Love Others As Yourself
Author: Jenna Vanderhaar
October 15, 2019
Loving our neighbor as ourselves…wait. The lightbulb flashed on.....
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
As a kid, the words of these verses would roll off my tongue effortlessly as I would recite it on a regular basis. I never really thought about what it said, meant or the significance it carries. While on the Wholeness Journey in Costa Rica, I had a revelation when this passage popped back up and was able to see it tangibly, experience it and come to a deeper appreciation for the sequence of words I used to breeze through.
First off, the verse states our responsibility to love God. God is love and He desires for us to love Him back. This directly correlates to the activities we led the women of Transforma in the ministry we partnered with. Each day we had an activity related to our minds, our bodies and our spirits. Love Him with all our soul - where our Spirit lies, with all our mind and with all our strength - our body. Loving God with all aspects of our lives means caring for them so we are able to use them to bring Him glory.
We, our team, taught breathing exercises for stress management and mindfulness. We shared the importance of drinking water and movement exercises to take care of our bodies as they are temples for the Holy Spirit. We also asked the Lord how He sees us…His daughters. We shed lies the enemy and world has told us, we laid burdens down at the feet of the cross, we spoke truth over ourselves and expressed gratitude for the daily blessings all around us.
We focused on all three parts of health: mind, body and spirit. We explained how they all interconnect and effect the other so it’s important to address each part. We have to be healthy all around to live the life of love God has called us to. As we explored each area of ourselves the Lord highlighted how uniquely and intricate we are but all created in His image. He just wants us to keep becoming who we were created to be; we experienced a lot of freedom together as women of God.
The second part of this passage states loving our neighbor as ourselves…wait. The lightbulb flashed on as I realized the importance of what we were teaching these ladies, and quite frankly what I am learning myself.
We created space for these women to care for themselves, showing them tangible ways to love themselves so they know how to love others. If we don’t know how to love ourselves how are we going to be able to love the people around us?
The revelation I received went farther as the Father opened my eyes to the room full of women were all neighbors! The retreat brought neighbors together, in a safe space, to grow in their faith and health alongside women they would be able to continue to support, love and continue to build their relationships. I could see the interweaving of these women’s hearts and how the Lord was going to continue to strengthen their bonds as they come alongside each other and continue to support one another.
At that moment I took a second to thank God for His hand in our time in Costa Rica. For the opportunity to create a space for connection of friends, community, to grow in trust and love for each other through their individual journey. Loving God starts with accepting His love and loving the Lord but also yourself so you can love others…and these are the greatest commandments.
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