I spoke at my church a couple of weeks back; it is something I get to do 4 or 5 times a year. I enjoy it despite the nerves that sometimes come up; although I do grow more comfortable each time. I try not to over prepare and some may think I don’t prepare at all. The idea is the less prepared I am the more emotionally honest I can be.
Before church started there were a few people in the sanctuary and I stood up and said, “I have nothing to hide,” as a way of not shaming myself before I even got started. One guy said, “Do your talk naked then,” which made me laugh and was a pretty good line.
I began by saying, “I want you to understand that you are beautiful and that you are loved.” This, believe it or not, was not greeted with a lot of smiles and head nodding and people saying, thank you, yes we know we are.
I did see quite a bit of emotion pass over peoples faces however. That we are beautiful and loved, are things we don’t hear and or not demonstrated to us, much through out our lives. It can leave us depressed and honestly thinking something is deeply, deeply wrong with us. Nothing could be further from the truth. James tell us that God’s word is actually implanted in us. What could be more beautiful and love worthy than that.
One of the most beautiful people I have ever met was a recovering drug addict I met in a mental hospital we both were inhabiting in Texas. Her teeth were a mess, yet her smile was uninhibited and gracious. Her body was too thin and in a wheel chair, yet she sat happily telling me stories about how she recovered in God’s care and how blessed she felt.
The other major point I spoke about was hopefully the antidote for growing up in a world where an abundance of love is not on display. I said, “You have to love yourself as much as you love God.” In our self-hate we find all sorts of ways to punish ourselves and to punish others around us. A person can say they love God and mean it, but if they don’t love themselves, they secretly are not going to let God love them either.
There are many ways to demonstrate to yourself that you love yourself. The simplest is to just say it to yourself, in the mirror or just in your mind. I can get overwhelmed with negative emotions like fear, anger, and hate fairly easily at times. When I catch myself I will find a quiet spot and just let myself know I am a child of God, that I am loved and beautiful and that I love myself.
The highest aspect of ourselves is always at oneness with God or the universe, so to speak. But busy lives, busy minds and disbelief leave most of us not recognizing our divinity. If you can know and trust this, you can be enlightened by the time you read this essay. But our minds and ego’s are raised on fear, doubt and hate, so it may take some practice. be that as it may, know that you are loved, beautiful and divine.
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