"A Helping Hand" by Donald Lee Pardue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Caring for yourself well while loving others

The high expectations that I had placed on myself to love others led me to think that I needed to sacrifice myself. I placed my needs and wants last, after the wants of others.

Not caring for myself left me completely empty. I was exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. I was depleted to the point of frustration towards myself as I tried to live this way. I wanted to be completely self sacrificing but I was failing.

When you think about how you love others and the expectations you have on yourself to do this, are you caring for yourself?

I wanted to be the perfect mom and wife by doing it all for others, which I felt was loving them with God’s love. By the grace of God and his love for me, I came to realize this was unsustainable, and unhealthy for me. The way God wanted me to love others needed to be deeply rooted first in the fact that he loves me.

In 1 John 4:16 (NIV), we read “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

My heart of wanting to love others was God’s will but sacrificing myself to do this was not his will. Jesus had already done that on the cross for me.

I needed to first set my mind on his love for me and what it meant: that I was loved and my needs and wants mattered to him. I didn’t need to forgo them—but address them—and then I could love others while still caring for myself well.

His love is a place in which we can find refuge and strength. It is active, and meets us when we feel like we are empty or depleted.

His love produces a freedom in us and is not rooted in obligation.

When you live in the magnitude of his love you will not fail in feeling his love for you… and in response your ability to give it to others.

His presence radiates love; when you surrender your expectations in loving to Jesus, and accept his love for you, you can show this love to others.

That’s who God is: love, the great giver of love. He is the very essence of love and his sacrifice on the cross allows us to live in this love.

Others would experience his agape love when I loved from this place and let go of the high expectations I put on myself to be perfect in my love for others, in being a mother and wife.

His love produces a freedom in us and is not rooted in obligation. When we allow ourselves to receive the love of Jesus by being rooted in his love, all expectations on us are diminished.

There is no exhaustion because it’s life giving for you and the other person.

Love others freely by knowing how much you are loved by God first. Loving others while caring for yourself is possible, with the truth of his great love for you. You will not feel like you are sacrificing your needs and wants because you will know you are loved by God always.

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  1. Marta Helsmoortel on February 1, 2021 at 12:01 PM

    Hi Nikki, I appreciate how you break down this principle of God’s love being the sustaining love from which we can love others. Abiding in His love fills our hearts to overflow to others!
    thank you, Marta

    • Nikki Evanson on February 1, 2021 at 7:54 PM

      Hi, Marta!
      Thank you so much, and thanks so much for sharing!

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christian women like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God, to love yourself, and to love others.

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