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1 John 4:8 NIV
God is love. By loving other people, I am practicing my faith. That is what I believe. It's simple, yet very complex.
Love isn't just the romantic type that you see in movies; it exists in many forms. It exists in I treat other people. Taking care of my family is one way that I show love. Spending quality time with my friends and loved ones is another. Holding the door open for a stranger is a simple, yet meaningful one. Even something as simple as being present and listening to someone who needs/wants someone to talk to is one way I've shown people love.
It's not always easy to be a loving person. Most of the time it is, but for me, sometimes it's pretty hard. And when it is hard, it's really hard. Sometimes people are ignorant and hateful. Sometimes their words, their posts, or little comments are hurtful. It takes me a lot of self-discipline not to react in the same manner. No matter how other people act, I always try to react with love, understanding, common sense. Sometimes I do a good job at it. Sometimes I don't flop horribly. Sometimes I consider not reacting with hate a win. No matter how well I do at loving other people, I truly try.
As important as it is to love one another, it's also important to love ourselves (not in an arrogant or conceited way). We are all God's children who are deserving of love and it would be contradictory to love other people, but not ourselves. It's perfectly fine to practice self-care. Within reason, I try to take some time for myself each day. Reflecting for a few minutes while drinking my morning cup of coffee is one of my favorite ways. I eat as healthy as I can. I intentionally choose to incorporate as many fresh foods into my diet. I need to ensure that I am physically, mentally, and emotionally okay to take care of my family and also help take care of others.
By loving others, and myself, I am doing God's work. This is how I choose to practice my faith.
Roderick Conwi is a professional development coach and writes at NourishmentNotes.com about lifestyle development. He is also the author of The Procrastinator's Quick Guide To Getting It Done. To get powerful insights that enhance your day, join his free newsletter.