On the surface, Self Care seems selfish. Our Christian culture tells us to sacrifice, to pour ourselves out, to serve and serve. We must sign up for everything, commit to every relationship, and volunteer at every event. On top of that, we need to be taking care of the kids, the house, the husband, the extended family, the church, and the neighbors. Also, you best be leading a Bible study, making your own bread from scratch, remembering everyone’s birthdays, and your house needs to be Pinterest perfect decorated.
Oh, and sweatpants? Forget it. Girl, you better be looking cute as a button every time you step out of your house.
This is what the culture expects of us, and if you don’t measure up, you’re a failure. We have turned into a society of Martha’s rather than Mary’s, we’re spinning our wheels trying to get everything done instead of being quiet at the feet of Christ. We’ve glorified the word “busy” and made it a measuring stick…a competition. Who can be the busiest? Who has the most going on? Who has the most-crammed calendar?
If we’re not careful, our lives are going to start looking a little like this…
Can I look into your sweet face for just a minute and tell you something?
I wrote about the topic of Self Care briefly in this post, but it’s a subject that merits more discussion. The bottom line is this: we need to take care of ourselves, or we won’t be able to take care of others. It’s not selfish, it’s smart. Just like your car needs gas, you need to be filling yourself up.
Jesus did it.
Mark 1:35 (ESV) – “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.”
Mark 14:23 (ESV) – “And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”
Here’s what I’m not advocating: being self-centered and lazy, avoiding the things that need to be done and the things God has called us to for the sake of “down time”.
Here’s what I am advocating: taking care of ourselves in order to effectively do the things that need to be done and the things God has called us to.
Matthew 22:36-39 (ESV) – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Loving your neighbor means you have to love yourself. You have to fill yourself up in order to pour out into others, or else you will run dry.
So, what are the Basics of Self Care?
1. Spend unhurried time with the Lord.
If nothing else, do this. Find a time and place where you won’t be interrupted – for me, that’s early in the morning. Spend intentional time in God’s Word and in prayer. I love the online Bible Study community She Reads Truth to help direct my daily quiet times.
2. Take care of your body.
Exercise. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. Stretch. Eat a lot of plants. Bathe.
3. Those things that fire you up? Do more of them.
What is it for you? Reading, gardening, cooking, bubble baths, wine, coffee dates, hiking, playing board games, taking the time to put together a confident outfit? Whatever it is, make time to do it. Regularly.
4. Reduce toxic relationships.
I don’t have this one figured out completely yet. But I’m learning to “turn down the volume” on relationships that suck the life out of me. Everyone has ups and downs, but if a relationship is consistently imbalanced and you dread spending time with a certain person, it’s time to set boundaries.
5. Commit to what God wants you to do, not what others want you do to.
Yes, I know that sometimes God calls us to things through other people. But, you don’t have to say yes to everything that others ask you to do. It’s ok to say no. There are lots of good things out there, but if you say “yes” to too many of them, your effectiveness will be a mile wide and an inch deep. Rather, focus on the abilities, passions, and placement that God has given you. Seek His advice, not the advice of man.
Let’s be honest. We all would rather our lives looked like this…
What do you think about Self Care? What are ways that you take care of yourself?