Our society is in a huge “self-care” surge at the moment. Since the world promotes a somewhat self-centered attitude, this obsession with self- care conveniently fits in perfectly. Sometimes self-care is simply selfish attitudes or actions disguised as a healthy lifestyle.
I used to see all the cutesy little self-care and self-love graphics and scoff and think that’s just egotistical.
But I’ve started wondering, what if self-care is a Biblical concept? And here’s what I found:
In John 9:13-25, Jesus heals a blind man, in John 5:1-9, Jesus heals a lame man, and Jesus is often described as our Ultimate Healer.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to respect our bodies because they are “the temple of the Holy Spirit”.
Many of the Old Laws established by God in Old Testament, such as the dietary laws, were given to the people in order to keep them healthy and safe.
I have to assume that God values physical health and safety.
But we’re also told in 1 Timothy 4:8, that “bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitbale unto all things”.
So while physical health is important, spiritual health is even more important.
What kind of picture of self-care does this give us?
It’s a picture of simply putting in the energy and time to keep your body healthy and safe. I’m not talking about lifting weights every day or running 3 miles every morning. I’m not even talking about cutting ice cream and Coke out of your diet. I’m talking about respecting your body and taking care of it in a way that is comfortable for you. I’m talking about being mindful of the state that your body is in, and taking care of yourself when you need to. Don’t be apathetic about your health, instead be intentional with your body.
If that does look like lifting weights and running until your legs fall off, great. But if not, that’s great too.
Maybe your version of self-care looks like choosing a salad every once in a while, going for a short walk a couple times a week, or taking some extra vitamins. Maybe it looks like making yourself to go to the doctor when you’re sick instead of avoiding it, or taking a break from your Netflix binge (guilty).
You don’t have to be a gym rat or health guru (but if you are, kudos to you). You simply need to remember that you were bought with a price, your body is a temple and deserves respect, and that you can serve God best when your body is healthy.
Mental self-care is a heavier ball game. I’m still trying to figure it out, and I’m fairly positive that I’m not very good at it. Maybe once I discover more, I’ll write a new post about it. But for now:
I believe that ultimately, all of our mental health relies on our spiritual health.
And I firmly believe that spiritual health is a large part of self-care.
I 100% believe that *most* mental struggles like anxiety, depression, anger issues, focus problems, insecurity, low self-image, emotional problems and attitude problems can be overcome with a healthy spiritual life.
I think self-care in this area looks like a lot of time spent with God. It looks like separating yourself from the problems of whatever or whoever you are facing and diving into God’s word. It can also include letting someone you trust know what you’re struggling with, and seeking godly counsel. It can be simply realizing that you (just like myself and everyone else) are broken on your own and only Christ can fix you.
Emotional and mental self-care includes holding on desperately to God’s truths. The truths that tell you to have peace, because Jesus has overcome the world (John 6:33). That it’s ok to be angry, but do not sin in your anger and don’t let the sun go down on your wrath (Eph. 4:26). The truths that tell you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that you are greatly valued in God’s eyes.
I promise that the Bible holds an answer to every mental or emotional struggle that you face.
*But also let me say, that sometimes you can’t find these answers on your own. Sometimes you need to talk to people you trust about your struggles.*
I think spending time with God and His Word is the ultimate self-care tip.
Maybe that means you wake up a couple minutes early to start the day with Him. Maybe you listen to worship music on the way to class, or listen to Christian podcasts on your afternoon run. Maybe you gather your friends for a Bible study at Starbucks or maybe you study alone.
Whatever it looks like for you, make it happen.
Because I’m learning that physical and mental/emotional self- care really is important. God gave you one body to run this race of life with, and it’s important to take care of it, physically and mentally. You are valuable and your health and safety is important. And given the fact that your Creator loves and cares more about you than you ever thought possible, I believe that self-care looks less like love for yourself and more like love for God.