You can’t love your neighbor until you love yourself. To the degree you love yourself you will love your neighbor.
These days have largely been about that—rediscovering the person of Joel Kindiak.
I noticed that I’m quite different from many people my age. I got serious with God at a relatively young age (14), found new fresh passions in spiritual stuff since then and shed away the meaningless yet fun moments of a typical teenage life.
For some time I was down about it. And tried to change that. I did things I never imagined I would do but still did nonetheless. I questioned myself many times on the purpose of my experiences unfamiliar to many. On the one hand I wanted to make every moment count for God, but on the other I can’t help but imagine the childish teenage fun I have given up in following Christ.
When I chose to follow Christ, the commandment to deny myself and count the cost of following Him didn’t make sense. I had nothing to my name. There was no apparent cost. There was no one else to cling to. And even if I succeed, He is the only One I can cling to. I followed Christ.
Only in recent days did I realise the cost. And it is surprisingly huge. No first kiss. No foolish drunk moments. No crazy excitation over good looking ladies (I do get crazy excitation over Bible revelations). Not much hanging out.
Just watching sermons, having Bible studies, praying, making YouTube videos on my Mario games (but even desire for that faded in 2014), doing schoolwork (study/revise/homework/etc), serving in church, etc.
You could say that I literally had no life outside of God. Even when I study it was more of a habit thing than an activity I am consciously doing.
Even the end of last year life felt meaningless when my popular friends went out every day and even when I cleared leave I spent quite a lot of it home alone. This definitely caused me to question my identity and worth.
But recently the Lord is bringing me through a period of loving myself, accepting myself for who I am. I don’t need to like what other people like and dislike what they dislike. I am who God says I am. If people share my interests, great! If not, fine. Doesn’t change who I am in Christ.
God has designed me uniquely and has set a path for me uniquely all my life, so I have zero reason to conform to the passions of others. Of course I don’t just do whatever I want, in order to build people up and point them to Christ, but I don’t ever change who I am just to please others.
I am who God says I am. I am Joel Kindiak, child of the Most High God, accepted in the Beloved, greatly blessed, highly favored and deeply loved!