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love thy neighbor

yesterday, i made a giant batch of food, packaged it up, and left it on my neighbor's doorstep. that felt really, really good. caring for + loving friends is the best. 

but, BEING cared for, or taking care of myself? not as much fun. and not easy.

i've been thinking a lot lately about the complexity + weirdness of Jesus's words found in the bible:

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?” Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” --Mark 12: 28-29 (MSG version)


love others as well as you love yourself. those words are so odd to me, given that most of us don't love ourselves well. why would how we love ourselves be the standard for how we love others?

#low #bar. 

most of my therapy appointments end with my counselor saying, "take care of yourself, Amy." to which i respond, "you got it! good idea! and, how should i do that specifically?" because i'm so self-care deficient, when she tells me to take care of myself, i don't even know what's she referring to. thankfully, she's kind, and reminds me EVERY TIME: sleep, work out, eat healthy, have fun, invite friends into your worries, cook, throw parties, try a new restaurant with your husband, cuddle the puppy, all the things that make you feel good and are good for you. right.

so, back to Jesus math: 

the greatest commandment (includes): loving myself well in order to love others well. 


loving myself well = letting others care for me. 

Queen Brene Brown says: if you're great at taking care of everyone around you, but you can't receive care when you're most in need, you really aren't as great as you think you are at giving care.  


my new emerging theory is this: one of the great evils running through our world today is our willingness to not take good care of or love ourselves. to put our personal needs, health, emotion, growth, joy on the back burner, making it less priority. because the less we love ourselves, the less we're able to authentically love others. and really, what a fantastically, effective, evil plot. 

at sunday supper church, we've been going through matthew 25 -- in which Jesus describes His location {if you're looking for Jesus, here's where He'll be}, and how we're to treat others:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

this sunday, we'll focus on the sick. in preparation, i keep thinking about how i can't authentically visit the sick {and follow Jesus} unless i'm willing to be visited when i'm sick {which i'm usually not}. and that in order to follow Jesus, we must love otherselves well by being vulnerable when sick, and allowing friends + family + neighbors to care for us. this then turns our love + care for each other into authentic acts of love + grace. 

ok then.  

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