Miracle #14 -All Expressions Of Love Are Maximal
This past year I have realized that I have a bad habit of "denying myself" in the unconscious and mistaken belief that it would somehow benefit me.
Although I consciously know that making sacrifices will not earn me a spot in heaven, apparently my unconscious thoughts about this subject run deep.
A Course in Miracles says:
Never believe that you can sacrifice. There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value. If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made. (Workbook, Lesson 187)
I lived in West Africa, in the country of Niger, for over three years before I moved to Virginia. It is one of the hottest and driest countries on the planet, and I never had occasion to wear socks there.
Since I moved back to Virginia in 2009 I've owned a really weird collection of socks.
Some I got for free with coupons and some that my mother-in-law gave me. I would supplement this measly collection by occasionally borrowing socks from my husband.
My husband knows this and has encouraged me to spend money on myself, but somehow I never could seem to justify it.
There were always other bills or things the kids needed that seemed more important than getting myself some socks.
As I have worked through the ACIM workbook this year, and the Living in Purpose program offered by the Teachers of God foundation, I've had more and more awareness of how this habit of denying myself is harmful.
I had a gift card in my wallet to Macy's that I have been carrying around for at least 6 months. My husband gave it to me, but I was loathe to use it on myself, thinking that some purchase for the household would be a better investment.
The socks at Macy's are SO EXPENSIVE, I didn't want to "waste" his gift on them.
But a few days ago I was seized with a desire to rectify this sock situation, so I went on-line and ordered 18 pair!
Here is what I learned:
While I have made good progress with forgiving others through my ACIM practice, apparently I still have difficulty forgiving myself.
I attack myself in a very insidious and subversive way, by denying myself basic things that I would never deny a loved one.
If I wouldn't want my husband or children, or even a homeless person to go without socks, why would I do this to myself?
As I love myself, I love others, and as I love others I love myself.
Or as it says in Leviticus 19:18:
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor AS yourself.
You should love no one more or less than you love yourself.
You should love yourself no more or less than you love others.
We are all part of the Sonship, equal in God's eyes.
I should treat myself with the same respect I give others, and give others the same respect I expect for myself. It all boils down to the Golden Rule.
So SIMPLE - yet seemingly so difficult to implement in practice.
There should be no degrees in how we love ourselves and others, because all expressions of love are maximal. Only the ego divides love into different types and levels.
I am thankful that I found this sneaky part of my ego and was able to expose it in the light. The Holy Spirit can take it away now, and I can have warm feet!
Thank You, Holy Spirit
Teacher of God, do not forget the meaning of sacrifice, and remember what each decision you make must mean in terms of cost. Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all. decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything. — Manual for Teachers, 13