Jesus, if you teach me to love myself I will change the world.
Abi Stumvoll prayed this prayer as a teenager, and it launched her on an adventure with Jesus that transformed her life.
A Revelation from Jesus
Abi says it had to be the Holy Spirit that showed her she must learn to love herself. “I’m not that smart,” she says. It came because of a woman she was babysitting for. Everyone thought this woman was perfect. She was beautiful, talented and seemed to have a great life. But Abi saw her pulling on the skin of her flat belly and saying, “I hate this fat!”
Abi thought to herself, “If you hate yourself, what hope does anyone else have? Everyone wants to be like you.”
This encounter led Abi to pray that God would teach her to love herself. She knew people would notice her because no one else seemed to know how to love themselves.
Since she grew up in a Christian home she planned to serve God by being a pastor. But God stopped her. Instead he took her to Los Angeles and began shaking her life up in ways to show her how much he loves her.
There is a triangle of love in the Bible: Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Love God. But we first need to receive love from God in order to love at all. Like many Christians, she grew up thinking God wants our service first. If you can’t do something for God then he will be disappointed. But if I think the one who created me is disappointed all the time, how can I love myself.
God is relational. He doesn’t expect us to do it all. Nor does he do it all for us. He wants to do life with us.
We’re in a hurry. I wish I could have been better at loving years ago.
Quote from Oprah: “Now that I know better, I do better.”
Sometimes love feels painful. To experience love fully you have to go to the places you feel most unlovable and let love into those places. The fact that God loves you in the places you feel love can’t get is very beautiful.
The way you are with people is the way you are toward Jesus. If you’re shut down to loving people you will be shut down from receiving Jesus’ love.
God told her, “You were born to be loved and to love.” She said, “I can’t fail at that.”
God shows his love through ordinary things, a loving cat or dark chocolate.
All Christians should spend a year just asking God to show how he loves us today. If we’d focus on seeing how God is showing love we’d see we’re receiving more love than we are aware and be better able to see how much he loves us.
Before you can learn to love yourself you have to be able to receive love. Receiving is hard because you feel vulnerable. Giving is easier because you feel in control.