I hear about self-care often, from memes to thoughtful friends; but what does the Bible say about self-care? I feel like I need some “me” time, and lots of women’s blogs support me in this. I can definitely find feelings that match this, as there have been times when I felt emotionally depleted and lacking in compassion towards others’ suffering. But is “me” time the answer to that? Is focusing our energies on ourselves going to help us in the long run, or will it just give us a temporary escape from our troubles? I have always enjoyed getting away on a women’s retreat, and having quiet time to myself. Who doesn’t love that? But is doing that once a year going to sustain me? I need a solution that isn’t temporary.
We’re to care for our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
We’re to care for others. (John 13:34-35)
We’re to bring glory to God. (Matthew 5:16)
This isn’t a checklist, but things that work in harmony together. There has to be balance. We take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others so that we can bring glory to His Name.
In Matthew 11:28–30 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV) When we are weary, only Jesus can refresh us and refill us. We do that by investing time in the Word.
In Luke 5 we see Jesus in active ministry, teaching the crowds and traveling, while also mentoring His disciples. In the middle of this busy narrative is one poignant line in verse 16: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (NIV) Making time to be before the Lord in prayer is vital. It is easy to make prayer a small part of our lives: a prayer before a meal, a bedtime prayer with a child. But what would your life look like if you made prayer a big part of your life? If you got down before your Maker every day, and prayed out loud, with praises and petitions? If you kept a prayer journal so you could look back and see where He answered you?
What self-care for a Christian woman should look like is not just distracting yourself from life’s stresses for an hour. By all means, take that hot bath, go for that peaceful walk, play Candy Crush with the volume off so the kids don’t come running. But in addition, turn to the Word for refreshing, turn to God in prayer to clear your frazzled mind. What we need is God’s grace in abundance, His comfort, and His strength. Life is hard; we aren’t meant to look to ourselves for self-care. Instead turn to the Lord and lay your heart before Him. There is no comfort like when He comforts us, because His comfort isn’t based on our feelings or circumstances. It’s based on Truth, on knowing our Creator.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)