Professor, wife and mother of five girls, Susan Poyo gave a talk Sunday night in the Gentile Gallery in which she challenged her audience to learn to love the women God created them to be.
The event began at 7 p.m., and Susan Poyo, who holds a doctorate in education from Duquesne University, explained how unless we love ourselves, we cannot truly love our neighbors. “When we’re harsh to ourselves, it permeates to how we treat our neighbors,” she said.
Poyo encouraged her audience to ask themselves a question: How am I loving the creation God made me to be? She explained how when we are harsh and judgmental of ourselves and others, we are dishonoring and disrespecting God’s creation. She cited 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in order to explain in detail, and with beautiful imagery, that without love we are nothing.
Words have power, said Poyo. She suggested that the audience members stop next time they’re about to say something like, “I’m an idiot” and instead say, “Next time I’ll do better.” Rejoice in the truth, Poyo said, and do not allow your feelings to be the end all tell all.
Poyo went on to explain how it is because of excuses that we often times stop and give up rather than suffer and push through. We are called to walk the road of Calvary and die to ourselves a little bit every day for love: to die to our sin, pride, anger and selfishness. Poyo encouraged all the young women to choose hope and to choose to walk through that fire; choose not to wallow in pain or sadness but rather live in Christ who is the way, the truth and the life, she said.
The world has lied to us all our lives, said Poyo. It’s taught us that the reason we build up walls around our hearts is to protect them from being hurt, but in reality, what they really do is keep us from loving.
Poyo used the example of someone feeling abandoned by their friends and drawing the conclusion that no one wants or loves them. “Satan finds ways of triggering an emotion that is attached to a lie,” stated Poyo. She explained how it is when we start to think about that lie then we start to believe it and then in turn live it. Poyo encouraged her audience to keep moving forward. “We’ve got to keep moving. We have to believe the truth and love ourselves, and then we can love our neighbors.”
We all get stressed and need to learn to let it go, said Poyo, because “I bet you’ve never been so stressed out that you sweat blood like Jesus.” Christ felt and endured it all: pain, abandonment, exhaustion and stress. “Jesus didn’t stop, so why do we?” asked Poyo.
Senior Molly Ryan agreed with Poyo, saying that what stood out to her in the talk was the idea that “…walls around our heart never keep out the pain.” She continued, saying that she loved Poyo’s idea that each of us are individually created and beautiful. “It’s very easy to put ourselves down and get upset and angry with ourselves. We often forget that God doesn’t make ugly things.”