Holy Jesus, we are not always good at loving ourselves. Forgive that shortcoming and strengthen our resolve to keep trying. Amen.

If you were given a quiz and had to define or describe love, how would you respond? I have been thinking about that myself—what love is and what it’s not; the people I love and the ones who claim to love me; the various types, stages, and boundaries that are sometimes necessary to set around it.

I think about behaviors that masquerade as love but all too often feel more like utility or co-dependency than anything else. Love is not always easy, to say the least.

Here are a few things:

Love is a feeling. It makes us feel a certain kind of way: affirmed, safe, supported, accepted, understood, empowered, and corrected. Good love can be trusted despite failures, shortcomings, misunderstandings, and differences of opinions.

Love is tangible and expressive. It must be displayed and manifested in real ways, often requiring unimaginable sacrifice. Actions large and small say: “I am aware of you—what you like, need, and want—and I am invested in your well-being to the extent I can.”

Love is not perfect as in exact, for none of us are perfect. We are a work in progress, therefore our expressions toward one another are always a work in progress. We are never fully done, yet love finds a way. It is undeniable.

Today, I want to encourage you to love yourself. Be patient and kind. Speak gently of your wants and needs, dreams, and joys as if you were speaking to your very best friend, and then respond accordingly. For I know that, like me, you would do everything in your power to make your friend’s life as wonderful as possible. Do the same for yourself, for you are worth it.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Cathy