Pleasure is one of life’s greatest gifts. It is a tool that a loving God uses to let us experience joy, adventure, gratitude, a love of others, and a love of self. If we are to believe, see, hear, and feel a proper self -love, we need to accept our God- given birthright. Our birthright is not something we have to earn. It is our right to value ourselves because we are already valued by a Higher Power who delights in us.

God connects with us through pleasure. He created an entire universe for our enjoyment. It is how God best speaks to our souls.
It is experiencing pleasure that builds the bond in the relationship between love of self, love of others, and love of God.

Life has never been busier. Despite technology, social media, and modern-day conveniences, we have never been more disconnected and absent than we are today. Our expectations are high, and our pleasure barometer is low. This is the perfect storm for self- deception, self- aggrandizing, and low self- esteem.

If we are to embrace self- love, we need to move away from “expectation,” and instead live life “expectant” of receiving and enjoying the simple pleasures that are laid at our feet every day. Blessings come in many ways, and they are for our own enjoyment as well as to help us use our gifts to extend joy and pleasure to others.

What I am learning is that the whole world changes when we begin to look for the blessings that can come through the people, places, and the acts of service that are meant to be savored. When was the last time you sat down and enjoyed a cup of hot coffee that was not in a to-go mug in the car on your way to your first of many errands??

On a personal note, these past weeks have been a time of great blessings amid some very challenging circumstances. My daughter had a kidney transplant, after five years of being on dialysis. In our wait for an organ, and the disappointment of numerous setbacks, only now do we fully see God’s handprint in our rearview mirror.

In caring for my daughter over these past few years, I’ve learned that there are times that I need to slow down, and savor quiet moments; relish the gift of time, and realize that there has been joy all along, even in the heartbreak. When pleasure seemed to be in short supply, a treasured friend called, a prepared dinner showed up, a greeting card came, and countless acts of love brought love and light into our lives.

And the best gift of all was that a living, healthy, and altruistic donor showed up in the final hour when we least expected it.

I’m learning as I have observed my 35-year-old daughter over these past few years, that a healthy self-esteem and trust in a good God sustains the spirit. Experiencing pleasure is really not in short supply, but it exists in the confidence of knowing that we are loved, valued, and worthy of being delighted.
Self-love is not selfish.
Self-affirmation is not conceit.
Self-worth is not self- worship.
Self-aware is not self-absorbed.
Until we accept emotionally, as well as intellectually, that a proper self-love is right, we run the risk of listening to our internal critic. That critic distorts our thinking and robs us of the joy and the pleasures that could otherwise be ours.

Awaken Your Worth, 

Janet Cronstedt