I work in healthcare, a super demanding field. Twelve to fourteen hours a day on my feet with little to no time to stop and take a break.

A few days ago, a coworker of mine was talking to me and asked, “How can you love your patients if you don’t make time to love yourself?”

Interesting question. Think I’m going to write an article about it.

You need to love yourself in order to give love to others. A logical statement. Makes sense. If we don’t have love, then how are we giving love away?

Perhaps we receive love from our friends, family, coworkers, or social media. But if we’re honest, these things are fickle, some temporary, and we may not always get the amount of love that we want or expect.

But, as Christians, we get love from the everlasting love.

We can love others because God is continually pouring out His unconditional steadfast love on us.

Instead of “You shall love yourself before you love your neighbor,” the Bible tells us “You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matt 22:39)

Sounds similar, so what’s the difference?

Loving yourself before loving someone else means that you would never sacrifice “you time” on others. If anything, or anyone, interrupts your day, odds are you wouldn’t stop everything to help. How could you interrupt your hot date with a bath bomb to bring your friend’s daughter to the ER?

Listen, I am the introvert of introverts. I am fully aware of the need to have a few hours, or even an entire day, to yourself. Nothing better than lighting a candle and snuggling up with a good book. I get it. As I write this, I am in a room all alone with a lit candle.

But what I am saying is that you shouldn’t put off sharing the love of Christ for the sake of your “me time”.

Love is sacrificial. Jesus taught His disciples to love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you, lend to others, and hope for nothing in return. (Luke 6:27,35)

Loving others as you love yourself means that you treat, care, and tend to others the way you WISH they would treat, care, and nurture you, not how they already are treating you.

How polar opposite is this to our society?

Anytime I ever mention this to my friends, they always look at me like I have ten heads.

“Why do you still talk to her? She did x, y, and z to you!” “How could you forgive him again?!”

I can because God does.

How rad would it be if we all became people who fully embraced His love and spread that caliber of love to those in our spheres of influence?

Loving that annoying coworker, being thoughtful to the guy who gossips about you, spending time with your brother that you have a broken relationship with, forgiving your friend who hurt you.

Sharing our testimony through our actions.

Living counterculturally so that others can see a difference in us.

Loving others before we love ourselves.

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