We’ve all heard someone say, “You need to take better care of yourself,” or “Exercise a little self-care and you will feel better.”
While this may be wise, it’s often hard to do. Some of us are uncomfortable with the idea of self-care. We think there is too much emphasis on the self or that self-care is a selfish focus.
For insight, let’s look at the life of Jesus while on earth. While He was fully God, He was also fully man and had a physical body to care for while completing his ministry. Friend and Fuller professor, Siang-Yang Tan offers this,
“In the midst of his busy ministry, meeting the needs of many people, Jesus regularly took time off to be in solitude and to pray, to be in communion with the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt 14:23; 26:36; Mark 1:35; 6:46; 14:32; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 22:41; John 17:1; Heb 5:7).”
Jesus stayed strong by exercising self-care in the middle of his ministry life. He understood the importance of rest and time alone with the Father. Professor Tan (2003) suggests these self-care strategies modeled and given to us by Christ:
1) Take time for solitude and silence
In today’s busy world, this is often difficult but “rest” means being quiet and listening. To “be still and know” is a practiced skill of rest and silence. This includes keeping the Sabbath. Most of us are guilty of not resting on one day of the week, yet this in one of the ten commandments. Dedicating a day to rest and relaxation rejuvenates the body, mind, and spirit.
2) Simplify your life as much as possible
This will lessen your stress. When we lose the clutter and remove the distractions, our focus on the things of God will improve and give direction but also bring peace.
3) Be in a spiritual community
Surround yourself with those who will encourage you, pray with you, and be there for you in difficult times. We are made for relationships and will be revitalized by healthy Christian relationships. Self-care includes building a community of believers with whom to do life.
4) Work on stress management from a biblical perspective
This means you approach stress from a position of love and humility, not competition and pride. Contemplative prayer, quiet meditation, deep breathing, renewing the mind daily, humor, and other stress management skills help. His promise is to keep us in perfect peace if we keep our mind stayed on Him.
At times, God calls us to sacrifice our time, be good stewards of His gifts and talents, and perhaps even suffer. We may get “out of balance” in terms of a secular view. During those times, we trust in God’s sovereignty and trust that God’s care for us is what matters most. Then, when the trouble passes, we need to return to that state of balance.
Taking care of yourself in order to do the things God has put you here to do is not selfish. It’s caring for the body He gave you in order to glorify Him in all you do.Is self-care selfish?