“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (ESV)
We all have those moments in life that let us know we matter. It might be something someone does for you to let you know you’re valued, or it might be a little gift you give yourself. As 1 John 4:10 says, we matter to God, and I think sometimes the biggest gift we can give ourselves is allowing ourselves to matter. To treat yourself to something for no other reason than that doing so is important to you.
These gifts to ourselves are little “redemptive moments,” and the title of this post comes from one I had a few weeks ago. Since I got out of the Canadian military last year, I have not been entirely happy with my appearance in general and in particular my hair. (This may sound weird coming from a straight, male pastor, but bear with me.) I grew it out long (almost shoulder length), and then went short again back just before the summer. When you haven’t had a say in your appearance for so long, it can be frustrating trying to decide on something you actually like. Anyways, I had the idea to change my hair colour a little. Nothing drastic. I just had some thoughts about what might look good and I wanted to play with it a little.
Now you have to understand that in the South, as both a man and a minister, this is not something that is normally done. When I first raised the idea with my wife a few months ago, she was decidedly against it.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I’ve started a new job, I’m trying to support my wife in her ministry, and I’m also trying to focus on our marriage and preach when I can. On many days, the question of how much “me time” I could get was better phrased as “How little sleep do I want to function with tomorrow?” Don’t get me wrong. Everything I mentioned was and still is important. As a husband, it is my job to be there for my wife. The point is that sometimes it’s easy to feel like you only matter for what you can give to others and not in and of yourself, and I was very quickly getting to that point.
So I raised the question of highlights again with my wife. As crazy as it might sound, it was to be my way of saying “I matter. Here is something I want to do just for me.” And you know what? She was OK with the idea, and I went ahead with it, and it turned out better than I expected it to. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually happy with how I look. If you’ve ever had one of those moments where you felt like God was giving you permission to do something for yourself, just because it was important to you, you’ll know what I’m getting at.
For you it might be something else. It might be as big as taking a break you desperately need, or as simple as reading that book or watching that movie you’ve been wanting to see for a while. Whatever it is, ask God about it. You never know when the answer is going to be yes.