When is the last time you spoiled yourself for no good reason? Not given yourself a reward for finishing a big project on time, not eating ice cream because you’re depressed, but actually doing something nice for yourself when you feel fine and haven’t done anything to deserve it?
It’s a small step in getting self-esteem, but an important one. Here’s why:
If you don’t treat yourself for no reason from time to time, then you reinforce works-based value. Even if you do something because you’re feeling down, that reinforces both that something can make you feel bad about yourself and that your cure can fix it, however temporarily. If you do it as a reward, you say that you must work to earn things, even from yourself, meaning that you have no right to them if you stop performing. If you deny yourself all the time, you are telling yourself you’re not even worth what you already have.
Giving yourself an incentive to finish a disagreeable task can help motivate you. The problem comes if you have to do something or feel a certain way before you give yourself anything.
Jesus gave His life for you. What did you do to earn that? Nothing. In fact, we were all busy proving just how little we deserved such a gift. How did you feel about it? None of us were born at the time He did it. God just decided to give us a present that we can accept or reject as we choose. He gave us this present because He loves us passionately, because He chose to value us.
If we’re worth that to Him, are we not worth the occasional chocolate shake? (As a quick aside, note “occasional”. Treating yourself is not a license to gluttony, sloth, adultery, etc.) Would God not want us to Redbox a movie for no reason other than that we wanted to see it? Does He want us to not go to the Renaissance Festival?
The Bible tells us to be like Him. Well, guess what? He spoiled Himself. He wasn’t a glutton or drunkard, but he enjoyed feasts and good wine. He had a seamless tunic, which was so costly, the soldiers cast lots for it rather than divide it among themselves. He had nice things. He wants you to treat yourself sometimes, too.
This post carries with it another assignment (before you groan, read it, you may like this one): do something nice for yourself tonight. Order a pizza, rent or go see a movie, or have a big dessert. Not because you’ve earned it, but because you’re already worth it.