Self-Love Can't Fix You
I know what it’s like to be harried and hurried. I know what it’s like to be spread so thin you fear that, if you’re stretched another inch, you’ll suddenly snap. I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning exhausted before your feet even hit the floor.
Obligations to meet. People to please. You just want to survive the day.
Please know you’re not alone. Most of the world feels just as lost and overburdened as you do. In response, the world gushes and tells us that we deserve better, we are too young to stress, and that we should settle for nothing less than a happy, carefree life. Social media, product campaigns, and celebrities all encourage us to “love ourselves.” They urge us to take off the pressure, pamper yourself, and fall in love with who you are as a person.
I understand stress, anxiety, responsibility. Millennials are known for being busy. By personality, I am a “yes woman.” I rarely tell anyone no, and, as a result, I try to do more than I should. Because of this desire to please and impress, I have become anxious, irritable, and irrational. By saying “yes” to everyone, I have become a sort of person even I don’t like to be around.
This mindset can’t be fixed by eating chocolate or getting a makeover. Those things might alleviate it for an hour or two, but that sense of being overwhelmed always returns. Through a lot of headache and experience, I have learned several things that actually help alleviate my burdens:
LEARN TO PRIORITIZE
Time management and getting into a routine is important to me right now as I am getting settled into a new place. I am eager to take on all sorts of new responsibilities and hobbies (it’s just what I do), but I am pacing myself in what I sign up for.
Slowly, as I acclimate to my new environment, I am deciding what needs to be a priority and what does not.
LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
It’s no secret I love adventure. I get a high off of it, but sometimes I take on too much just because it sounds exciting. Ideally, I should be able to handle the busy schedule that comes with excitement in a mature, gracious way. But, if I can’t, I need to be content with a quiet life so that others don’t suffer as a result of my inability to handle stress or a hectic schedule.
It doesn’t matter if people think you’re too emotional or wimpy because you choose to start declining responsibilities for the sake of your mental health. It’s called being considerate of yourself and others.
GO TO THE CROSS
This is the real answer. Life often takes us out of our comfort zone and asks us to do things we are incapable of doing on our own. As a result, we feel trapped and overwhelmed. Let me remind you that we aren’t.
If we avoid responsibility because it “stresses us out,” we are potentially turning down an opportunity for God to do something mighty through us. After all, isn’t He made strong in our weakness, not our strength?
If college, work, or relationships are threatening to drown you, don’t just go to the Cross. Cling to the Cross like it’s the only thing that will keep you from sinking--because it’s the only thing that will.
Please, don’t binge on Netflix or splurge on something you can’t afford. Last year, I had to break a bad habit of retail therapy (shopping made me feel better but drained my bank account). Shopping or Netflix-binging won’t prevent a meltdown, not really. It might postpone what you’re feeling, but it’s a temporary solution.
The self-love gospel can’t fix you because a weekly pedicure will never replace Jesus Christ.
There are lovely, little moments of bubble baths and coffee with a friend that make me grateful for simple things, but they aren’t my “fix.” I am not dependent on them for anything except the pleasure they give. I don’t order a latte so that it might re-order my soul.
The danger of self-love is that it focuses on the self. The kind of attention that the world demands we lavish on ourselves is the kind of worship that was meant for God alone.
By trying to prop ourselves up on our own strength, we are dismissing God’s sovereignty. Anytime we try to overcompensate for our lack of strength (“I’m fine after I watch two hours of my favorite show,” etc.), we start making an idol of our body when it was only meant to be a temple.
Everyone should take breaks and savor the simple joys in life, but we should not be dependent on them. Next time we feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, may we simply go to the Cross.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In 2018, Payden earned her B.A. in English from Regent University and is now pursuing her M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Oklahoma State University. A roadtrip aficianado, Payden can be found traveling the beautiful U.S. when her nose is not stuck in a textbook. She has a desire to help other women see the freedom and fullness that comes in living a life abandoned to Christ, and wants to spend every waking minute pursuing God's call on her life.