The Greatest Counterfeit
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
I used to measure my maturity by how often I sacrificed for others. In fact, fatigue from putting others first was the badge of “most loving.” “I will be truly Christ-like when I can put others first and happily surrender what I want” I believed.
Often, out of a fear of being selfish and unchristlike, people have swung to the other extreme and made themselves nothing, living only to care for others in place of themselves.
….Wait, I thought that was what we were supposed to be doing.
I used to think that too.
Some teach that true love is complete denial of self for the good of others. This has filtered how we read the Bible so much that some read scripture as, “Love your neighbor (not) yourself.”
“I can only do what I want after others’ needs are met,” one may think. However, the problem is that needs never end; therefore, to love well, one must always be sacrificing her time, needs and desires.
It sounds holy though, right?
Growing up, when friends came to my home, my mom taught me, “Kara, they are the guest, they get to choose what to do.” “Okay… sounds logical,” I thought. Yet, when I went to other people’s homes my mom would tell me, “Kara, you’re the guest, let them choose what to do.” …
“Wait a minute!”, I thought, “When is it my turn?” My question to you today is, when you constantly love others, when is it your turn?
Listen, there is a difference between selfless love and a lack of self-love. Sometimes, in your desire to love well, one forgets that it biblically needs to include yourself.
Do you recognize any of these traits in yourself?
You highly value your own time because it is the only time when you get to do what you want.
You feel uncomfortable if others put you first or want to serve you.
You begin to feel resentful or fatigued when you are doing all the giving.
You feel guilty or like a burden when you ask for help.
If you identify with the above statements, you may be operating out of a false version of love and cheating yourself out of something no one else can give you.
Why does it matter? you might say. Taking care of yourself is the most loving thing you can do because then you are not expecting others to do it for you.
When you learn to value yourself it creates a sense of deep peace where you can give yourself value and protect what is important to you, even around those who seem to always suck you dry.
Your schedule, energy, and emotions are no longer at the mercy of others. You have learned to become a powerful person.
Let me tell you a story.
One of my clients named *Jane gets work calls constantly on her off-hours. Jane believed that it was loving to answer the phone and meet the need at the end of the line. “It’s just one call.” “They need me and I am technically free right now.”
Not only did these calls take her free time but often the calls put Jane in a work mentality for the rest of the day, sucking away the precious personal time she had set aside.
Although it may seem loving for Jane to answer the phone, this habit brought resentment and frustration (not love).
Why do they keep calling me? Don’t they respect my time?!
Through coaching, Jane decided to act as a powerful person and meet her own needs by getting a Google voice number to block calls during her off-hours.
Regardless of how often work called, it was Jane’s responsibility to respect herself and protect her own time. The result? Jane became free from resentment and filled with peace and love for her coworkers.
Jesus shares that the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. “As yourself” means equal to yourself. You are worthy of the same love towards yourself that you express towards others.
The Bible does not often refer to loving oneself because that was the expectation from the culture at the time. (1 Peter 3:7) In fact, the culture of Jesus’s day loved themselves so much Jesus wanted them to replicate it as a measure of how to love others.
Learning practically what it looks like to value and speak kindly to yourself can be a lifelong journey. I encourage you to surround yourself with a team of women who will remind you of truth and help you keep moving forward.
If you would like professional support, I have intentionally been on this journey for the past 10 years and would love to serve you. I will lend you my tools and process which save you years of frustration and weariness to finally live loved like you were created for.
Questions or comments give me a call at 206-498-8321 or email me at email@example.com
P.S. Check out the blog below to see some common signs that you are not fully walking in all the love God has for you.
Signs you don’t love yourself
1. You do not feel free to be who you are. If you don’t think you’re good enough, you probably do not feel free to show how you are because you feel ashamed, as a result, you burn a lot of energy trying to be someone you’re not, just to please others and get their approval.
2. You do not spend time alone. If you always need to be surrounded by people, because you don’t feel well alone, it is likely that you feel uncomfortable with yourself and it bothers you what you see when you search within yourself. In this case, it is necessary that you learn to appreciate and enjoy your company.
3. You do not express your ideas. If you always conform yourself to the opinions of others, even when you disagree with them, it is likely that in the bottom hides the lack of self-esteem. Maybe you think that your ideas are not interesting enough to be considered, or you’re afraid to express them.
4. You do not “pamper” yourself. Inside us lives a small child who needs to be comforted and pampered constantly. Whenever you pamper and satisfy your whim, you’re saying to you that you consider yourself valuable, worthy of these small pleasures, if you don’t do it, it’s probably because you do not feel good about yourself.
5. You don’t appreciate your achievements. Very few people manage to win the Nobel prize, but each person is valuable and contributes in some way to the environment in which he lives. If you can not see your results, it might be because you do not love yourself enough and tend to play down everything you do.
6. You treat yourself too harshly. Criticizing ourselves is good, it allows us to discover our mistakes and grow. However, being overly harsh in judging us, to the point of denígrate ourselves, simply indicates that we don’t love ourselves, and punish us for being who we are.
7. You do not care about your body. The body is our temple, we should not be too obsessed to have a perfect figure, but we should not neglect physical activity and diet either. The lack of personal care often indicates a lack of deeper love, it says we don’t think we deserve to devote time and effort to ourselves.
8. You don’t motivate yourself. We can all fail, but the difference between those who achieve their goals and those who stop halfway is self-confidence and the ability to self-motivate yourself when things go wrong. Of course, it is not to become a naive optimist, but to find those keys that motivate us and learn how to use them when we need an extra dose of motivation.
9. You do not trust yourself. Self-confidence is essential to develop healthy self-esteem. People who do not love each other don’t even have enough trust in their abilities and despise frequently. So far, if you often say to yourself that you can’t do it, that you're incapable, these are warning signs to indicate that you have to change the relationship you have with yourself.
10. You do not open yourself to others. People who do not love themselves enough usually have difficulties in opening to others and to compromise in relationships. Because they think they do not deserve love, they close in their shells so that no one can discover this lack of self-esteem.