5 Tips and Scriptures Connecting Self-Care
We are taught in our Bible studies and in our churches to be selfless. The Word of God teaches us to love others as we love ourselves, in fact, it is the top two of the greatest commandments (Mark 12:31).
That is the key point, though, love others as we love ourselves. In order to love others well, we must love ourselves, too. So how do we do that when life seems to be hitting us in all directions? How can we devote time for ourselves, to love ourselves well, if we are living in chaos? The key is the important practice of self-care.
There are varying opinions regarding self-care. Depending on who you talk to or what resource you find on the internet, self-care can be both selfish and selfless. Biblical self-care is important to practice so we reflect the light of Christ into the darkness of the world. Here are a few ways I practice self-care.
1. Daily quiet and prayer time
Spending time in the Word is the most valuable way I can practice self-care. When I bring my praise and my troubles to the Lord, He gives me the rest I need (Matthew 11:28-30) This quiet and prayer time is where I am able to connect with God in an intimate way and be still in His presence. I wake up earlier than anyone else in the house so my prayer time is not interrupted. This is a deliberate decision and a sacrifice of time. It is of the utmost importance to taking care of my relationship with God. If God can send His Son as a sacrifice for my sins, then how can I not sacrifice just 30 minutes of my time to devote to prayer and worship of Him on a daily basis?
Lay down your phone or other electronic devices and completely unplug from them for one whole day each week. Now, don’t freak out here. It is possible to do this! Just think about it this way, instead of browsing social media and comparing your chaotic life to other’s “perfect” life, just stop! Listen, people only put on social media what they want us to see. Nobody wants to put a picture on Instagram of their stacked-up laundry, dirty dishes in the sink and a toilet in desperate need of cleaning. Stop comparing yourself to others (Galatians 6:4). This is a trap of Satan that will only lead to depression. Our electronic devices in a way have become idols. The Word of God speaks specifically on worshiping other idols (Leviticus 26:1). An idol is anything that we love so much it replaces God. Now I’m not saying that you love your cellphone more than you love God, but take a look at how you spend your time on your devices. What is the first thing you reach for when you wake up in the morning? Your phone or your Bible? This was particularly convicting for me a few months ago. I tended to grab my phone and start perusing through my emails or social media before I spent time with God. My phone, in a sense, had replaced my time with God, thus becoming an idol. I simply have to make a point to unplug! So, unplug and spend time with family instead. You know, talking. It is a lost art that fewer and fewer people are doing these days because of our accessibility to all things technology. If you don’t have a family that you can converse with, spend time resting and in the Word. Either way, you will be glad you did.
3. Get a hobby!
What do you do when you are not working, taking care of kids, or doing laundry? Do you turn on the T.V. and watch the news? Do you take naps? Those are not healthy hobbies despite what the world likes us to believe. Sure, they fill time, but in actuality they are time-suckers. Filling our minds with negativity is not a healthy way of fighting depression (Romans 12:2). I’m all for a nap every now and then, but too much sleep is also not good for our bodies. Find something you like to do. Not sure of what you really like to do? Try different things until you find one that brings you joy. Here are a few things I do on a regular basis that fills my time and brings me joy.
֍ Bible journaling
֍ Coloring in stress reducing adult coloring books
֍ Writing in a Journal
֍ Bible verse mapping
֍ DIY home decorating projects
My list goes on, but I think you get the idea. There are so many possibilities for hobbies out there. You can even get your kids or family involved in the fun. For example, I spend one afternoon a week with my mother coloring. We are able to connect and enjoy our time together during this activity and we are not consumed with the negativity of the world during these few hours. Find the right thing for you and set aside some time each week or at least once a month to do it!
4. Eat right
This is absolutely biblical. We must eat right and take care of our bodies so we can be healthy. Here are a few scriptures about eating well.
֍ 1 Corinthians 10:31
֍ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
֍ Proverbs 23:20-21
I don’t always do the best at eating healthy. Let’s face it, the foods full of sugars and unhealthy fats just taste better, but gradually reducing these foods and replacing them with healthier options are better in the long run. My body is God’s temple and I should treat it as such, don’t you agree? I’m speaking to myself here just as much as I am speaking to you. I have to be prayerful and diligent with my food choices. Leaning into God in my times of weakness in this area will help with the cravings and soon the cravings will go away altogether. Practicing this step of self-care is important to honor the gift God has given us – our bodies.
This one is two-fold. Our body is God’s temple and just like with the food we put into it, the activity we do also honors God. Physical exercise is important to our overall well-being, but we must also practice spiritual exercise (1 Timothy 4:7-9). If you struggle with going to the gym and working out, don’t worry. I have the same struggle. Instead of paying for a gym membership, get out in the fresh air, walk around the neighborhood or a park and enjoy God’s glory at its finest! Start out slow, you don’t have to do a power-walk to enjoy the benefits of walking. Studies have shown that the simple act of walking at a steady pace increases endorphin in our brains that control depression. Don’t stop there, increase your spiritual activity as well. Just like with physical exercise, it is important to keep our spiritual muscles strong as well. Reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word can help us to keep Satan from attacking our minds. Our mind is Satan’s playground (1 Peter 5:8-9) and he knows where we are most vulnerable. Keeping our mind focused on the Word of God will help to defend the attacks.
These are just a few tips to help you with connecting God’s Word to the importance of self-care. I’m certain there are more ways God teaches us to take care of ourselves. In the end, doing this will honor God. When we are rested and spiritually full, we are better equipped to model Christ, which is our goal and what God teaches us to do (1 Corinthians 11:1).
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