Tamara K. Anderson expounds on the one thing the world needs in today’s world, why it’s important, and how to problem solve getting it in our lives.
The One Thing We Need More Of
Welcome to another episode of Tamara’s Takeaways. I’m your host Tamara K. Anderson, and I am so excited to be talking to you today and sharing with you a few of the things that I gleaned from Wendy Andersen’s podcast last week.
Wendy has a son, Dexter, who was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis as a young child. She explains her life changed within 36 hours from something that was normal and expected to where she had to redefine what normal looked like for her family. Wendy and her husband had to make a choice. They were either going to take this diagnosis lying down and despair over what could have been, or they could rise up and do everything in their power to help Dexter get the best help available. And so, even though they were sad, they chose to see the good. And that is a powerful, powerful message.
One of the things Wendy talked about was the idea to love your life. In fact, she talked about that it’s important to love your life, embrace and redefine. And I loved those three key concepts that she taught.
The One Key Thing We Need More Of
In this month of February, I think one of the most important concepts we can talk about is learning to love ourselves and our life.
We often talk during February about love with other people. But I want to share with you a couple of verses in the New Testament that you have probably read, but maybe never thought of in this way. These verses can be found in Matthew 22:37-39. And this is Jesus’s answer when a lawyer asks which of the commandments was the greatest.
“Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all the mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Notice that last part of the verse–we need to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So often I think we forget that God not only wants us to love him, but he also wants us to love ourselves.
Do we do we love ourselves?
An Interesting Correlation
The interesting correlation I’d need to point out with this scripture is “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s almost like there’s a correlation between how much love we have for ourselves and how much love we can show to our neighbors. And I think it’s directly connected to how much we love God.
If we love God and ourselves a whole bunch, then our capacity to love our neighbor is amazing, fantastic, and great. If we don’t love ourselves, then it, it’s not.
And so my question to you this Valentine’s day time of the year is, what can you do to learn to love yourself and love your life more than you do now?
Because you’re going to have an instance where you have a day (or a 36-hour period like Wendy), where your world is going to tilt on its axis and forever change. For Wendy, it was when Dexter was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis. For me it was when my son Nathan was diagnosed with autism. My world changed. For some it’s another diagnosis like cancer. Or perhaps it is the sudden death of a loved one or abuse which causes their world to completely change.
And all of a sudden they don’t feel worthy of love and they don’t love themselves. I think this is one of the saddest things.
The Big Question
We need more love in the world today and it needs to start right in our own soul, right in our own home. We need to learn to love ourselves.
How do you learn to love yourself?
Learn God Loves You
One of the first steps to loving yourself is learning how much God loves you. And there is a beautiful scripture in Romans 8:16-18 which says:
“The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if it’s so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
These verses teach us that God is our Father and we are His heirs. And like any good Father, he loves us so much and He also knows we’re going to suffer in this life. It’s going to be hard. But the sufferings that we go through in life reveal in us a glory. They reveal in us the glory that, ‘Hey, guess what? We are powerful, amazing beings who can overcome hard things.’
God knows what goodness lies within us. He knows what we can become when a little bit of our rough edges get rubbed off and he can see our future and how glorious it is.
The Story of Our Worth
I love stories. That’s why this podcast is called Stories of Hope in Hard Times. But one of the stories I resonated with when I was a little girl were the stories of princesses and princes. And these members of the royal family would go on a journey and discover who they really were and come back and claiming their role as a Prince or Princess. These were stories of self-discovery.
Little children are the absolute best! One of my favorite places to visit is Disneyland. I love seeing those little girls joyfully dressing up and running around Disneyland like little princesses. They are adorable. And I’ve seen Disneyland employees say, “Good morning princess, how are you doing?” And those little princesses just respond. “Great.”
What happens between the time we’re little and the time we are grown? We’ve lost our dreams, we’ve lost our hopes. We hate our life, we hate who we are. And maybe we’re like those stories of the little princes or princesses. We have lost our way and need to find our way back home.
God LOVES you!
But it starts with loving God and knowing that God loves you.
He loves you–period, exclamation point! And He always will.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
He simply loves you.
God loves your uniqueness.
He loves your quirks.
He loves you!
If there’s one message I could share with you today, it is that you are loved. And the sooner you can discover that, the sooner you can go and change the world.
