One of the top twenty-five most quoted Bible verses, 1 Corinthians 13 begins with “Love is patient, love is kind.” The Message Bible translates the second part as, “Love cares more for others than for self.” It is kind. It cares for others. And cares for self.
We already looked at how love is patient and never gives up. (You can read about that here.) . Now let’s look at how kindness translates into caring for yourself too.
It is so important to realize that it doesn’t say to only care for others; it says to care more for others than for oneself. Did you catch that? You still need to take care of yourself. Do not neglect yourself. Neglecting yourself only makes it more difficult to care for, and love well, those around you. We’ve all heard the airplane analogy. You must put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. I believe the Word of God agrees. Love those around you so much that you take care of yourself so that you can better love them. Body, mind, and spirit.
The Bible refers to the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. And instructs us to glorify God in our bodies. This means taking care of them. Feeding them well. Making sure that they are healthy. Treating them like a temple.
I am not great at this. I mean I will train for a race or relay by sticking to a running schedule. And I try to go to the gym at least a couple times a week. I try to eat healthy foods, and I even like them, and love how my body feels when I eat them. But I also like to bake. A lot. Baking may be one of my love languages. Cookies. Cake. Cupcakes. Biscuits. Scones. And I am not one of those people who can make them without tasting them. And once I eat one, well . . . .I just don’t stop. And it’s a struggle. I wonder how much better I could be at loving others if I was better at taking care of myself. How much I could amplify love if I was healthy, and energized, and feeling good.
So in this love month, February, I am challenging myself to love others by taking care of myself. Which is a huge challenge. That means starting each day in prayer and devotions, eating well (not well as in a lot, but well as in healthy – really healthy), choosing to show my love to others in ways other than baking for them, and getting in some sort of exercise (walk, run, gym, workout dvd with my girls) at least four days a week.
Will you join me? Let’s love those around us so much that we also choose to love ourselves. Even if we make mistakes. Even when it is muddled and unmastered, and feels odd. Let’s love. Others AND ourselves. Amplified.