30 March 2012

5 Minute Friday ~ Gift


World Lit, as a senior in high school, was a class I both loved and hated. I thoroughly enjoyed my classmates and the often lively debates resulting from philosophical discussion and the dissection of well-known works of literature, even when I often did not agree with the points of view expressed. Yet I detested the teacher - a person I considered arrogant at best and cruel - wielding words and a red ink pen as weapons - at worst. That particular instructor said some of the meanest things I ever had a teacher say to me...

I did learn a lot, though.

One of our writing assignments was an analysis of three works, in the genres of art, music and literature, that all explored the same theme... I can't remember much about my own particular project - something about bullfighting, I think - but I actually do remember a few details about a friend's project: she read the book Atlas Shrugged; for her musical piece, she chose a popular song back in the 80s... Whitney Houston singing "The Greatest Love of All."

Some loved the song... some of my peers did nothing but poke fun at it. Musically, it was lovely and Whitney Houston had an incredible voice. The first few lines are captivating, even biblical: "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way..." But the song always left me sad, even if I wasn't clearly able to recognize why... I guess I've been thinking about her story a lot these past several weeks as her name as frequently been in the headlines or trending on Yahoo...

I now recognize that self-love isn't antibiblical - God tells me to love my neighbor as myself. Self-love is as natural as breathing. Learning to see myself as God sees me, on the other hand? Appreciating the unique and amazing creation He considers me to be? Recognizing the depth of my own depravity while at the same time accepting the lavish love and value that He has chosen to bestow upon me, for no other reasons than that He loves me and that He is kind, gracious, always good? 

Learning to love myself is not such a great gift! On the other hand, learning to see myself as God sees me - seeing both beauty and beast within, relishing His hand growing and changing me, making me more like Him... and as He works in me, beginning to discover and treasure those same jewels in others all around me...

That is an amazing gift that will never stop giving.

8 comments:

  1. Self-love isn't anti-biblical. Great line. Sometimes it seems like people think it is. And I love literature classes and that you learned even though the professor was mean. I do love a good story. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by. Your snake comments made me laugh.

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    1. Thanks, Laura.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

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  2. Ah, but learning to love one's self IS such a great gift. I've met far too many people who feel they are absolutely and totally unloveable, and that feeling begins with their being unable to love themselves. If they can't love themselves, they can't possibly believe that anyone else could love them, either. For them, learning to love themselves would be one of the greatest gifts they could receive.

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    1. understand what you are trying to say, adam - but i disagree.

      i believe the root problem is not believing God, His Word, His truth. i've never yet met a person who doesn't struggle with selfishness, thinking of self before others, etc.

      Truth - God created man and described him as very good. Truth - man chose sin, pride, disobedience, his own path and the presence of that sin is detestable, absolutely and totally unloveable to a holy God.
      Truth - God still chooses to love us as unloveable as we are.
      Truth - our value (or loveableness, if you will) comes from one source... and it is not what we can gumption up from within. it's source is our unique worth first declared by our Creator and then acted upon as He sacrificed so much to redeem us.

      the greatest gift is believing God and accepting just how much He loves each person and recognizing that all which He values is precious.

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    2. Please don't misunderstand me so quickly.

      You are quite correct - our value does come from only God, and the only way we can love ourselves - truly love ourselves - is to see ourselves as someone that God loves and cares for personally. A lot of people think very highly of themselves - even to the point of being obsessed - but without the love of God, all their self-love is hollow.

      It's being able to love myself because God thinks I'm lovely - no matter what other people may think - that's the gift I was talking about.

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    3. thanks for the clarification. :-)

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