A lot of things are said on Facebook – good, bad, indifferent. I love Facebook for keeping up with friends and being a fun part of my life. Therefore, when things are said that annoy me or that I find disrespectful, I usually just unfollow the page or person. I don’t engage, I do my best to keep negativity out of my life by removing it. Easy Peasy.
I have seen some things recently, though, that are bothering me. I am honestly not sure if it’s because I’m meant to write about it and address it or if it’s my own insecurities rising up. I’ve sat on it a few weeks, and I keep feeling the urge to write about it so here goes.
I love God. I’m not your typical Christian… I’ve been hurt by some people in churches and have panic attacks walking through the doors of one now. I grew up super conservative where everything you did was wrong, and God knew it, and you basically just felt guilt and shame over every action and thought. I could quote (probably still can) many bible verses, more than most, could win a bible drill easily, earned all kinds of “awards” as a kid in the church, and was very much raised religious.
I’m not that anymore. God has opened up my eyes to so much more of who He is and what He wants for us here on Earth. I believe the verse that says Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. I don’t believe that I’m meant to walk in shame, guilt, or anguish. Should I, do I, feel those things over some situations? Of course, but that’s not meant to be my life.
I love God. I live by the words of Jesus, put simply – love God and love others. I do believe that God wants us to live joyful lives, that He wants to bless us abundantly, that He will be there with us through every valley, on our side through all of the trauma that comes with living the human life and rejoice with us on the mountaintops. I believe that God is full of grace and mercy and love and He loves me just as I am… the non-typical Christian.
There is more, I think, that makes me the non-typical Christian. There’s a whole other side of me that some Christians don’t understand. See, I believe God has given us great power on Earth. The power of our spoken words and self talk, the power to affect healing in our body. Affirmations, I ams, positive self-talk, yoga, meditation… the hippie side of me, some might say… is from God. I believe in prayer and using the tools that God has given us here on Earth.
I also believe God wants us to love ourselves. I think God thinks Self-love is really quite important.
The Greatest Commandment
…Mark Chapter 12… 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
I think the part that most people skip over is the very last part – Love your neighbor as yourself. Those two words – as yourself. You cannot truly love others if you hate yourself. Love pours from a full heart and if you cannot even love yourself, how will you love others? How will you hold back jealousy, judgement, and envy of others, when you don’t even love yourself? How will you teach others that God loves them when you don’t feel yourself to be deserving of your own love? To truly love others, we must first love ourselves.
When I speak about self-love on this blog, it’s because I believe it’s a vital part of our lives. I think it’s so important to love ourselves so that we can best love and serve others. I’m not talking about narcissistic love… the love that says I’m better than you or more valuable than you. It’s a love from God, to ourselves, that can then be given away to others.
I also meditate. Some people picture monks sitting cross legged chanting mantras and think… that is not of God. My friends, meditation is simply the act of quieting your mind. I meditate every morning. I sit, often cross legged, I’ll admit! I quiet my mind, focus on my breathing, and rest my mind and body. It is so good for the physical body to meditate. It has healing powers! Our minds, well at least my mind, is always running a million miles a minute. The 10 – 15 minutes that I meditate a day has lowered my resting heart rate from 96 to 76… the physical health benefits of that alone are astounding.
My mind also benefits though. It takes practice and effort to quiet your mind and end the racing thoughts. That is something that helps me throughout the day to stay focused on what’s important and to let the other things go. Meditation is a tool that God has provided that has immense benefits physically and mentally. At the end of my meditation, in which I focus on nothing but my breathing, I turn to prayer with a clear mind and heart. It’s a wonderful way to start my day.
Why am I even explaining this stuff? Because of articles I see getting passed around Facebook that ask Christians to put down self-help books, stop trying to better yourself, that our children don’t need empowered moms, but humble moms, and to stay away from anything that isn’t the bible. People who are judging those who pursue personal development, self-love, and alternative ways of healing (meditations/yoga) and want to live bold, empowered lives.
My friends, why can I not be both? Why can’t I be a humble, god-fearing mom and at the same time be totally empowered and bold and brave? Why can’t I read self-help/personal development books, which have a lot of valuable and worthwhile information, and still be someone who loves God, trusts God, and depends on God?
I don’t see this as an either/or.
I love God. I also practice meditation, yoga, and affirmations. I love God and I also am working to love myself. I love God and I want to empower women, give them a voice, teach them self-love and self-care, and to live magnificent lives. With God. Both. Not either/or. Both.
I’m not super religious sounding here on this blog. I don’t sound that way because I don’t think that way, it’s not who I am. What you get on here is the closest thing to who I am because I write just the way I think. It’s the closest thing I have to being just me.
So, I’ll admit, it hurts when I see people who don’t understand… or think that loving God means excluding self-love or being empowered. I chose to write about it – not to judge them. No, not in any way. I know that everyone is doing the best they can and when they share articles or post things such as I’ve seen, it’s because they think it’s right and they want to help. I get that. None of it is done with ill intent. I understand that.
So I chose to write this to give a different side to the story. Maybe it will help someone to think a little differently.
I also wrote it for you, the people who do read my blog, to better understand me as well. Because although I’m not religious sounding, I am very much someone who loves and trusts God. I created this blog and Mom Strong Life to empower women and to promote self-love. I do that with a heart that loves God and I absolutely believe that these are the things that God is calling me to do.
Let us be God-loving, self-loving, affirmation speaking, meditating, empowered women for Him!