By Elle Cardel from Daughter of Delight
Have you ever wrestled with the biblical principality of self-care?
In a world that constantly preaches about the power of self-care and what it can do for you, it can be hard for us, as Christians, to distinguish between the self-care movement of the world and the self-care call of the Gospel.
Part of the call to biblical self-care is putting the needs of others before our own. (1 Corinthians 10:24) But with that also comes the command to love our neighbor as our self. Meaning, if we are not properly taking care of ourselves, then our ability to take care of others will undoubtedly lack. (Matthew 22:36-40)
To be completely honest with you, there was a time where I thought self-care equaled a hot bath, treating myself to my favorite Sonic milkshake (if you’re curious, it’s a hot fudge shake with Reeses and Snickers mixed in…you’re welcome!) and binging on my favorite Netflix show in my pajamas. Now, I’m not saying these things are bad but I am saying that I have found only temporary relief from them.
Instead of putting myself first like society says I should, I have learned that it’s important for me to die to myself and the self-care culture the world operates off of.
Culture tells us to embrace ourselves. God tells us to die to ourselves. (Luke 9:23)
This does not mean we have to give up what we believe to be good for us. But it does mean we have to let go of what’s not so that we can make room in our hearts for what is.
The true rest and restoration we crave comes from God and God alone. My flesh craves a temporary rest. If I choose to satisfy it with something like my current favorite Netflix show, I will be no better off than when I started. When I focus more on what I can do for myself instead of retreating to my quiet place and entrusting myself to God, I miss out on the restoration, strength, and intimacy my weary soul so desperately needs.
With that in mind, I want to take a look at five tips and truths for our Biblical self-care routines. I pray they bless and encourage you to lean into the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.
Truth: You have permission to take care of yourself. In fact, Jesus commands it. Take a look at Mark 12:30-31. You’ll notice that part of what Jesus commands is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Did you catch those two little words at the end? “…as yourself.” God desires to see us treat and value ourselves as His beloved creation.
Truth: God created us for self-care. (Ephesians 5:29) He literally wired us for this. If you struggle with believing the lie that self-care is selfish, it most certainly is not- as long as you are investing in the proper self-care habits. Biblical self-care cooperates with God’s redemptive work in you.
Tip: Get alone with God. (Matthew 6:6) Take delight in retreating to your quiet place. Jesus did not sacrifice his alone time to help everyone that crossed his path. He knew that in order for him to serve God’s people, he also had human needs that must be met. The same goes for you. Alone time with God should be a non-negotiable for us- every single day.
Tip: Know your limitations and respect them. (Romans 12:2) I don’t know about you, but I can so easily get swept off my feet by this fast-paced life that I neglect the well-being of my heart and soul along the way. I am too busy trying to keep up and, in doing so, I neglect the truth that God is God and I am not. I know I cannot do everything, but the planner in me–my flesh–hates the reality of this truth.
What God has shown me in this, however, is the importance of not over-committing yourself. Ask for help when you need it, embrace the gift of community, set healthy boundaries in relationships, and be mindful of the way you prioritize your time. Practicing these things will help make way for you to better care for yourself in the ways God intended- physically, mentally and spiritually.
Tip: Take care of your temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Make sure you are getting enough rest and that you are feeding and moving your body in ways that allow it to thrive. We need energy for our Kingdom work. If we find ourselves running on empty or sick in bed often, this is a sure sign that something has to change; that it is time to slow down and lean in to the true Source of rest.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 1:2 (ESV)
Links to Elle’s content:
Daughter of Delight on Instagram
Daughter of Delight main website