Why Self-Care Isn't Selfish

Why Self-Care Isn't Selfish

Next to my spiritual life, physical care comes a close second.

This hasn’t always been the case, however. I used to think that taking care of myself was a selfish thing. I used to believe that loving God meant serving Him nonstop.

Not only is this erroneous thinking, it actually sabotages my best intentions.

When I am tired, I don’t think as clearly. I have less energy to be fully present with others or filter what comes out of my mouth.

The result: a survival mentality and damage to key relationships.

Not a good exchange.

Two years ago, I started with a small goal: getting good sleep.

When I sleep well, I think better. I began to see other areas of self-care, like diet and exercise, in a different light.

Once I started making sleep a priority, I began to see two key things:

1.    Caring for myself is an act of humility.

When I sleep, eat carefully, and exercise, I acknowledge that I have limits. I am not God. I cannot run my body into the ground and think I will escape unscathed. There will be consequences.

2.    Caring for myself is then an act of stewardship.

I may not be God, but I am responsible for caring for what He gives me. I am not being selfish, but rather, I am honoring my limits and doing what I can to keep myself in good shape.

When I do this, I can then serve the Lord and others with more thoughtfulness, stamina and endurance for the marathon ahead.

It’s amazing what regular sleep can do.

Now lest I am misunderstood, let me also clarify what I am not saying.

Self-care is not the end goal. It is a means to a greater end—being fully present to serve the Lord and others.

Self-care should not be an obsession. I do not believe we are slaves to our bodies.

Self-care is not going to save us from illness or disease. That can still happen, simply because we live in a fallen world.

However, I do believe in taking time to do our own cooking instead of resorting to processed foods that can fool us into thinking we are eating healthy.

I do believe in doing what we can to work in physical movement into our day, not just coasting along with a sedentary lifestyle.

I do believe in learning to discipline ourselves to take time to sleep instead of thinking that “me time” requires late nights after the kids go to bed.

While we are made in the image of God, we are still human. To care for our bodies is an act of reverence and stewardship.

We maintain our cars and recharge our phones. We do these things so that they can continue to run properly.

Self-care is the same idea.

Take care of yourself—not just for your own ends, but so that we too can run with endurance the race set before us (Heb. 12:1).

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