“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2.)
In Christian circles, there’s a lot of talk about dying to one’s own needs to grow in virtues like selflessness, generosity, helpfulness, and loyalty. However, taking care of oneself is frequently disregarded. After all, when someone is in need, God values our “yes” much more than our “no.” To get a better understanding of self-care, let’s go to the Bible.
The Bible does show us how vital our bodily and mental well-being is. Since Moses’ day in the Old Testament, God has given us instructions for maintaining healthy bodies and minds. God values sleep and urges us to tend to our bodies (Ex. 34:21; Heb. 4:3–4, Ex. 22:26-27). Jesus regarded restful sleep as very important. “But as they sailed he fell asleep…And they came to him and awoke him…” (Luke 8:23-24).
He told the disciples to; “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31). Perhaps we can learn something from Jesus’ words of wisdom to his disciples by accepting our dependence on others and the necessity of actively tending to our physical and mental health.
You may be wondering, “Why is this so crucial?”
I’ve met many strong, devoted, and influential believers who are under the impression that God doesn’t care about how they care for their bodies. They have believed for a long time that they are the last ones to receive help because it is the moral thing to do. Unwittingly, via lectures and examples, some churches frequently teach their members that putting their own needs first is evil and selfish. This common belief, if put into effect, may lead to emotional distress, mental illness, and exhaustion at home and in the workplace. “…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” (Matthew 22:38)
However, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to persuade you to put yourself first and think the world revolves around you alone. To that end, I’d want to stress the importance of understanding and accepting that God desires us to tend to our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational needs. 3 John 1:2. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
There is no contradiction between caring for oneself and helping others. In my opinion, some Christians assume a lot when it comes to this concept. Because we strive for altruism and avoid selfishness, we end up caring about ourselves less and less. Misrepresenting the Bible is nothing new, so it’s no surprise that the enemy has been using it to discredit the concept of self-care. As a result, some believers today seldom, if ever, practice self-care. Our ineffectiveness for God’s objectives and His kingdom increases as a result.
” Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
When we give someone a gift, we try to select something they will enjoy rather than something that is broken or worn out. When Jesus tells us to love God with everything that we’ve got, he’s asking us to offer Him all that we are. Not a lot of material things, but rather your whole, undivided self, is what he says makes for the finest gift. To do this, we put up our whole effort, which includes prioritizing my health and comfort. Getting enough sleep is an essential part of loving well. When we take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits regularly, we have more love to share with others.
“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she helps me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:” (Luke 10:40-41)
A key part of Mary’s experience, as described in this passage, was sitting at Jesus’ feet and enjoying His presence. What does it seem like to you? It simply means making time for ourselves to be alone with God. Some people get their creative juices flowing by reading; others by watching a movie; and yet others by taking themselves out on a date and writing down their thoughts. Don’t you think you need to start by praying, “Lord, please show me how to take care of myself and the people around me”
Taking time off for yourself may be surprisingly difficult in some circumstances, most especially if you are a very busy believer. Due to your ingrained sense of urgency, slowing down may seem incongruous. We could fear that others would see us as self-centered or sluggish, and we could feel bad or sorry about feeling guilty. Mary may have shown a lot of courage by taking a rest while Martha labored. However, she decided to follow God’s lead instead of worrying about what other people might say.
The question is, where do I even start?
Luke 5:16 “However, Jesus often withdrew to quiet places to pray.”
Putting some sane constraints on the seemingly insane situations, because Jesus possessed this quality, we do, too. Yes, he often found himself in the company of individuals in need, and he was always willing to give freely of what he had to help them. Despite this, he “frequently withdrew” from the crowds to pray in solitude. To say “yes” to what the Father was calling him to, he had to say “no” to what was happening at that moment. Does it make him seem heartless and self-centered to you? Not! To feel refreshed and ready for the journey ahead, he knew exactly what he needed to do to restore his relationship with his father.
Soon, you should get cozy with a mug of chocolate, a blanket, and a Bible. In this new year, if you are unable to attend the church event because you went on a personal retreat, please do not feel guilty. Create a routine that allows you to recharge your batteries, whether it’s once a month, once in three months, or something else entirely. We may all benefit from some quiet time for reflection and revitalization.
Take time each day to focus on God and your physical health. Developing a relationship and growing in faith will lead to better physical and mental health. Always keep in mind that staying healthy is highly needed to serve the heavenly better. Shalom!
I hope you have been blessed through this piece, let’s continue the conversation in the comment section. Cheers!