I turned 20 just a couple of weeks ago and as I entered a new decade of life I reflected on how little I know. More specifically, how little I know without God. The truth is, I thought I’d be a bit more accomplished and sure of my future and goals at this point. But as 19 came to a close, I found myself looking in the mirror in disappointment as I acknowledged the way I’d been neglecting the person that stared back. She deserves more from me!

In this season, I am learning how to appreciate the way God made me right now, even in the uncertainty. And I invite you to do the same.

We’ve heard the self-love cliches that float about our culture, but it is so much deeper than that. At the core, self-love means appreciating who you are in this very moment whether or not you are where you want to be... God tells us in Matthew 22 to love others as we love ourselves. How can we love others if we do not first grasp the love of God for us and in response show love to ourselves?

Self-love is not easy and sometimes there is no justifiable reason that you're not loving yourself in the way you should. I want to dignify that struggle because I have been there. Are we perfect? No, but every day we can only be what He made - imperfect but perfect as we lean into our God-given identities. Be patient. Not just in traffic, or grocery lines, or in life’s countless tests. Be patient with yourself in the imperfection. We are only growing closer to an eternity with Him, and while we’re here, we’ve got things to do, art to create, words to share, and people to love. Don’t pass judgment on how you showed up today. Be proud of the things you create. Hang a photo of yourself as a child in your mirror (it sounds strange but do it, you wouldn’t talk to her the way you do to your current self). Be mindful of loving the particular place you are at right now, no strings attached.

Maybe we aren’t yelling from the rooftops about how much we love ourselves, but perhaps we simply settle for appreciating and acknowledging that God created us just the way He intended to. Do you really believe the author and creator of everything was in the business of making something mediocre? I would argue no. He crafted you and is continuing to craft you, so let him work (in the joy and in the hurt). Keep letting Him mold you. And in the meantime, I’ll be praying that one day you will start to see yourself in the same way God does.