In the Christian church, we often struggle with the debate of “faith verses works”. For those who are not sure what this debate is about, I will very quickly try to summarize it and simplify it. Due to the fact that I am summarizing and simplifying, I do ask for a certain amount of grace as I am bound to miss some key components of the arguments for both sides of this debate.
One side: Faith without works isn’t really faith.
This side argues that a faith that does not manifest in a person making changes in their lives that reflect their Christian values is not really faith.
The other side: Faith alone is all that is needed.
This is argues that because in all situations and at all times we will not act according to the way our faith will tell us we should act, this does not negate our faith.
For those of you who are wondering, I almost always take a both/and position on these types of debates. We need a faith in the knowledge that it is okay to fail and we need a faith that motivates us to action.
Today I want to relate this debate to my understanding of what it means to love yourself.
Many people will say that they love themselves.
There are actions we can take which exemplify our love for ourselves.
Maybe journaling is an action step that you can do to love yourself. It can be the 10 minutes a day you take to reflect upon your day through the lens of loving yourself.
Maybe journaling is a step towards determining what you can do to love yourself. Maybe through journaling (the writing and the rereading of what you have written) you can learn what you do when you’re by yourself that you truly love, that you find life-giving, that restores your soul.
There will be times where the biggest breakthrough you can have is simply to say “I love myself, I am a person of value who is deserving of love”. I equate this to those times where there is value is just having faith.
There will be other times where you will need to prove your self-love to yourself, or to others, through actions. I equate this to works.
The beautiful thing is that faith and works are highly interrelated. Sometimes, you’ll have faith and that will lead to good works. Other times, you may complete the works first and then find that you have faith. The same thing works for loving yourself.
Maybe today you just need to remind yourself that you are a person of value who is deserving of love. See what you are inspired to do for yourself and others.
Maybe you’re experiencing one of those times where you’re not sure how to love yourself or if you even love the person you are right now. If this speaks to you then take action. Journal, yoga, work out, nap, go for a run, paint, cry, hug your dog, pet your cat, daydream, do something, do anything that you can and call it an action step towards loving yourself. Take these action steps enough and love will follow.