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The "New" Way to Self-Care

Self-care is becoming another one of those catchy phrases thrown on anything and everything. Whether it’s a streaming service, line of hygiene products or the latest diet fad, everyone is dubbing their own definition and response.


Because it has become so mainstream, “self-care” has nearly lost any true significance and can be manipulated to fit every circumstance. Yet, its underlying current remains the same: do “x” to make you feel better because you deserve it.


As with many things in our world, there is some good—some truth—within the core of self-care. We should take care of ourselves for a variety of good reasons; some of them being to:


  1. Preserve our physical health so we can continue to live life wholly and fully.

  2. Restore our mental health so we can function from a place of sound judgment and compassion.

  3. Build natural rhythms of rest to avoid physical and mental burnout.


Essentially it goes back to the mindset behind instructions for adults to first put the oxygen mask on themselves before a child when a plane begins to crash or malfunction. We cannot take care of others well if we are not first taking care of ourselves. We cannot live out our callings, use our gifts or do our jobs well if we are not healthy and whole.

Cup of iced creamy green liquid sitting next to a plant and face roller
Shayna Douglas photo | Unsplash

The Bible is no stranger to such an idea. Being the living Word of God, it is actually the source of this concept. And if that is the case, then God is the Creator (the Founder, if you will) of self-care. Just look at many of the psalms or Jesus’ teachings. Read through God’s rebukes of those who failed to first focus on themselves before others.


God is all about the individual heart and its health (see Proverbs 21:2). Where the world’s definition deviates is the manner in which we care for ourselves and the ultimate goal of such care.


Just as God is always concerned with our hearts—our desires and motives—He longs for our hearts to be set on Him (see Psalm 119:2, Prov. 3:5-6). Not because He is an egomaniac, insecure in His identity or relies on the accolades of humans, but because He is God—perfectly good, righteous, gracious, loving, merciful and just. All of the time. Therefore, He is worthy of all praise (see Ps. 145:3, Revelation 4:11) and praising Him is the source of all joy and peace (see Ps. 28:7).


When we glorify the very One who is peace, joy and love, we cannot help but experience such things in our lives and manifest them to the world around us. Such is the way and reason we practice self-care: give God our all and allow Him to change us from the inside out. When we set aside our personal desires (knowing they are evil in nature and only lead to emptiness) and live to fulfill His purposes, we experience “joy unspeakable and full of glory" (Warren, "Joy Unspeakable"). When we fix our gaze on the Source of goodness, patience, kindness and love, the very things which bring abundant life are manifested in and through us because He has transformed us (see John 15:5, Galatians 5:22-23).


We partner with the Creator of our souls to redeem those still living in darkness and walk them into the Light of Life (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Philippians 2:13-15). But to do so, we must abandon ourselves and pick up the new identity God offers, what Jesus refers to as “carrying our cross” in Luke 9:23.


When we glorify the very One who is peace, joy and love, we cannot help but experience such things in our lives and manifest them to the world around us.

Though painful, and maybe even unwelcome at first, this process is not for nothing (see Hebrews 12:11) nor do we abandon our identities—our idiosyncrasies, gifts and callings that make us who we are. Not at all!


In fact, we step into them in their true state, how God originally designed us. We give up the partial for the whole, the “meh” for the awesome, the meager for the abundant. What child would turn down a day at the chocolate factory for one small box of drugstore chocolates? What professional athlete would bypass a shot in the championship game for a solo matchup on their game console at home? What person would choose to stay bound to their oppressor when they are offered complete, eternal freedom?


When we settle for the things of this world over those of God, we are the child choosing the drugstore chocolate, the athlete choosing a made-up game and the slave choosing bondage. By stepping away from our old selves and into our new selves in Christ, we choose a life of surpassed expectations and overflowing abundance (see John 10:10).


Yet, it must start with putting God ahead of ourselves. When we do, we do not forfeit anything worthwhile but exchange the meager for the sublime. Why settle for the temporary, fleeting things of this world when God Almighty offers you so much more, even Himself?


Close-up of video game controller with tv screen in background with hockey video game playing
JESHOOTS.COM photo | Unsplash

“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul, he who keeps understanding will discover good” (Prov. 19:8).


“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor” (Prov. 21:21).


“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My (Jesus’) sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).


“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).


True, life-giving self-care is to trust your life to the One who made you and allow Him to care for your soul. After all, He is a good Father and the Good Shepherd; He knows all our needs and promises to provide for them (cf. Matt. 6:33). He even went so far as laying down His life for His sheep so that they would never taste eternal torment as a result of their sins (see John 10:11-18).


No worldly self-care regimen can rid us of the evil disease known as sin and its consequence, death. No matter how many “good” things we do, both for ourselves and for others, none of these “good” works can undo the pain we cause God by choosing ourselves over Him (see Ephesians 2:8-10).


True, life-giving self-care is to trust your life to the One who made you and allow Him to care for your soul.

Our selfishness separates us from God, but God, being rich in mercy, not only created a plan to save us, He became that plan (see 2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus, though He knew no sin, temporarily abandoned His place in Heaven to become like those He created so that He could take on our sins (see Phil. 2:6-8). Once He did, He not only granted us a restored relationship with Him, He also took His rightful place as our Shepherd. In this role, He promises to care for us (Matt. 11:28-30, see also Luke 11:11-13), lead us when we go astray, be our refuge in times of trouble (see John 14:27) and when the time has come, take us to be with Him in the place He has prepared for us in Heaven (see John 14:2-3).


He is the only One who can and does care for you in the purest, most complete and life-affirming way. So do yourself the greatest act of self-care and put your life in His hands. When you do, know He will never let you go.




References:


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.


Warren, Barney Elliott. “Joy Unspeakable.” The Celebration Hymnal. Word Music/Integrity

Music, 1997, pp 707. Hymnary.org, hymnary.org/hymn/CEL1997/740.



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