What makes self-care biblical?
To understand self-care biblically we need to look at it rightly. The best way to approach self-care is through the lens of stewardship. The Bible teaches us to steward all the gifts that God gives us (Luke 12:48; 2 Corinthians 9:6–15; 1 Peter 4:10). When God blesses us with resources, it is our responsibility to steward them wisely. Self-care is simply stewardship of our body, our time, our decisions, our responsibilities, and our relationships.
In The Whole Life: 52 Weeks of Biblical Self-Care, biblical self-care is defined as follows: “The practice of drawing on divinely given resources to steward our whole lives for personal enrichment, the good of others, and the glory of God.” Read that again.
This definition always has God’s glory as the target. In addition, others are blessed but not at the expense of totally depleting yourself. Too often, Christians pay little attention to their own needs or care. They believe this is a selfless way of living, but it often ends up driving them to a useless state of burnout.
Biblical self-care means we steward the body God gave us and respect our limitations. We steward our life by engaging in things that bring spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
Biblical self-care means we steward our time and seek to wisely say “yes” or “no” based on what is best for ourselves, our families, and others God has placed our lives.
Biblical self-care means we steward the gifts and abilities God has given us to bless others without exhausting ourselves in the process.
Engaging in self-care does not contradict self-sacrifice, nor does it necessarily lead to a self-centered life.
So what might biblical self-care look like in your life?
It is engaging with God in the ordinary sacred places. Perhaps it is you in your favorite chair with just a Bible and a cup of coffee or tea. Or it might meeting with God as you take a walk around the neighborhood or in a park. It can be as quiet as moments in prayer in the middle of the night, or as noisy as a foyer full of chatter as you enter the familiar four walls of your church.
A person who engages in biblical self-care recognizes the best place to go for refreshment is to the One who restores the soul. It is trusting God enough to allow things to wait while you take a nap, eat a meal, exercise, play a game, read a book, or watch show. It is enjoying God through the smile of a dear friend, in the giggles of a little child, or in the unhurried conversation with your neighbor. It is noticing when you are stressed and changing course. It is scheduling check-ups, taking vitamins, asking for help, or taking a vacation. It is doing all these things for your enrichment, for the good of others, and for the glory of God.
The picture in this post is a place I go to often. It is a spot along a walk where I commonly stop to take in the beauty and breathe in the grace of God. For me, this is self-care.
How will you engage in the much-needed practice of biblical self-care?