Beloved-Self, Not Self-Love

I’ve struggled with buying into this concept of self-love for awhile. It’s the trend, and I’m always wary of those. Especially if something deep in my spirit pings at the sound of it. Before accepting a fad as gospel, I try to test it against God’s Word.

Through this lens and exploring wiser sources than just myself or IG sponsored ads of motivational mavens touting their morning regimens for fostering all-day positivity, I’m forming my own, (and Lord-willing accurate), concept of this self-love idea.

Journey with me.

We’ve all started in the same place; born with a sinful nature into a world marred by evil & brokenness. This was never God’s intent, but His love for us meant He gave humanity the gift of free will to choose. Rebellion, disobedience, and hiding were the response then…and still are today.

Because of painful experiences early in development, we’ve constructed a mask, a façade, this false identity to display for the world. It’s the presentable self in whatever time, culture, and location you find yourself. It tirelessly works to minimize the pain experienced by “suppressing or camouflaging feelings, making emotional honesty impossible.”

Is this the ‘self’ with an entire bookshelf of titles dedicated to improving it? Is this the ‘self’ to take a spa day for or indulge at my favorite store because I just need some #selflove today?

With all humility and grace, if that’s the self we’re feeding, the hunger will never be satiated.

Rather than chase this false self away, I acknowledge how it was built to protect me. I acknowledge it was constructed as a defense from my fear of failure, of disappointing others, of being unworthy of love.

Kelli, meet true self.

Beloved.

This is the one Jesus died and rose from the grave for.

This is the unhurried, at peace and at rest, jovial, whimsical, unpretentious co-heir with Christ.

“The true self claims identity in its belovedness.”

Our true self craves, because it was designed for, an intimate relationship with God. When His Truth of our belovedness is the fix of our gaze, He begins to mend the true self so we can unashamedly live out His call on our life.

With this new name, we’re no longer feeding the false self with temporary fixes to insecurities, jealousies, fears, and hurts. Finally the Spirit fills us to overflow with joy because it finds vacancy in our heart – room once inhabited by people-pleasing and ladder-climbing and status-seeking.

It’s no longer about self-love. It’s about the irrational, radical love of the Father. It’s about the work of Jesus on the cross, through the power of God that death was conquered for us! Our very existence is beloved through no effort of ourselves!!

This is freedom. Indeed, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” (2 Cor 3:17)

I pray you seek rest in this truth today. Sit and reflect. Pour over Scripture proclaiming your identity as a son or daughter of God and verbally invite the Holy Spirit to begin filling your soul. The mask will have no choice but to crumble in His presence.

stay lovely,
the tall girl

Let’s Meet Him

We have misconstrued Jesus. Do we worship an Eastern Rabbi who knew the Torah backwards and forward, who came to fulfill the Law and Prophecies of the Old Testament (meaning He followed the 613 edicts of the Mosaic law perfectly because He was raised in a culture that poured over them daily), not to abolish it? Or do we worship a romanticized man because we feel good and bubbly inside when we think about the benefit He’ll bring to our present temporal life?

Once our eyes are opened, continuing on the former path is a choice of rejecting the truth. If I meet the real Jesus, I pray I fall head over heels with who He was (and continues to be), not who I like the thought of Him to be for the advantage to my life. He offended and convicted people. He didn’t preach motivational messages as so many of our churches around the globe are giving today. We live in an outwardly blessed, inwardly impoverished era. Hence there’s no urgency to spread the Good News. I’m Guilty Party #1 of this.

I admire the Christ followers with the fearless personality to ask their bus seat buddy or the next person in the checkout line if they’ve heard of Jesus and what He’s done for them. It’s not my comfort zone, and I’m praying to get outside of it so I can be so bold.

These last few months have brought such tremendous insight into self. I’ve had a mirror brought to my mind and heart unlike before, largely due to the nature of my work in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. As you can imagine, it hasn’t been a pretty season. When we see our frail, striving, dirty human hearts in greater clarity, it causes any number of reactions depending on the person and season of life.

At first I wanted to run and hide from it. I didn’t want to admit those weaknesses of mine were real. I wanted to continue to “look perfect” on the outside even if I simultaneously wanted someone to just understand how hard everything was and sit with me in it. Which is when the Lord came in. He did sit with me, He held me, and He has been leading me, even when I didn’t always presently feel Him.

So once my flight and denial phase were over, I wanted to change my external situation. I subconsciously concluded if I were more outwardly healthy, goal-chasing and community-surrounded, then the issues would improve; because I clearly wasn’t doing enough. This is my natural enneagram “3” reaction to discomfort. I didn’t want to wallow in depression and burnout (obviously…who does?), so I worked harder to reflect the image that everything was going great. This was quickly stripped away from being an alternate defense mechanism from self-discovery because the issues were still there – perhaps highlighted because supposed “solutions” didn’t work!

Here I am now in a place of a dead end. A dead end of myself and chasing my own answers. I think a dead end of myself is a fork in the road for Jesus. I can continue choosing my own way or once again let Him lead.

To surrender something so deeply personal as my trust to Him, though, I need to know who He is. Is He someone I can trust? Growing up in a Christian home, I never really asked such a question; it was assumed. Thus begins this journey of Jesus-discovery. Several influences have converged to bring this time about; obviously the inner reflection mentioned above, along with stumbling across a couple books on the hardcore truth of the Bible: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer and The Forgotten Jesus by Robby Gallaty. For all my years of being a Christian, it’s amazing to peel back layer after layer and be astounded at how very little I know.

In addition to these, several conversations with friends and even strangers brought about a new vigor to know, understand, and love this Triune God I supposedly believe in and worship.

Welcome to the journey with me! Let’s meet Jesus!

Stay lovely,
the tall girl

Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy

When we walk into a new place, meet a new person, or encounter a new situation, we go in with preconceptions. Upon arriving, we make snap judgments to gain a sense of control and organization of the world in our mind.

I can’t explain in words what my preconception of Italy was before traveling there, I only know now that my senses were shocked in the best way by how wrong I was compared to the beautiful place, rich culture, and incredible people I encountered there. Continue reading “Top 10 Takeaways of My Time in Italy”