“You need to take better care of yourself?”
“Exercise a little self-care and you will feel better.”
Do you take this advice or do you feel uncomfortable focusing on yourself?
For help with a healthy perspective on self-care, let’s look to the life of Jesus while on earth. While He was fully God, He was also fully man and had a physical body to care for while completing his ministry.
Fuller professor, Dr. Siang-Yang Tan offers this,
“In the midst of his busy ministry, meeting the needs of many people, Jesus regularly took time off to be in solitude and to pray, to be in communion with the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit”
Jesus stayed strong by exercising self-care in the middle of his ministry life. He understood the importance of rest and time alone with the Father.
Professor Tan suggests these a number of self-care strategies modeled and given to us by Christ. We talk about them on our show but here is a sampling of a few:
Abide in Christ. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) The vine is Jesus and we are the branches. The more connected and dependent we are on Christ, the more fruit we bear. So your first strategy of self-care it to be connected to the vine.
Surrender all to Him. Make Him Lord of your life. Surrender brings focus to our lives. It puts all our efforts into seeking God and allowing Him to guide us. That focus takes us away from our selfish desires. The tendency to focus on self will lessen as we surrender all to Him.
Take time for solitude and silence-in today’s busy world, this is often difficult but necessary to recharge. Even Jesus rested! Yet, rest is difficult for so many of us because of our lack of practice being quiet and listening. To be still and know is a a practiced skill of rest and silence.
Simplify your life as much as possible. This will lessen your stress. When we lose the clutter, and remove the distractions, our focus on the things of God will improve and give direction but also bring peace.
There are times in the Christian life in which God calls us to sacrifice our time, be good stewards of His gifts and talents and perhaps even suffer. We may get “out of balance” in the terms of our self-care. During those times, we trust to sustain us and work give us what we need. After all, God’s care is what matters most.