Disclaimer: This post will be awkward for some.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as YOURSELF.”
During the 90’s, there was this “professional wrestler” who I loved. He wasn’t the most athletic, but he was the one who made me think I could be a wrestler in those dream filled days of my youth. He had this great theme song, “It’s me. It’s me. It’s DDP. SELF HIGH FIVE.” He was the “face”. He was the one to make you believe in yourself and it’s okay to give yourself a high five every once in a while.
Around the same time I found DDP and his “Self-High Five”, my family got the internet for the first time (1997, maybe?) and with this new internet I had something I had never had before. I had access to something “risque”. We all know what I’m talking about. I was a ten year old boy…. And I had access to unlimited “videos” and “pictures” and I started giving myself “high fives” pretty often.
This was not a healthy self-love. I did it way too often and started probably way too young. Later on in life, I think it caused me to have anxiety issues and perhaps some social awkwardness. I was constantly looking for my “next fix”. I found myself, as a young man, creating awkward moments when I tried to look down a girl’s shirt so I could have some “inspiration” for later. These acts did not increase my self-esteem, but deplenished it. I was not an emotionally healthy young man.
So, we go from that very unhealthy boy to a young man in his early to mid twenties, a wife and a ministry. The emotional health that I do have, I owe to people who have loved me and shown me the love of God in human form. I was blessed to be a part of a thriving church in Pineville, Louisiana and during that time, I grew emotionally under the awesome tutelage of some amazing pastors. They assured me that I was made in the image of God. They assured me that I was important, needed and worthy of love. I honestly think the only way to properly self love is in community. I am taking care of me when I am surrounded by folks who love me.
So, how do we take this idea of “I am loving myself when I’m surrounded by folks who love me,” to “loving my neighbor”? What does that look like? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments and look for more on the blog tomorrow.