Self-care seems to be trending at the moment (though, I’m always behind the times on popular things, so maybe this happened months ago and I’m finally catching up!). I have grand (to me) ideas on what self-care is, but I’m sure that differs from person to person. In my mind, self-care is always showering, always having great hair and make-up and nails that are polished and perfect, eating right, exercising, having regular “me time” – including Bible and prayer time – and being totally serene all the time because I’ve done all that other stuff. Not to mention the stack of “Christian Inspiration” books I’ve yet to read to better myself. But I’m always stressing about something, anxious about something else, and the list of things to be done is always swirling around my brain, including some of the items listed.
It seems to me that it’s difficult to reconcile self-care with being a Christian. Isn’t it more important to care for and serve others as Jesus calls us to? Shouldn’t I always put my needs last so I can care for my husband, children, and friends? Philippians 2:3 tells us to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
The idea is both/and, not either/or. Serve others selflessly and without restraint, and take care of yourself. Don’t fall asleep looking at your phone (try reading one of those helpful books instead, or better yet, the Bible!). Go to bed and get your rest so you can wake up and make breakfast and pack lunches. Read God’s Word so you can teach it to your kids. Exercise so you can keep up with life. Eat your spinach so you can show your family how to eat well and be healthy. Doing these things benefits both you and others. Also consider this: how are you going to take care of others if you’re a mess? Find a good balance of caring for yourself and for others—it doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other.