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I was having a phone conversation with someone today and as the discussion progressed I realised I was doing what I’ve often done and was backing down on my stance and convictions so as to keep the peace.

Unfortunately when you do this too often you just internalize what you are really feeling and in doing so risk becoming a people pleaser and feeling very frustrated. If you continue in this as your default setting you will eventually live life only pleasing everyone else, but failing to acknowledge your own thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams, which is not the life God wants us to live.

So today I stood up on the inside and spoke my mind and heart because something checked me on inside that I needed to say my piece and hold my ground. More importantly doing that was in fact okay regardless of whether it made the conversation uncomfortable or created conflict. I’ve discovered the hard way that sometimes we have to risk confrontation and experience a degree of conflict to gain honesty in relationships, and that’s ok. As long as we can step back when things get too heated and determine to come to a prayerful resolution once everyone has spoken their mind and “cooled off”.

The danger in suppressing our inner world on a constant basis is that we can also in the process shut down who we were created to be. We can lose ourselves in the midst of everyone else’s demands, noise and the pressure of life. Jesus said, “love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Matt 12:31), but perhaps traditional viewpoints and religion has made a demand, especially upon woman that everyone else must come before them. Your values, desires and dreams are secondary. As a result we can get very adept at looking like we are loving our neighbor, but it’s not loving them well or as we love ourselves.

Primarily because loving ourselves means caring for and highly valuing and honoring who we are, whilst continually seeking to connect with who God has created us to be. That we determine to grow and develop as a person to the best of our ability. Failure to do that is failure to truly love ourselves and therefore how can we freely and with honesty and openness love to the fullest anyone else?

Today God allowed conflict both within me and my external world to highlight the fact that to truly love others I’ve got to love myself first. Otherwise I will eventually only appear like I am being caring and loving, when really my actions and intentions are flowing from a place of guilt, fear and in time resentment.

I encourage you to take an honest look at your internal world. Assess why you do and say things and whether you express yourself honestly. Love and take care of yourself and forgo the temptation to discount yourself or to let go of your hope’s and dreams simply to please the majority. God put those desires and dreams inside of you because you are valuable and He wants to help you to fulfill your destiny. He says you are both valid and important and that you count.

Never doubt Gods mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” (Ephesians 3:20 TPT)

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”( Roman’s 8:32)

“Trust in the Lord and do good.; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart..” (Psalm 37:4)

Prayer: Lord thank you that you have created me with a plan and a purpose and it is you that bestowed gifts, talents and desires in my heart and life. Please help me to be honest, to care for myself better and in doing so that I will be able to love both myself and my neighbour in a greater way. In Jesus name Amen