In general, when folks talk about self-care, they’re talking about deliberate activities designed to promote good health. This could be anything from maintaining a consistent sleep schedule to a walk in the park to deep-breathing exercises. The idea, I suppose, is that a healthy mind and body leads to a happier life.
God designed our bodies to function a certain way. For example, every human requires sleep. According to this article >> read here << by Time Health, the best time to sleep is night-time. Early to bed, early to rise is really the best way to sleep, according to science. Looks like our grandparents were right all along!
God also designed us to eat. Adam and Eve were given the vegetation in the Garden of Eden as food. Certain foods promote better health than others. Hopefully, we all know that a colorful fruit salad is a better breakfast than a donut. A hearty vegetable stew is a better option than chicken nuggets and french friends. Of course, we also know it’s possible to over-eat or not eat enough. We need to find a healthy balance. That would, of course, qualify as self-care.
Beyond day-to-day activities like eating and sleeping, it is not unwise to find ways to reduce stress. For many of us, our lives our hectic and we can become easily over-whelmed. There’s nothing wrong with taking a minute to catch your breath. I certainly would not condemn you for coming home after a long day and running yourself a hot bath.
For the professing Christian, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of your health or trying to reduce stress. If I see you doing some deep-breathing exercises, I promise I’m not going to smack you with a Bible. However, I believe we should consider our end goal.
If you’re going to make attempts to reduce stress and be in better health; consider your reasons. Our goal should always be to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). We are to do all things to the glory of God and serve those around us. If our goal in self-care is not to better serve God; why are we doing it?
Consider the mom who sets her baby in his or her crib, walks outside, and catches her breath. Why does she do that? She feels herself getting frustrated. She knows she needs to calm down or she might do something she regrets. She steps away from her baby, catches her breath, and then she returns to her baby. The purpose of her break is so that she can better care for her baby.
In the same way, when we care for ourselves, we should always return to serve. Everyone needs a break sometimes. Everyone needs 5 minutes to catch their breath. But, we should always come back and do the work that God calls us to do.
Additionally, when you find yourself wanting a break, don’t take a break from God. In your stress and in your grief, keep running to God. Don’t stop reading your Bible. Don’t stop going to church. Don’t stop worshiping. Don’t stop praying. That is one of the biggest mistakes I see Christians make. They feel over-whelmed so they disconnect completely. Don’t do that. Keep pressing in. Finding comfort in God is the best way to reduce stress and be at peace, frankly. God is sovereign over your stress.
Lastly, remember that sin is never self-care. Any sort of behavior that is sinful cannot be good for us. Be careful, dear brothers and sisters, I’ve fallen into this trap a time or two before. It’s so easy to justify destructive behaviors because we think we need it. If we cannot cope with stress and care for ourselves in a God-glorifying way, we need to examine our own hearts.
As always, your comments are welcome! Take care and God bless