Self-Reliance & Loving Yourself

By Dr. Joseph Warren Walker, III

One of the guiding principles that I teach as I travel around the world pertains to self-value. Everyone should possess a clear understanding of the potential that resides within. So many people go through life unaware of this reality; consequently they allow others to diminish and taint what God intended for their lives. Make no mistake about it, how you see yourself is how others will see you. Self-reliance and loving yourself should not be confused with arrogant, isolated independence. We all need healthy friendships and relationships. These associations help to challenge, encourage and inspire us to be all that we can be.

I once said to a group of single folks, “people need to qualify for you”. If people have to qualify for a house and a car, why don’t they have to qualify for you? The value of an item often determines the criteria necessary to obtain it. The stringent application process weeds out persons who have not demonstrated evidence of proper stewardship in the past. It is impossible to love yourself and play yourself at the same time. The Bible says “love your neighbor as yourself”. The key word is “as”. How you love you is the paradigm by which you love others. I want to offer three principles that I believe will unleash the greatness inside of you. I am confident that these principles will help you love yourself as you should and develop the confidence to accomplish anything you put your hand to.

The First principle is “Being Complete”. This is a foundational principle that must be applied to your life. Oftentimes, people go through life looking for someone to complete them. When you do this, there is an assumption that you are not whole. It is so important that you never become co-dependent upon others to define and affirm you. Your destiny is not in the hands of man, it is in the hands of God. Whether you like it or not, God made you the way He wanted to so be confident. You are unique. You are one of a kind. You don’t have to augment God’s finest creation to please people. You need to have people in your life who love you for what’s on the inside.

When you are complete you don’t sit and wait on someone to take care of you. You have a mind, gifts and talents. It’s important that you pursue a house with your name on it, get a car with your name on it, and you should come to table with your own stuff. I offer this metaphor to single people: When I met my late wife, we were students. We went from the lobby of a hotel all the way to the Penthouse. When the Lord called her home, I said when I married again I would not go back to lobby. My next mate had to at least be at the club level. You need a key for that floor. I think you get the point.

The second principle is “Refusing to Live in the Past”. Many people cannot move forward with their lives, because they are tormented by yesterday. There comes a time when you have to move beyond the hurts and pains of your past. Get counseling and ask God to move you beyond what happened. Your future is awaiting, but you will never arrive there carrying the luggage of yesterday. The Apostle Paul said, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. I tell people all the time that there is a reason your windshield is larger than your rear view mirror. One is for glances and one is for gazing. You should only glance at the rear but gaze toward the future.

I encourage you to claim the victory over your life. Cry your last tear and move on. What’s ahead of you is far greater than what is behind you. Remember that your set-backs were nothing more than set-ups for your come back. Everything that happened to you was designed to make you stronger, wiser, and better.

The final principle that I want to share with you is one that changed my life. I have deemed it “Pursuing Purpose”. If there is any evidence that you love yourself and have moved toward in self-reliance, it is purpose. Each of us was born with a purpose. It is the fulfillment of that purpose that must consume our lives. This is why it is essential to have the right people in your life. You need positive and progressive people who can motivate you toward excellence. You don’t need people who are negative and gossipers. You need people who are going somewhere and who are not intimidated by what God is doing in your life.

When you pursue purpose, you commit yourself to a path toward destiny. Within you lies great vision. There are some things that you want to accomplish and there are other things God is showing you that are so big that you may have difficulty sharing it with those around you. You must remember this about vision. When God gives vision, He desires that vision to be under Divine supervision. I know you are self-reliant, but you cannot accomplish this without Him. Once it is under Divine supervision, He assures provision. You will never have a vision that you can afford. Vision is always bigger than your budget. It is always bigger than your bank account. Remember, if it’s His will, it’s His bill. Chase it. Go after it. Don’t allow the thing that God has shown you to be hindered by circumstances. You were born to do great things. If there ever was a time to believe you can do it, it is now. YES, YOU CAN!

In closing, remember that when you love you there are investments you are willing to make from within. When you recognize the value God has placed within you, you are not validated by others. The world awaits you. Go complete God’s will for your life. Go looking forward. Go pursuing purpose. God promises if you go, He will go with you. Who wouldn’t love that?

Dr. Joseph W. Walker III is a popular preacher, with the highest educational degrees from Southern University, Vanderbilt University and Princeton, who at the age of 24 began his pastorate at Mount Zion with only 175 members. Currently his ministry has grown to over 25,000 members with eight weekly services in three church locations in Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, in 2010, Dr. Walker accepted the honor and position of “National Spokesman” for the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries.

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