves as God loves us, we can love other people. Our lives will be peaceful and joyful. We will treat others with kindness. Our relationships will be different.
Why do we need to love others? Because we need to be Jesus to our communities and the people around us. We might be the only Jesus they will ever see. Are they going to think that Jesus is critical, mean, rude, and hateful? Or are we representing Jesus as kind and loving?
To sum this up, I think one of our biggest problems is that we don't love ourselves. The solution? We need to see ourselves the way God sees us, think His thoughts about us, and begin to love ourselves. Why? So we can love others.
[Editor's Note: This article was adapted from Denise Hagin Burns' Friday morning message at the 2015 Kindle the Flame Women's Conference.]
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