Last weekend I was doing a devotion about proper self-care and how it should align with God’s Word, as well as bring us contentment and joy. Today I would like to share a bit about the devotion and my thoughts regarding “Self-care”
Going by this world’s definition of self-care, we see it should involve activities and is a bit self-centered. The saying usually goes like, “You need to practice self-care, YOU deserve it!” Now, I’m not saying we should take care of ourselves. Jesus even points out how we should practice this in Matthew:
” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].Matthew 22:36 AMP
How do you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? By being good stewards of the mind, body, and soul God has given us. Now, I know this is easier said than done, but the best way I have found recently is to just take it one day at a time and ask God how I can properly honor Him with each part of myself. Let’s break this down a bit.
Love God with all my heart:
I can love God with my heart by putting Him first in the morning and seeking Him before I get on my phone or the internet. This means, I get up in the morning – after brushing my teeth and such -, I grab a cup of coffee and I just sit and spend quality time with my Papa. I am getting recharged as well as allowing God to take first place in my life. He speaks to me and shows me His will for the day and how I can best honor Him.
Love God with my soul:
Our soul is made up of our mind, our will, and our emotions. We will go over loving God with our mind later, but for now we will focus on loving God with our will and emotions. How does this look? We have to choose to master our emotions instead of letting them master us. Most days I don’t “feel” like doing anything but browsing on social media, eating foods that are not good for me, and laying around the house. However, if I did this everyday – which to be honest started happening from March until the beginning of September due to depression starting to set in with all of the chaos going on right now in the world -, I would feel miserable, I would be weak and not have any energy, and I wouldn’t be very good use to anyone. Secondly, we have to love the Lord with our will. This means we give up our desire to be right and have the last word. Someone could have done us wrong, but don’t they deserve the same grace and forgiveness God has extended to us? You might say no, but just think about this; What if God treated you the way you treat them, and before you say something about not having done anything nearly as bad as them, remember in God’s eyes sin is sin, there is no scale on which is worse or better. This is a hard pill to swallow but we have to surrender our Will if we want to live a powerful life that pleases Him and is a blessing to others.
Love the Lord with your mind:
Finally, we need to love God with our mind. The way to do this is by renewing our mind daily – and sometimes I find I’m doing it every hour -, and focusing our thoughts on the positive and God’s Word. There be a few scriptures you meditate on throughout the day, or keep either worship or a Christian podcast playing in the background to keep you centered on Him. However this looks, by choosing to focus on His thoughts and not just whatever pops in your head, you are loving Him with your mind.
After we love the Lord with our heart, soul, and mind Jesus said we must love our neighbor as ourselves. Going back to the beginning when I talked about self-care, let’s look at what that means practically.
Loving ourselves, so we can love others:
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t give what you don’t have”? Well, if you don’t view yourself in a healthy way, you will have all kinds of bitterness, hatred, and discontentment with others because you’re not doing that for yourself. This doesn’t flow out of a self-centered life. Something I’ve learned the past few months is that as I allow God to show me what I look like through His eyes, and I begin accepting myself with how He made me – flaws and all – then I have a starting point to becoming the person He wants me to be. For example, I want to shed some weight – not so I’m skinny, but so I’m healthy and strong -, and so the first thing I need to do is begin speaking what God says about me over myself. Things like, “I am healthy, strong, confident, beautiful, loved, accepted.” and so on. I am speaking over myself what I desire to see and what God says about me. The world would call this “putting good vibes into the atmosphere” but as a believer we know this is what Mark 11 talks about speaking out of our mouth – without doubting – and that we will have what we say [Mark 11:23]. Now this doesn’t mean you treat God like a genie in a bottle, but I think you understand what I’m saying.
Another great scripture that talks about loving ourselves and honoring God with our bodies is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. This scripture discusses how we are literally a temple that houses the Holy Spirit. This may seem confusing but basically it is saying we should treat ourselves respectfully and be good stewards – or take proper care – of our bodies because it is the only one we have. Basically what I’m trying to say is, we can’t give someone compliments and be lacking it ourselves. We think we can, but deep down we are doing it in hopes they will say them back to us. I know because I’ve done it. And we should be doing it without strings attached.
How do we self-care without being self-centered?
So we discussed how we should love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. We shared what it looks like to love ourselves so we can in turn love others. Now I want to share what it means to have self-care without being selfish and self-centered. One of the good things I learned in the devotion I did on this topic was when they asked the question I am about to ask you. When you do take a step back and self-care, does it leave you refreshed or depleted? Here are some ways I thought of that we can do some God-focused self-care:
Examples of True Self-Care –
- Read a book that engages your mind
- Do a puzzle, word games, or even take a class that will challenge you.
- Take a bubble bath, go to a spa, or get your hair and nails done
- Go to the gym and just swim a few laps or sit in the sauna for an hour
- Take a hike or a walk in the park or your favorite national park and take in the scenery
- Take up a hobby like golf, biking, or something that engages your body so you are not only enjoying yourself but getting healthy and strong
- This could be something as easy as talking to a friend or seeing a counselor/therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist
- Watch a good movie that makes you laugh, cry, or both.
- Talk with family and friends about a good memory you have of them or a loved one who might have passed.
- We kind of touched on this already, but find scriptures you can meditate on and spend an hour or so going over them and making them personal. Talk to God about why you chose them.
- Take a walk outdoors and spend some time in dialogue with God. Don’t just do all the talking, actually take time on your walk and listen to what He wants to say.
- Get in a good Bible study group where you are sharing things God has been speaking to you and listening to what God is saying to and through others.
There are many other things you are probably thinking of that could go into these lists, and I encourage you to share them below. I know this was kind of long, but I really hope it made sense. I hope this week you would find time to do some God-focused self-care and find ways you can recharge mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Remember you are loved and cherished dearly,
~ Angie ~