This post is made up entirely of a correspondence between me and one of my readers who commented on my post The Marriage ABCs – R for Respect is Reciprocal. I thought more of my readers would benefit from reading our discussion, because it really blessed me too. Though the original question was not about self-love, that was the general gist when we got going. The correspondence is shared with permission.
Reader: What does it mean for a husband to be the least of the two?
Ufuoma: I’m not sure how to answer this, but in case it is a simple question of what it means to be the least, then my answer would be “it means to humble yourself, and put your spouse ahead of yourself”. It isn’t just husbands that should do this, but wives too. Jesus said WHOEVER seeks to be great must be a servant. The wife should not wait for her husband to humble himself before she does, and neither should the husband wait for his wife to humble herself before he does.
Reader: I have another one… If you put your spouses needs before your own, is that practicing self love?
Ufuoma: That is practicing sacrificial love… God’s love. Real love. Putting your needs before others is not loving. It is natural and selfish. Love is always humble.
Reader: So what are your ideas about self-love?
Ufuoma: Self-love is about self-respect. Giving yourself due regard and not running yourself down. You need to be in good health, shape and mind to be able to give good love to others. Self-love is looking after yourself so you can be useful and loving to others. It isn’t vanity nor an obsession or preference to self.
Reader: Can you look after yourself when you do not have the financial means to do so? Can you thoroughly love a spouse with unconditional love and provide for them when you can not financially care for yourself? Financially meaning, eating healthy foods, health care, investing in your presentation of self, self preservation, investing in the mind and spirit, pursuing dreams and goals, etc.?
Ufuoma: If you are looking to be perfect before you can help someone else, you have the wrong idea. Self improvement is an endless pursuit. There is no definition for enough, and chasing after that is a frustrating vocation. Contentment is the key, and you can be content no matter your circumstance. Even the poor can help the sick, because they are poor and not sick or dead! Everyone at every level can love someone else, even though they have needs. Self-love in such situations is basically being reasonable enough not to neglect yourself in the process of helping or loving others. Sometimes, you have to say NO. And knowing when and how often takes REAL LOVE and WISDOM.
Reader: I don’t know if it’s my environment, circumstance, or what but right now, my needs matter more than anyone else because everyone has put their needs before mine. If I don’t care for my needs, no one else will.
Ufuoma: I know how you feel… There are some situations which are dire that we must put on our safety belt first, so we can be able to help others secure their safety. If you are really in that situation, then do what you have to do and ask God to help you, so that you can be in a position to help others, and not always trying to help yourself. Also remember that if we love and follow God, it is God who looks after us. Jesus said seek first God’s kingdom, and all those things we need and that others worry about will be given to us. Sometimes, we are too focused on what we lack, rather than what we have already been given. If you ask God, He can show you what He has already given you (your talent) so you can help yourself and others.
Reader: I wouldn’t say I’m always worried about myself it is in the phase of lack when I put my needs before others especially, when my needs are made out to be miniscule. Perhaps it is a transition phase that hurts, the in between what life used to be and where god is taking me. My emotions tell me, it doesn’t feel good so mind trys to rationalize – it must not be good.
I’m working to grasp the “it was good for me attitude” about losses, hurt, and afflictions during a transition phase. Where is the other side?
Ufuoma: I’m not sure if I fully understand what you are saying. Are you saying that you are trying to understand what people mean they say that all things work together for their good, even bad things?
Reader: Yes. My attitude about my circumstance is what I’m fighting to change. I just know with certainty I should be further along then where I am now. The manifestation of my work has yet to be seen, this is frustrating when necessities need fulfillment.
Ufuoma: I think I am in a similar boat. What we need is more grace and more faith! The truth is GOD IS IN CONTROL (even though it doesn’t automatically change how you feel or even believe about what you are going through, it is still the truth. Trust it and rest in it).
It is also the truth that EVERYTHING is working together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Have you been called? Are you walking according to His purpose? Are you loving God by loving your neighbours and brethren? If you continue in this, whatever happens, God is working something out, the same way He was working something out for Joseph, who had been given revelation of his glory before time, but suffered the opposite for DECADES.
The only thing that kept Joseph was grace and faith. He didn’t stop believing nor trusting nor obeying God. He remained faithful. He endured everything he suffered, and he grew in character through everything. Scripture tells us that all our trials are for a purpose and they are working to build our character so that we will grow into the image of God, to be as LONG SUFFERING, GRACIOUS, HUMBLE and LOVING as He is. This process will break you… You will have to surrender to it, hang on to God and keep on believing…
And those who endure til the end shall be saved. Think long term. Think eternity. Think purpose. Think Jesus, who for the joy set before Him ENDURED THE CROSS.
God bless you 🙂
So that’s it. I hope you got something from that too. If you’ve got a different opinion or understanding, don’t be afraid to share! Make your contribution in the comment section.
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