Photo by our favourite photographer, Jess Mcghie
We asked Brooke to write about anything she wanted (we gave her free reign as she is my-Savvy’s-sister) and this is what she came up with:
Before I chose to pursue my own relationship with Christ outside of my religious family and church background, I bought into the concept of self-love, self-care, and self-esteem. I would train to see myself as something intrinsically valuable that deserved nurturing, and I believed that I only needed myself to nurture and love myself to be happy. The more I dug deep within me to give myself reasons to love me, the more I grew disappointed with myself. I fell short of even my own definitions of why I was valuable and lovable, which led to me in turn believing that I wasn’t valuable and lovable.
Savannah has talked before about the flaws of dwelling too much on self-love here, how it can lead to becoming lost in our thoughts and troubles that we become self-destructive. My definition of self-love is trusting in your own ability to fix or maintain your emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. This belief, that I could take care of my own wellbeing, lead me down the path of struggling with anxiety, depression, eating problems and a severe tainted perspective of my self-worth. The habitual spiral of being consumed with myself was hard to break out of and I’m still dealing before the Lord with the scars and consequences of that mindset and lifestyle.
As I’ve been a Christian, things have been different. I’m called to a life of self-denial, humility, serving the body of Christ, and reaching out to the world.
However, I feel exhausted at the end of day after trying to fulfill all the day’s requirements, plus all the extra needs and burdens to help and love on others that I personally feel as an empathetic extroverted type of person. Church is wearisome. The social dynamics can be stretching when you feel the tense legalistic comments inside of you telling you how to act. This leads to whole spiral of emotions until I’m left in a place of confusion and condemnation where I am hesitant to come before God. I am trying to fulfill the pressures of this cookie cutter mold of what I assume is living a life for God, and feeling as defeated as I felt when I was living a life only to make myself happy. Even as I type this, I feel condemned for even saying that but it is my reality now.
This is the problem with being extremely against self-love and self-care in Christianity. You’re left with a burnt-out girl who hardly can even pray. This is the problem when I consider my needs to be less than others or that God doesn’t care about my wellbeing. The truth is, I am valuable and God does love me. Not letting me take care of myself leads me down the same path of self-destruction as before. God wants me to cast my cares on Him so that I take care of myself in the sight of His gloriously freeing presence.
-Brooke, guest blogger