Does God Really Care about Self-Care?

photo cred:  https://unsplash.com/@rpnickson

My friend Danielle and I were recently chatting on Instagram about wellness. I had posed the question, “Does God really care about our self-care?” Danielle, who has been on her own beautiful journey toward personal wellness, had a sage response. She shared,

I think wellness is SUPER important to God. We weren’t meant to live in a world of diet culture, frenzied pace, and limiting beliefs, those are all result of the fall. When we are caught up in all those things we lose sight of what matters most—our relationship with our Creator. Not to mention how much those things take away from our joy and our ability to take care of everyone around us. . . . I’m not saying that we as women should just join the “selfish self care” trend that is happening right now. However, in my opinion, it is vital that you take a few minutes every day to take care of yourself. Do some soul care.

Everyone needs a friend like Danielle. We can pull so much truth from her statements, but two things really stood out to me:

  1. There is a huge difference between self-care and selfish care.

  2. We as Christians should view self-care as soul care.

I’ve been reflecting on these thoughts about wellness a bit more this week—especially in how they relate to finding God in our daily lives. And here’s what I’ve been learning.

Knowing the Difference: Self-Care vs. Selfish Care

Just how can we know when we’ve crossed over from self-care into selfish care? The “line” can often seems hazy, and I have a suspicion it’s not the same for all women. All of us are built differently—different personalities, needs, interests, abilities, and thresholds for stress (just to mention a few). What’s draining to one person may be energizing to another. So how can we determine what’s self-care and what’s just straight-up selfish?

To answer this question for myself, I had to back up a bit. I needed a broader perspective. The more I thought about it and asked God some questions, the clearer the difference between self-care and selfish care became.

Selfish care says…

  • I don’t want to suffer or do hard things (Heb. 6:11-12).

  • “My time” is top priority, even if it comes at the expense of others (James 3:16).

  • I’m not going to rely on others or God (Prov. 3:5-6).

Self-care says…

  • I need to develop habits that help me do hard things (Rom. 5:2-4).

  • I take care of myself so I can better serve God and others (Luke 10:27-28, Phil. 2:3).

  • I am not enough; I need to let God and others fill in the gaps (Acts 2:42-27, Rom. 12:3-8).

Self-care certainly is not wrong. In fact, I think God made it pretty clear that “the renewing of your mind” is an important part of finding God in everyday life (Rom. 12:2), and clearing your head of clutter is hard to do without rest. Even Jesus spent time in solitude—sleeping, praying, or just being with his closest family or friends. In His last hours, He knew that time with God and His disciples would give Him the strength He needed to do what God asked Him to do (Matt. 26:36-46).

The difference between self-care and selfish care seems to whittle down to our motivations. Are we in it for ourselves alone—indulgence for indulgence’s sake—or do we view it as a means to see God clearer and love better?

Tending Our Humanity: Soul Care

Perhaps we need to view self-care more as soul care. God created us to be complex, multifaceted beings. Think about all that makes you “you”—the physical, mental, emotional, cultural, financial, intellectual, spiritual, social, and purpose-filled pieces of yourself. You are complex and unique, and even more than that, each part of you is interconnected, influencing how you view not only yourself, but also God and others.

So doesn’t it make sense to tend our souls well?

If finding God in our everyday lives is our aim, no matter what that particular day throws at us, then we must find ways to cultivate our souls and our senses to see Him. We must make space for self-care not for the sake of self, but in order to remove the blinders of self and gaze at His brilliance. We must store up in abundance to prepare for the drought. And then, on that day when everything feels hard, we can lean into Him, knowing that our souls are safe in His hands.

Call it what you want—self-care, soul care, or holistic living—but we cannot deny that being good stewards of our humanity is important to God. So I’m thinking it should be important to us as well.

Self-care will look different for each of us. For me, a known introvert, taking a bubble bath most nights out of the week, so that I can slow down, read, be alone, and refocus my mind, is just one way I tend my soul. For you, it might mean taking a jog, changing your diet, seeing a counselor, creating a budget, having lunch with a friend, taking a nap, or joining a Bible study.

Whatever it is, whatever will help us renew our minds and prepare us to do the things God asks us to do, then LET’S DO IT. If God cares about our soul care, then good glory, so should we.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

—Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)