Tuesday, September 6, 2016

52 Lists Project: ways you can love yourself more

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row on a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

Fellowship North is about to start a sermon series through Philippians, and the women's ministry is also going to study Philippians, so I'm currently reading through it. I am very familiar with Philippians 4:6-7 (it's part of the prayer we pray with Brooklyn every night), but this time a phrase stood out to me. Let your requests be made known. 

Let your requests be made known? It hovered in my mind, poking me occasionally to remind me it was there. Then I had lunch with a friend. We were in the midst of attempting to get a bottle cap off with a car key when a guy sitting several tables away got up and brought us the bottle opener on his keyring. The lid came off easily (amazing how much having the right tool helps...) and that verse poked me again. When you're open about your struggles, people help you.

Later, I answered a how are you? text honestly, and started a conversation about a struggle I was having. She offered comfort, prayers, and a small dash of advice - and I found a peace about the situation where before there had only been anxiety. (Lo and behold, my "problem" then resolved itself without any assistance from me.)

The whole phrase says, "let your requests be made known to God," but there's value in the community of His people, too - in opening up to others, they can join us in lifting up those requests. Then waiting for a reply begins to feel less like a dark, lonely bus stop where you begin to wonder if you read the timetable wrong and actually missed the last bus of the night, and more like hanging out on a bench talking with your friends while you wait for the restaurant table you know will open up eventually.

What does this have to do with loving oneself? Well, when I'm secure in the knowledge that I am loved, I spend my emotional energy loving others, instead of turning inward and self-destructively trying to independently supply my own needs. Therefore...

A list of ways I can love myself more realize how loved I am

1. Spend time with Jesus - both reading my Bible, and in prayer
2. Spend time with encouraging friends (who will point me to Jesus)
3. Take time to wonder...
     a. at nature
     b. at the gifts and talents He's given to me, and to others
     c. at unexpected beauty
4. Journal - keep a record that I can look back at when I'm tempted to think that everything is horrible and it's always been that way
5. Create, for the joy of reflecting my Creator

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