To view the first post in this two part series head over to: https://debdebbarak.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/towards-an-ethic-of-self-love-part-1-of-a-2-part-series/?preview=true&preview_id=2003. The following is a poem I recently wrote on the theme of Self-Love:
How easy is it
To read the words of Scripture
To attempt to pour truths over our own lives
To vibrantly, passionately live in Christ,
All the while
Allowing stones to choke our lives?
From the very One who breathes into our frame
Dishonestly cheating ourselves of the true peace that lives there.
Slaves to the three minute culture.
Slaves to the very statements of consumerism that cheat us of true, lasting love.
It’s like we’re in solitary confinement
All the while being surrounded by people.
It’s like Japanese water torture
But instead of unsteady drips
We are forced to listen to the vile tape inside our minds
Poisoning us from the true love that could flow
IF ONLY WE LET IT.
We wonder where God is in this mess.
Why doesn’t He care?
Does He even listen?
But have we ever thought,
Truly taken a moment to ponder
That God is speaking to us,
But we won’t listen?
We pray for miracles
And then brush off the birth of a new child,
The dignified letting go of a brave soul who fought cancer for years,
The courage a teenager shows to say no to drugs and yes to life.
Relegating courage to the sidelines,
We elevate Esther, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King
All the while ignoring the courage of single mothers,
Women who were abused but continue to press on,
And the homeless man down the street.
We ask God to love us,
We demand from our pulpits to love our friends,
And even our enemies.
But we forget to love ourselves.
Abusing our bodies,
Pushing them past their limits,
Denying them sleep,
All in the name of so-called love of another.
Abusing our minds,
Abusing our spirits,
Playing the victim.
Convincing ourselves that the injustices of the world fall squarely on our shoulders
Rather than equally sharing the burden.
Abusing our very souls,
With notions that mar God’s good intentions.
That we are ugly instead of creatively crafted,
That we are stupid or deficient,
Instead of uniquely gifted.
That we are unworthy of love and the affection of others,
Instead of selfishly loved by the Creator Himself.
How selfish can we be?
Pretending to die to self,
Only so that we can justify living for ourselves?
Forgetting to love ourselves only so that we can selfishly love others.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbours as ourselves.
It’s so easy to do the first part, but to ignore the latter.
Choosing to deny self-care is the most selfish, distasteful, and unethical thing we can do.
For it is only in loving ourselves that we find strength to love others.
That we find the courage to be fully loved and accepted by God.
It is only in loving ourselves that we love what is right and just.
Only then does it become easy for us to read the pages of Scripture
As a defined love letter delicately passed to us.
And it is only then
That God will speak to us,
Because we will have chosen to listen.