Recently, I’ve thought a lot about self-care. I’ve heard pastors say self-care is sinful and worldly. Psychologists describe self-care as “doing what brings you joy” and popular media says, “You do you.” I’ve wrestled with a biblical view of self-care and here are my thoughts.
The reason most of us need better self-care is that we are running ourselves ragged. We are so prideful we think we “have” to do specific things or the world will spin out of control. How narcissistic of us! We feel exhausted mentally and physically. We pride ourselves on staying busy, but at what cost? We are irritable, short-tempered, and unmotivated. When we fail to create margin in our lives, we are more apt to act sinfully — saying things we regret, becoming hypercritical, or having a negative attitude to name a few.
From the beginning, God has taught us the importance of rest. In our pride, we boast of getting little sleep. When we try to rest, we feel guilty due to the lies we believe. We embrace the lie our value equals our productivity. We go and we do until we crash. God created us for more.
I believe biblical self-care = sabbath rest. When we regularly practice sabbath, we give our bodies emotional and physical rest. When we exercise, experts encourage us to schedule rest and recovery days in an attempt to prevent injury and improve performance. In much the same way, sabbath rest may prevent us from saying and doing things we regret. Rest is part of our sanctification process. If we want to be our best, we need to practice rest.
Self-care is not a catchy psychological word to justify our selfish wants and desires. True self-care is a call to “be still and know.”