Friends, I want to be honest with you about the buzz word “self-care” we hear so much right now. I don’t write these words in disagreement of taking care of ourselves but out of caution for the common underlying motivation beneath the easy recommendation of self-care.
I believe taking good care of ourselves especially when times and circumstances are difficult is greatly worthwhile. There is indeed much we can pro-actively do to care for our minds, bodies, and souls. There is also a point where self-care can take a wrong turn.
Sadly, self-care is often anonymous with escaping pain, difficulty, stress, or discomfort. Maybe it’s a manicure, a trip around Target, nightly glasses of wines, or social media sprees. None of these things are inherently bad, but the problem creeps in when they’re used to numb reality by tending to what feels good in the moment.
If you are a followers of Jesus, however, self-care may mean wading directly through the difficulty or stress by pressing in to truth and to the spiritual disciplines inviting us closer to the heart of God.
Here are some honorable forms of self-care, also known as spiritual disciplines….
Exercise with gratitude and for discipline’s sake
Sleep for the energy to love and serve
Enjoy relationship with the Lord and with others
Enjoy nature as it points us to the awesome creativity of God
Read truth as it always relevant and alive
Pray earnestly because we are invited to by Jesus himself
Meditate on the unchanging attributes of the Lord
Maintain healthy boundaries and appropriate margin (Emily Sue Allen)
Sometimes we prance through these and sometimes we must plod.
May I encourage you to ask yourself or your friends these questions to discover the true motivation behind “self-care”:
One set of answers points us to the external, to temporary alleviation. While the other points us to the everlasting, to long lasting truth, to life-giving rhythms which will serve us in hard times and good times.
I encourage you, friends, to pursue life-giving, hope-filled self-care in good times and in hard times and to encourage your friends to do the same. XO!