I had to laugh at a recent advertising slogan I saw: “Mac and cheese is self-care.” As I thought about this matter of self-care, I realized that we don’t usually neglect to take care of ourselves. The problem is we tend to allow the world, our feelings, or our friends to dictate how we “self-care.” In every area of life, our purpose should be to bring glory to God, and this includes taking care of ourselves. If we do this selfishly, it will end up only hurting us and our families.
So what is the right way to approach this issue of self-care? As in all other aspects of life, we can look to Jesus, our perfect example. Though fully God, He was also fully human and experienced human needs. Jesus spent His earthly life serving others, but He also took time to take care of Himself in two main ways.
First, Jesus took care of Himself spiritually. As God’s Son, He needed and cherished time alone with His heavenly Father. Several times in the gospels we see Christ getting alone with God for intimate fellowship. He prioritized this time of communion because He was completely dependent upon the Father. And if the very Son of God needed spiritual self-care, how much more do we! This is the most important way we can take care of ourselves—by spending time alone with God in His Word and in prayer. We desperately need this fellowship. John 15:5 says, “For without me ye can do nothing.” We must totally rely on His strength, grace, and wisdom to face life’s responsibilities, challenges, and trials. This is the one area of self-care we absolutely cannot neglect. Not only will we harm ourselves spiritually, but we will also be unable to meet our family’s spiritual needs.
Second, Jesus took care of Himself physically. He needed food, water, and rest just as much as we do. And although there were times He forfeited food and sleep for ministry purposes, Jesus made sure He took care of His body. He knew it was necessary in order to serve His Father most effectively. We, too, need to make sure we’re getting proper nutrition, rest, and exercise so we can meet the needs of our families.
Skipping meals (or overeating), not getting enough sleep, and exercising too little or too much will negatively impact our health and our ability to take care of our loved ones. We need to make sure we are practicing God-honoring self-care physically. Whatever form this may take, it needs to be something that will benefit and not harm our bodies so we can minister to others. So scarfing down a mess of macaroni and cheese probably isn’t the best way to take care of ourselves—contrary to the slogan I mentioned at the beginning!
The Purpose of Self-Care
In each of these areas of self-care, remember that the goal is not to have only our own needs met; we need to properly take care of ourselves so that we can serve and bless others around us. God wants us to administer self-care that brings glory to Him. If we follow Christ’s example, we will be assured that we are taking care of ourselves in the best possible way.
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Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.