One of my many ministerial agreements upon ordination is to “honor all life”. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do when not every action is honorable. Maybe I should say, some actions are not honorable. All I can say in this circumstance is to see the God part of a person and separate it from their actions. We all have wrong actions until we learn otherwise.
Another part of honoring life is honor of the animal kingdom. They serve us well here on earth as companions, and part of the ecosystem, and they are just plain lovely. (At least most of them!) Remember, God gave us dominion over them. We decide what is best for them when they belong to us. Sometimes they are like children. We can’t exactly divide the creation part of them from their actions, though, because they have instinct and basic animal traits that belong uniquely to them.
I know this might not be the most popular view, but honoring all life also means NOT at the expense of ourselves. It makes no difference if we are talking about humans or animals. Jesus taught us to love our neighbor, “as ourselves.” Basically speaking we tend to honor others in the mirror of who we are. Honor has to belong to ourselves first before we can give it. We come first. Honor can mean a lot of things. It can mean caring enough about ourselves to not accept a certain environment, or to need to make decisions that might seem dishonoring but in fact are honorable.
No one can give out of an empty bucket, so the only way to give is from the reflection of having had given to ourselves first. Sometimes stepping away from bad situations might seem like abandonment when it fact it is more like self preservation. Putting others’ needs in front of our own is an honorable thing but if there is nothing to give from, who do we dishonor? Yes, you guessed it: ourselves. When we dishonor ourselves we also dishonor God who lives within us.
Have wisdom in being honorable. Honor the God part of you, honor yourself, fill yourself up, and then make decisions out of that overflow. It might seem selfish but really it’s not. Since when did self care become too selfish? Know God, know yourself and then seek to know others. You will automatically attract honorable people when you are fully honoring to yourself. Plus, you will make honorable decisions when it comes to the lives of those who are around you and also depend on you.
You will never completely arrive. Life is a learning process. It’s a transformation that will continue through all of your life. Give yourself a break.
This is a message to be easy on yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up on judging ourselves and every move we make. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, and then move forward and do it better next time. Give yourself grace. God does! Give to yourself everything God desires for you. Compassion, forgiveness, unconditional love, and empathy.
Today, and always, you are a warrior. You have been born into this world innocent and have taken on the mess this world has dealt you. As people, we tend to suck in everything thrown at us and then spend so much time working on healing it. Be brave enough to heal a little bit every day. Your life matters. You matter. There is no place you go where grace does not follow you. You can not release the tight hold God has on you and for you. There is no way to dump His image within you. You might as well accept that you are a miracle and worthy of healing, hope, and happiness!
I know, it’s a strange title isn’t it? I was thinking about fashion today and designers. Lately, I have been interested in fashion and how to create a wardrobe that will interchange and match to create several outfits on a budget. In my seeking, I have seen a lot of great designer things and also the knock offs of them as well. A knock off is a replica of the design from the original designer but it’s really not the real deal. It might be less expensive, but it’s still a knock off.
To the less discerning eye no one would be able to tell the difference but to those who know fashion it could be quite obvious that the item is a fake representation of the original designer. What an insult to the designer, right?
It occurred to me that this can apply to us as well. We can present ourselves as authentic or we can present ourselves as a fake knock off of our real self. The thing about being fake is that we have to live with the knock off and to the discerning person we are not kidding anyone. Just like the original designer of high fashion items, being a knock off of our real self is insulting to our designer who created us all to be unique and real. When we don’t walk according to our real truth we present that knock off of ourselves to the world. It might not hurt anyone, accept maybe ourselves, but our designer knows the truth and would like us to be authentic.
We can be authentic when we know we are loved just as we are and that is enough for us. We can be authentic when we don’t try to compete with others or try to be like someone else. We are authentic when we stay in integrity as to how our lives are being lived. I understand we do not all wish to air all of our dirty laundry to the world. That is not what I am talking about. What I am saying is to walk in integrity of how we are feeling for the moment, every moment. We might be down, upset, happy, joyful, grieving, or struggling. Regardless to what we are, walking in integrity of who we are is walking as someone who is honoring our designer. We are a work in progress and no one is perfected. How will others offer their compassion when we are presenting a knock off of our real selves?
When pursuing something in life, pursue that thing that God has gifted you with, not what others might pursue because you think life is greener on the other side of the fence. Believe me, the life on the other side is just the same and our own side of the fence is much more authentic and profitable for our soul growth.
Today, remember to be the best authentic you that you can be! You are amazing even on your worst day or night. You are a treasure even when you are grieving or upset. When you make a mistake God never sees you as a mistake. He is there to help the authentic you be the created blessing He intended you to be. Ask yourself every day if you are presenting yourself as a true authentic version of who God created. Align yourself with your own destiny, because someone else’s purpose is not going to serve you or others. Your deepest heartaches will never be healed if you live as a knock off of the real you.
You were not meant to be a sacrificial lamb but one who holds onto the lamb who died to give you an abundant life. God never called you to sacrifice but to love yourself so that you can love others in return.
Learn a lesson from this teaching about staying in integrity to that love. Let your “yes” stay a yes and your “no” to remain a no when it comes to virtue, morality, and Christ light. Watch!