The Adversary Knows the Power of Love
And the crazy thing is Satan knows this. He knows what a powerful thing it is to know that God loves you and to love yourself. He knows the power and influence you have when that is secure in your mind and in your heart.
And so what is it that he attacks?
He attacks that fact that you are a divine son or daughter of God and that you are loved. He whispers things like, “God doesn’t love you. You’ve messed up too much. Why do you even love yourself? You should hate yourself. Your life is awful. You should hate yourself.”
And he whispers these thoughts in our minds–and we believe them. We believe them.
Lesson I Learned as a Teen–Ask
When I was a teenager, my dad used to tell us, “If you ever doubt your worth, I want you to kneel down and ask God, ‘Do you love me? And then wait and listen.'”
And I remember I did it.
I felt the warmth in my heart.
I found out as a teenager that God loves me.
And guess what? He loves you too. I hope you feel that as I’m talking to you because I feel it as I’m talking to you.
Is your life perfect? Heck no. None of our lives are perfect, but if you watch any movie, if you watch any great story, if you read any great book, the stories we love the most are the ones where somebody starts out broken and they fail and they fail again. And yet somehow through all this getting up and falling back down, they reach the end of the story and they have learned and they have grown. And you’re cheering them on on from the sidelines and you think, “Yes! I knew they would figure it out. I always knew they were always great.”
And guess what? The same is true of us. We may be in a fall down during life. We may not be able to see what’s five years ahead of us when we will be conquers and sitting on top of the world.
But, God sees it and He sees that glory in us. He sees who we can become. That’s why we call it walking by faith.
And so if you’re at a point in your life like Wendy, where your life has just been tilted on its axis, begin inside. Begin with love.
The second thing I want to talk to you about today is how we get rid of the negative thoughts in our head. I just finished listening to a great CD this morning. I found a great little audio CD about making a vision board. And that’s one of the things I’m working on right now, so I thought, “For a dollar I will buy this CD.” And I did, and I listened to it today and it was phenomenal!
What I Learned on my $1 CD
The CD is titled, Vision Board Success, by Kirk A. Duncan. Kirk talked about a vision board and one of the things he taught was that any time that we try to move forward in great and powerful ways, (like making a vision board of what we want our life to look like), that it is common for negative self-talk to begin.
And it sounds something like this: “You can’t do that. What are you thinking? You’ve failed so many times. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do that.”
So what do you do with all of the negative thoughts? Here is what Kirk taught. He said, first you need to write all that down. When I first heard that, my gut reaction was, “I don’t want to write the negativity down.” But I hadn’t heard the second part of what he taught yet. He said, “Write it down and then wad it up and throw it away, burn it or shred it.” So you’re acknowledging those negative thoughts but then you burn them or get rid of those negative thoughts. It is almost like you are saying, “I don’t listen to those thoughts anymore. I’m moving on. I love myself.
Anyway, the audio CD was powerful. So set a goal to love yourself and when those negative thoughts come, write them down, burn them, shred them or rip them up into tiny pieces. And you may have to do it for several days, weeks or months until you start believing that you are lovable.
If you are having problems finding something you love about yourself, start with something small. Say things like, “I love the color of my eyes, the way I smile and the way my hands and legs work. I love that I can see, and I love that I can eat. Also, I love the feeling of breathing in deeply. It feels so good.” Start with a few powerful statements like that about what you love about yourself.
Maybe you can love your talents (and I promise you have at least one talent.) God doesn’t have any sons or daughters that don’t have talents. We’re each different from each other. Some people have talents that are very, very obvious, like singing and dancing and all that kind of stuff, and other people have talents that are more quiet. You have a friend that always seems to show up at the right and say the right things. It’s a quiet talent and it’s a powerful talent, right? So you have talents and you are lovable.
You’re Not Alone
One of the final things that Wendy said in her podcast was, “You aren’t alone.” There are other people out there just like you who are struggling. Find them and love them.
Conclusion & Invitation
I’m going to finish off with the verse that we started with about the question posed is Jesus by the lawyer, Which is the greatest of the commandments? And he answered that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and then to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So my invitation to you today and in this month of February is: Love God. Love yourself, and then go on and love others and it will create a ripple effect of love that will spread through the world in a powerful way.
Love is powerful. So today, know you’re loved! Believe it from the souls of your feet to the tip of your head. You are loved! Believe it and begin acting on it and share God’s love with all you come in contact with.