I’ve been hearing a lot about the idea of self-care lately, and I am all for it. The dictionary defines it as you would pretty much expect.
Self-care: noun, care for oneself.
That sounds simple enough, right?
But I think for many of us—certainly for myself—self-care is an elusive concept. What does it look like to care for oneself when you’re working full-time, caring for a family, or trying to grow that side hustle? (Or all three?) Where does self-care come into play? How can I take time for myself when I have all these other things I need to do first?
It’s time we see self-care in a new light.
If the phrase self-care throws you off, think of it differently. Think of it as soul-care.
When we press pause, when we rest, and when we care for our souls, we’re more in-tune with what God is saying to us.
While I’m no expert in rest, I will say I’ve seen first-hand how much it does a body good. Resting is productive in its own way. It’s a time when our body repairs, rebuilds, and recharges. I truly believe more and more of our health problems today stem from stress and not knowing how to cope with our stress in healthful ways. Resting gives us a chance to take a breath.
I have a really hard time simply resting. I was home sick with a sinus infection for a few days last week, and even then, I didn’t want to be still. I always want to feel productive and like I’ve accomplished something. Half the time when I'm watching TV, I’m doing something else. Maybe you have a hard time slowing down, too, or maybe you don’t know how to fit that into your already jam-packed schedule.
But even God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it, rested.
God paused, looked at all He had done, and declared it to be good. He instructed us to keep holy the sabbath—to rest and take good care.
What would it look like to take an entire day unplugged, tuned in to God, and simply enjoying the creation He created for us?
Matthew 22:37-40 tells us,
We've seen this passage countless times, and even people who don't read or believe in the Bible know we're to love others. That's the Golden Rule. But I recently heard on a podcast a refreshing way to interpret it. Take the scripture a step further. Love the Lord your God. Okay, yes. Then, love your neighbor as yourself. Think about that: as yourself.
Do you love yourself? Do you see yourself as God sees you? Are you actively caring for yourself in the way that honors the Lord? I think of soul-care is as a beautiful act of love that shows we value ourselves and believe we are worthy. If we are to love others, we have to love ourselves.
If we want to pour out to other people, we have to first fill up ourselves.
So as much as I enjoy ending my day with an episode or two of Friends, doing so doesn’t really fill me up. It’s restful, yes, but not rejuvenating. It’s not restorative or redemptive. It doesn’t bring life to my soul.
But spending time with the Lord, reading His Word, praying, memorizing scripture—these things encourage my soul and fill my heart.
Reading the Bible is my number-one soul-care and self-care technique. Even when I don’t feel like doing it, God shows up. He honors that discipline and that desire. His Word is living and active, and He really does restore us through it.
When I’m not reading, I like to practice these other soul-care activities:
- Taking a walk.
- Listening to a podcast.
- Listening to worship music.
- Praying with a friend.
- Doing Christian yoga.
The hustle mentality will burn us out, but self-care is a lifelong practice. God designed us and included a natural rhythm of a sabbath. There’s a purpose for that. When we’re caring for ourselves—caring for ours soul as God intended it—we’re able to honor Him and live the life He created us for.
What’s your go-to soul-care technique? Share with me in the comments below and let's continue to encourage one another.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.