By Beth Mabe Gianopulos
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NIV
A few years ago, I was having lunch with my friend. To save time, my friend agreed to pick me up in the patient drop-off area at work (I work at a hospital) so that we could ride together to lunch. As usual, I was running late and the elevator was stopping on every floor. While I was on the elevator, a coworker stopped me to discuss an urgent matter. I needed to immediately send an email because the matter was time-sensitive. Because I was already late, I had no choice but to walk and type out the email as I rushed to meet my friend.
I hurried out the door and jumped into the car. I quickly started apologizing while finishing my email. I said, “I am so sorry. I just need to finish this email and then you will have my full attention.” There was a brief pause, and a voice said, “I think you have the wrong car.” In my haste, I had gotten into a stranger’s car! I looked at the lady and said, “Please tell me that you work here and you are not a patient.” She responded, “I am not a patient, but he is.” She pointed out the window to a man that was standing, staring in disbelief at me as I sat in the passenger seat of his car. I knew in that moment that I was far too busy and torn in too many directions.
I live in a world where I am always trying to do multiple things at once. I am often calling to change a child’s dentist appointment while driving the kids to school. I am thinking about how to handle a tricky work issue while I run. I text while I walk to meetings. I talk on the phone while I do laundry.
In my hurried frenzy, most of my time is spent pouring my energy, love, and emotions into others. I try to make sure that I love God with all of my being, and I work hard to make sure that I fully love and care for my family and friends. However, in the midst of the craziness, I rarely, if ever, take time to love and nourish myself.
When Jesus told the disciples the greatest commandment, He stated that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Most of us do not take issue with a command to love God and love our neighbor. However, when we begin to think about loving ourselves, we get uncomfortable. We have often been conditioned to think that loving ourselves is selfish, self-indulgent, or a guilty pleasure. Some of us even become martyrs as we continually give everything to others and leave nothing for ourselves. Yet, Jesus is clear in His command to love ourselves.
I spend much of my time trying to give the world so many amazing gifts. I give away my knowledge, my love, and my time. However, I rarely, if ever, take time to receive these gifts in return.
How have you failed to love yourself? Have you expected far too much of yourself? If so, it is never too late to begin to heal what can be healed.
Jesus, help me learn to love myself. Show me that I am worthy of love and care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For more encouragement, visit Beth at pwlawyermom.blogspot.com.
© 2021 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 03 May 2021.