The concept of self-care is trendier than bell bottom jeans were in the 80s these days. Seriously. It feels like every brand, every celebrity, and every women’s self-help book is talking about it. But, what is the truth about self-care?
From taking time to #treatyoself, to spending money on makeup, bath bombs, and streaming services, self-care is often sold as the “key” to happiness, wellness, and preservation as a woman in the 21st century.
When I first heard about it, I fell in love with the concept. I loved the focus on listening to my own needs and making sure I felt good. As a Christian woman, though, I sometimes felt conflicted, and even guilty about the concept of self-care.
Should I be focusing a lot of time and attention on myself? Is self-care biblical? As a Christian woman, how should I view myself? Is self-care vanity? These are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind and troubled my spirit the more I consumed mainstream content about self-care.
For some reason, whenever something becomes super mainstream, I become a little weary. Not that things or concepts that gain popularity are innately bad. They’re not. But, as Christians in this world, the Bible tells us not to be conformed to this world, and to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (James 12:2).
I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me about self-care and to give me discernment to see it with a Godly, heavenly perspective.
This is what I discovered.
Self-care isn’t the solution to low self-esteem, low self-worth, or confidence.
Many people look to self-care as a medium to save them from challenges like low confidence, low self-worth, or low self-esteem. Some think it is the key to feeling good about themselves and to “glowing up.”
Making the decision to be kind to yourself and to prioritize taking care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is a great move. But, it’s not the salve for deep wounds connected to identity or worthiness. That salve is Jesus. As Christian women, the truth of God’s word and our connection to Jesus, the King of Kings, is what allows us to step into the “glow” that comes from resting in God’s love for us.
Self-care can be a tool to help us be good stewards of the bodies, relationships, and mind God has given us. But, we should be careful not to look to it in situations where we need to be looking to God’s word and his Holy Spirit.
Boundaries aren’t as sexy as bubble baths, but they’re at the heart of self-care.
Self-care isn’t always cute. It isn’t always sexy. Sometimes, it’s messy, difficult and down right hard. Why? Because, setting boundaries can be messy, difficult, and down right hard.
In Psalm 1, the Bible tells us this,
1 Blessed is the man (or woman) who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his(or her) delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he (or she) meditates day and night.
3 He (or she) is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he (or she) does, he (or she) prospers.
In verse 1, we see the Psalmist describing someone setting boundaries and choosing not to listen to certain counsel, walk in certain paths, or sit in certain “seats.”
The Psalmist goes on to say that the person who sets these boundaries and delights in God’s word will yield fruit and blossom as they stay connected to the true Vine. True self-care means choosing to prioritize the things that God prioritizes and knowing when and what to say no to.
It means recognizing when we’re overcommitted so we can make the adjustment to reprioritize God. It means setting boundaries with our thoughts and casting down those that aren’t aligned with what God tells us about ourselves.
For example, God’s word tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So, the next time our mind tries to tell us we’re ugly or unattractive, or unworthy, we can fight with the truth that God calls us his masterpieces and chose us to be a part of his family.
Self-care is incomplete without spiritual health and growth.
It’s a great thing to be able to slay your makeup. But, how is your spirit? Going shopping to find clothes that make you feel beautiful is awesome. But, are you letting God purify and beautify you through the fruit of the spirit?
Sisters, there is nothing wrong with pampering yourself or investing time and money into beautifying. After all, our spiritual sister Esther went through a whole year of beauty treatments to prepare to meet King Xerxes in Esther chapter 2.
Just don’t neglect your spiritual health and growth. 1 Timothy 4:8 tells us that godliness is more profitable than bodily exercise. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of our bodies. It just highlights that spiritual growth and godliness takes priority in God’s kingdom. It is a reminder that the things of this world, including our bodies, are temporary. But, God’s word, God’s ways, and God’s priorities are forever.
We can’t afford to have our priorities misaligned. Spiritual health is central to glowing up mentally, emotionally and physically.
So, what does self-care for Christian women look like?
I believe that self-care for Christian women means cultivating a deep honor and respect for yourself, your time and your divine purpose.
God gave us a mission and he weaved purpose into the very fabric of our being. He doesn’t want us to waste time hating, doubting, or neglecting ourselves.
I believe he wants us to be bold, beautiful, courageous, strong, and Spirit-filled to accomplish his purposes for us in the Earth. Is he cool with us looking good doing it? Absolutely. Is he proud when he sees us caring for our bodies because we understand they’re the temple of the Lord? Absolutely.
Let’s just take care of ourselves in a way that honors God’s truth – that he is Alpha and Omega, that we are his children, and that staying connected to him as the true vine is the ultimate form of self-care.