This week’s blog highlights key lessons from Joyce Meyer’s devotion, Love Out Loud. I was captured by two devotions in my daily reading, Loving Yourself with Your Words and Think on Purpose because I often need to be reminded of how valuable I am, along with God’s love.
I have a list of 10 positive, empowering beliefs above my desk, and every time I feel discouraged, anxious, or unworthy, I glance up at them to remind myself of my new beliefs. Focusing on what needs to be done, I recite my empowering beliefs daily.
I haven’t always loved myself or spoken to myself in a positive way. Several years ago I was going through a mental battle because I was attracted to other women. Attending church services and reading the verses that speak against homosexuals made me believe that I was an outcast and was not worthy to be loved or to love. I tried to pray the attractions away but they wouldn’t leave me. I began hating myself for being this way, so much that I would physically hurt myself with a wooden spoon or ruler. Pain and then bruising. I felt like I needed to be punished and I did not feel worthy enough to keep living.
Love Yourself Even If Others Don’t Do a Good Job At It
I have heard it said, “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t expect others to love you either.” I had been living in a dream world, expecting others to love me even when I didn’t love myself. No matter how many times I connected with someone, whether as a friend or a lover, I still felt empty. Putting too many expectations on my friends was not helping, such as wanting them to give up their own activities so they could spend time with me.
My problem was that I did not believe God could satisfy my physical needs. I understood how to receive comfort from His word and through prayer for my emotional needs, but how does He fulfill the physical desires? Instead of spending time with Him, I went my own way and fell into a habit of expecting others to fill my cup instead of relying on God.
In the devotion, Joyce Meyer reminds us that God says good things about us in His word, and He wants us to agree with Him. He says He loves us, wants to spend time with us, and forgives us for our sins.
God tells us to love each other for love comes from Him. How simple is that? For when we love each other, we also love ourselves. God created us to love. He is all about love; that’s why He sent Jesus to save us. Jesus spoke the words “love one another” 11 times.
In 1 Corinthians 13, God tells us that love never fails. NEVER! That’s not sometimes it fails or once in awhile it fails. Never means not at all. That is very encouraging to someone who may be at the end of their rope. Before they’re about to let go, we should yell, “Hang on, love will not fail you!” Those words were encouraging and kept me from falling too.
You Are Not Defined By Your Weaknesses in God’s Eyes
There have been times in my life when I felt unworthy. Hearing hateful jokes and condemning words from church members about gay people pushed me deeper into the closet. The ability to feel safe even when peeking out, seemed impossible. That all changed a year ago.
Tired of lying to everyone, I wanted to live with integrity, but I found it hard to be honest about my same-sex attraction. I felt different than most people at my church. Surely they would treat me like an outcast if they knew my secret. I read about others who experienced peace and freedom after they came out. That’s what I wanted for myself. God created everyone in His own image. EVERYONE! So there was nothing I should have been ashamed of or hiding.
While I thought I could let go of my attraction, I discovered it would always be a part of me. Everyone has attractions. The only thing you can control about them is how you act on them.
When I think about my life, it’s like I was wearing a 3-in-1 jacket, a coat within itself. My outside coat was full of shame, unworthiness, hate, and despair, things that I need to keep off, discard. But my inner coat is what I need to have wrapped around me at all times. I constantly need to insulate myself with love, sincerity, kindness, joy, forgiveness, and faithfulness – the things from God. Having the Fruit of the Spirit in me will help keep out the ugly’s, along with reciting my empowering beliefs.
The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned
Joyce Meyer writes, “Knowing who you are in Christ is one of the most valuable lessons you can ever learn.” She also says, “We must learn to look for good, not bad. For we all have faults and weaknesses, but we all also have good qualities.”
Reading daily devotions is something I am making myself do until it becomes a habit because I want to know my value in Christ instead of devaluing myself due to my same-sex attraction. I want to affirm my good qualities because God loves me just the way I am.
I am starting to see myself as a valuable part of the Kingdom with a message of love and acceptance to share with the world. Staying in God’s Word and being around positive-minded people is helping.
I am thankful for God’s love, grace, and forgiveness towards me, and I’m learning to forgive myself for years of self-abuse and disrespect.
When you understand you have value with God, you will feel good about yourself and you can do amazing things for others. It is easier to see God’s blessings when you are positive. So speak to yourself with loving words and remind yourself of what God’s says about you.
This week join me in saying this mantra every morning: I am valuable. What empowering beliefs do you recite everyday? Share them in the comments.
Why not purchase Love Out Loud and join me in this study?