As a self-proclaimed self-care enthusiast and advocate, the question of whether or not self-care is selfish is a question I receive often; especially in Christian spaces. The immediate answer is absolutely not. I will spend the next couple of lines explaining why it is probably one of the best gifts that you can give yourself and your ministry.
First, we have to remember that the thought of having a moment to rest to care for yourself is not a manmade idea, but one that comes from the very mind of our creator. In the Ten Commandments we are called to honor the weekly Sabbath. In the Psalms we are encouraged to be still. Self-care is important because it forces us to take time away from our responsibilities to focus on caring for ourselves so that we are prepared to go back and serve another day. Taking time away from your work reminds you that it doesn’t solely depend on you. While God is asking us to give our absolute best to the work that He has called us too, He also needs us to remember that it is Him, not us, that brings about the change we seek to see in individuals, families, and communities.
Second, in order to give your families and your ministry the best of what you have to offer, you have to make sure that you are your best self. You can’t be yourself if you’re tired, irritable, and experiencing brain drain because you have not taken time to stop and regroup. It’s the proverbial sharpening of the axe. If you keep working your brain and your body with no breaks, they both become dull and you are then incapable of doing your best work. Taking time to sharpen your most important tool, yourself, is a necessity if you want to be in the best mental, physical, and emotional shape possible. You have to disconnect consistently to give your mind, body, and spirit time to rejuvenate.
Third, Acts of self-care are not acts of self-indulgence. They are acts of self-preservation and survival so that we are in a position to sacrifice when we are called by God to do so. Jesus didn’t walk around ragged and haggard meeting the needs of everyone he came in contact with. He said no. He took time to rest, to fellowship, to get away and spend time with the Lord. He created space for himself in the midst of walking in his calling and fulfilling his ministry. These moments of pause and respite were necessary to prepare him for the sacrifice that was to come. Many of us are sacrificing so much of ourselves, that when we get to the place of sacrifice that God has actually called us to, we have nothing left to give. And this is where many of us tap out. We simply run out of fuel. Self-care keeps the engine running and the gas tank full so we can run the race that has been marked out for us.
So, is self-care selfish? Absolutely not. It’s probably one of the most selfless things that you can do.
Used with Permission from Kristin Hemingway