Do I love well? I have been challenged with this thought lately: “He who does not love abides in death” (taken from the Bible in 1 John 3:14). If I believe love saves and sustains us, then I would be compelled to love well everyday to everyone and everything. So I ask myself, “Do I love people through not only my words, but my actions? Do I love nature by treating it kindly? Do I love myself by giving my spirit and soul solitude and my body nourishment? What does loving well look like in my everyday life?”
As I wrestle with these questions, I have come to realize in order to love others and nature well, I must first start by loving myself. What does loving myself well look like in my everyday life? I believe it is giving my spirit and soul time and space to express itself. If I don’t know myself, I can’t possibly expect to understand others. I believe it is giving my body the food and exercise it needs to function well. If I don’t have energy during the day, I cannot possibly love others well. Instead, I get annoyed and act rudely or unkind (I hate to admit that one, but it is true).
As I begin to take care of myself, I realize how my body is a gift to experience the fullness and beauty of life. I get to taste the deliciousness of a juicy watermelon in the summertime. I get to feel the warmth of my morning coffee mug in my hands as I anticipate the activities of a new day. I get to see the majesty of the massive Redwood tree as it reaches its arms up to the heavens. I get to hear my best friend’s baby’s laugh as she discovers a new toy. What a gift to be able to experience these wonders?!
These experiences fuel the desire to take care of the gift of my physicality. And to take care of this gift, is gratitude to the One who gave me the gift. If I gave my sister a gift of a beautiful ring that I had worked hard to buy for her, then she scuffed it up and never polished it that it would radiate its brilliance, I would be hurt. The way she takes care of the gift shows me how she views my gift, ultimately showing me that she doesn’t care about the work and heart I put into giving her that gift. So I ask myself the questions, “Am I loving my body well so as to show the One who gave it to me that I am so grateful for it? Am I showing Him that I love His work and His heart behind giving me this precious gift?” Oh, I hope so!
To love my body well means I actually care about the fuel I put in it (just like if I had my dream car, a Land Rover, I can promise you that I would put premium gasoline in it!). I will eat colorful fruits and vegetables that protect my body from disease and getting worn down. I will eat protein foods that sustain me. I will drink water so as to get rid of toxins that could destroy my body.
I will also take care of my body by moving it. I will go for a run most days of the week to keep my heart pumping properly. I will do lunges and squats so I can maintain strength as I grow old. I will do a few yoga poses before bed to release the stress of the day and protect my body from injury. All so I can have energy to fully experience the wonders of life.
It is this very thought that propels me to love my body everyday: *to love myself well, to care for my body, is gratitude to my Creator.* Therefore I choose carefully what I eat, what I drink, how I move, when I rest, and what I think about so as to live a life of honor, beauty, and gratitude.
How do you live gratefully? How do you love your body well? Have you noticed that loving yourself helps you love others best?