And the greatest of these is love…

So, first of all, Happy New Year to all of my sweet friends! I am so very thankful for another year on this earth together. I hope you had a beautiful holiday surrounded by people you love and love you right back!

Now, I know that many of you sat down January 1st (or before) and made your list of resolutions for the new year – lose weight, get your finances in order, grow your career, spend more time with family or friends. Yup, I’ve made them all. I haven’t kept them all, but I’ve definitely made them.

But this year, I decided to approach the New Year a little differently. I didn’t want to set a resolution that I would break before the ink dried on the paper (January 17th is an actual holiday called Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day! Can you believe the cynical people who make this stuff up!).

More importantly, I didn’t want to set a resolution that I could beat myself up about later. No, I’m tired of deciding to make a change to only berate myself in my head all day every day after I failed at achieving it. That internal voice that says you aren’t good enough, you aren’t strong enough, you are worthless or powerless because you weren’t able to do something you set out to do.

And does that voice motivate us to do better and do more? Nope. It usually drives us deeper into things we are trying to change. Want to lose weight – well, you can’t do it so how about a bag of donuts to drown your sorrows in? Trying to stick to a budget. Well, you definitely can’t do that so you might as well go blow a big stack of cash at Target.

No, this year, I made a different decision. I made the decision to love. We are children of the most loving God. He made us, knit us together exactly, and loves us more than we can imagine. Yet, knowing all of that, we find it hardest to love – truly love – ourselves. Isn’t that wild?

Our directive from God is simple. To love. It is in the bible over and over:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 NIV

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

“We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV

And this is just the tip of the iceberg where love is concerned. The word love is in my NIV translation of my bible a whopping 551 times! Yes! You know, as a parent, when I repeat something to my children it is because I want them to know and remember it. I want it to sink down deep and become a part of them. I think God is doing the same thing for his children. He wants us to love. Unconditionally. And not just others, but ourselves! You cannot fully love someone else if you don’t first love and are thankful for the gift of YOU that God has given you.

Let me repeat that (because this mama loves you and I want you to remember this):

You cannot fully love someone else if you don’t first love yourself.

Now, I don’t mean love yourself in the conceited, narcissistic way that makes us want to run away from some people. No. I mean love yourself by being kind to you. By being loving to you. By being thankful for YOU.

Learning to love yourself is life changing. And isn’t that our goal with each resolution we write? We are trying to change something we don’t love and repeatedly beat ourselves up about instead of just starting with simply deciding to love.

So this year, listen to your most awesome Heavenly Father and love yourself. It is a command. He said so, so we just gotta do it. And at the end of 2017, my prayer for you is that your year will have been filled with blessings and accomplishments and personal growth that started with the most perfect seed of love.

If you are struggling with finding your way to loving yourself or just can’t wrap your head around that, let’s get together and talk about it. I would be honored to help you find your path toward loving you.

Much LOVE (see what I did there),

Natalie

NatalieBarnhillCounseling@gmail.com

#love #goals #newyearsresolutions

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