For many year I was nothing but self-centered ego with a body and a name. I was only interested in me, my way, my life, my ego. It was a very fatiguing way of life. Letting that portion of my life go was (and still is) a painful process. I hurt so many people. In returned I was hurting myself and more importantly, I was hindering the gifts and calling upon my life. I've been in recovery from myself for quite a while. Fact of the matter is, you probably have been as well. The healing process is a long, steady one.
Following Jesus is obviously not centered around us, but we cannot overlook how we were made / wired. As we live our lives, we slowly become more aware of who we really are - what makes us tick. In our self-awareness, not tending to issues that are possibly laying dormant under the surface of our lives is more detrimental to our faith journeys than we sometimes realize. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
Self-hatred, as well as pride, are two of the biggest obstacles of true worship. They distort the true image of God. Since we were made in our God's image, we should treat ourselves as the image-bearers we are. That is itself is an act of worship. When was the last time you let yourself be loved for who you are, and not for who you should be?
“If you want to benefit from [worship], I suggest that you allow yourself to be loved...as you are, and not as you should be. Christianity does not exist in what we do for God, but what God does for us. It always starts with what God does for us. All He asks is that you be astonished at the fact that He bothered at all”. - Brennan Manning.
How effective can we be at loving each other as we love ourselves, if we don't truly allow ourselves to be loved? Read this passage from Psalm 139, and meditate on it. "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day."
"A glimpse of God will save you. To gaze at Him will sanctify you." -Manley Beasley. Our personal, relational, and spiritual evolution will move us more and more towards Jesus as we pursue truth (John 4:23) and surrender our control to the One in ultimate control. By resolving to allow ourselves to be loved as we are, we will change.
I believe that being at peace with who we are and how we were made (in the image of God), will define how we live and how we treat each other. Ultimately, it will help define the mark that we leave on our society, family legacy, and communities. God's peace be with you as you center yourselves on the unshakable love and acceptance of the Maker of the universe.