Let’s consider what being a successful parent looks like. What is the ideal situation for kids when they turn 18 and leave home to start their lives? Most parents will answer that they want their kids to be independent – they want them to be able to handle situations on their own – figure problems out logically – and know what to do in a conflict. God expects the same for us as we grow as His children. Each one of us is expected to have strength and be independent….so that we can be stronger together and serve a truer purpose.
Self-care is one of the most important things to maintain in order to have strength. It also allows us to have healthy relationships. Imagine yourself as a large battery and pretend you have two terminals on the top of your head and several sockets on your sides, where people can plug into you for their own needs. You get fully charged as you carefully maintain those top terminals and stay regularly connected to God through them. As God recharges you daily, you in turn can relay that love to others. You can even put a sign on yourself that says “Plug into me. I’m here to show my love for you.”
However, if you carry resentment or anger with you to corrode your supply line to God or if you get busy with life or even too much time caring for others, then your battery supply goes down and you lose the connection. You soon become a dead battery and of no use to anyone.
Jesus gave us the greatest commandment to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. He also said to love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments give us the path to good self-care.
We are to value God above everything else. We are to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength….which means spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. God expects us to attend to our whole being.
Emotionally: usually most difficult to connect to and a lot of people go blank. Emotions are God’s information system because they inform us of our needs and deepest beliefs. When we have fear or grief, our body is trying to tell us something. Without our emotions, it’s like riding a bicycle on only one wheel.
Spiritually: prayer, Bible reading, involved in “church”, developing sensitivity to spiritual things
Mentally: good education, developing thinking skills, regular reading
Physically: regular exercise, eating right, getting enough rest
Self-care is not selfish. What do they tell you on airplanes about the oxygen mask? You always take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. A conscious adult is a better helper than an unconscious adult. As a mother of three children, though, it is VERY difficult to take a moment for myself or to recharge my battery. Eventually, I run myself ragged pleasing my little creatures, making them happy, and I start to feel sluggish. This sometimes leads to anxiety attacks or heightened frustration against my family or friends. That is not what God intends for me.
Good self-care blesses God. God feels blessed when we feel full. Jesus ordered his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). To be disciples for Christ we need to maintain the strength needed for our temple, our body.
We are God’s temple. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). No one has yet to find a bible verse that says “stay fatigued for Jesus!”
Pay balanced attention to all four parts: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically and you will be able to serve God, build better relationships with your spouse, nurture relationships with you friends and family, and allow people to plug into you as a disciple for Jesus.