An excerpt from First Light: Women's Daily Devotional &Journal:
The Exhausted Spirit
It's true Jesus didn't directly command us to "love ourselves". But inherent in the second of the "greatest commandments" is the implication that we as human beings do love ourselves, and that as an extension of our love for God and ourselves, we are called to love and care for others.
Sometimes we interpret "loving others" as denying our own needs and being enslaved to the expectations of those around us. We teach our children to sing, "J-O-Y - Jesus, then others, then you - what a wonderful way to spell J-O-Y".
Not always. Sometimes putting yourself last spells frustration, depression, fatigue.
But we're afraid of being perceived as selfish. So, we work hard, trying to prove our selflessness and to demontrate our committment to God. But our work doesn't always result in joy. We get worn out and resentful.
We make a grave mistake when we assume that what we do can substitute for who we are. Sometimes our Christian activity is less a reflection of love for God than love for the praise of others.
We need to remind ourselves that we are loved just as we are. Christ, who died for us when we had done nothing to deserve such a sacrifice, lives within us according to the same standard.
If we don't take time and space for ourselves, to nurture our personal relationship with God, our "works of love" become "dead works", motivated by fear or the need for performance rather than by love for God or for our neighbor.
It's not a sin to care for your own soul. It's a spiritual prerequisite for a deep relationship with God.
What motivates your sacrifices and love for others?
1 John 4: 19
We love because He first loved us.