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Ministry, Purpose, Self-Care

What is Self-Care?

In today’s world there’s so much talk of self-care. Maybewhen you hear self-care you think of some physical discipline to better yourdays: getting to bed at a good time, exercising often, eating the right foods,etc. Maybe you think of things that help you de-stress and refill your bucket:taking a bath, reading a book, going for a run, or eating some chocolate. Ormaybe you think self-care sounds selfishwhen you consider the others around you and the care they require.

Certainly, taking care of ourselves is good for us. But whatis the problem with how the world tells us to prioritize self-care? What doesGod’s Word have to say about it? Is there even a place for it in a life livedfor Christ? And if so, where do we start?

What’s the problemwith “self-care”?

Whatever our notions are about self-care, I think we wouldall agree that at some point or another the self-care tips, blogs, Pinterestpages, and “treat yourself” encouragements fall short. Why is that?

Self-care is temporary and unsatisfying.

As women, we often turn to self-care whenwe are feeling especially exhausted or worn out after a long day, week, orseason. While the quiet, peace, rest, or refreshment of something that we do iscomforting, we know it won’t last. We’ll end up tired or stressed or worn-outagain, and we’ll come crawling back to something temporary to fix it.

Self-care is more like a bandaid then a true solution.

The things we do for self-care don’t typically fix anything; they just make us feel better for a time. I’ve found that just doing something relaxing or rejuvenating doesn’t mean I’m really taking care of myself. Instead, I’m avoiding the things that actually need care and attention by telling myself “you need a break” or “you deserve this”.

Self-care persuades us that we are the best and only ones to care for ourselves.

Self-care literally means takingcare of ourselves. The danger of self-care is not in doing good things thatmeet our needs, it’s in thinking that it’s all up to us to meet our own needs.It can be isolating, it can be prideful, and it can be selfish. Many of theself-care practices we participate in are not wrong in themselves, but they’renot done in a spirit of vulnerability with others or in a spirit of reliance onthe Lord.

Self-care can make us the center of our world.

When we become fixated on being our bestselves or living our best life, then we are living with ourselves at thecenter. While many things we do for self-care are good for us, the idolizationof them makes us full of ourselves.

What does God’s Wordtell us is true?

If self-care is temporary and unsatisfying, then what islasting and fulfilling? If it is just a bandaid then what’s the real solution?Where do we go and what do we do when we’re feeling worn and weary? How do weknow our needs will be met? What should our mindset and heart posture be? God’sWord is clear.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good…for those who fear him lack nothing…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”—Psalm 34:8-10

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”—2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”—Psalm 90:14

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28-30

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”—Romans 8:32

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”—Galatians 2:20

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”—Philippians 2:3

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”—Psalm 119:105

Is there a place forself-care?

Every need we have is met in Jesus. Every question our soulsearches for is answered in Him. If we know that we have been crucified and nowlive for Christ, if we know we are to humble ourselves and to consider othersas better than ourselves, then is there any need or room for self-care? Asleaders, we know that if we’re not doing well, then we can’t take good care ofthose who have been entrusted to us.

The problem with the self-care anecdotes of the world isthat they aren’t getting to the heart. When I feel the most tired, frustrated,stressed, anxious, worn-down, and out of sorts, I find that I’m most in need ofa heart check. David, the man after God’s own heart, cried out to the Lord,“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm51:10). He cried out for a right heart and a renewed spirit. More than bettercare for our bodies and minds, what we really need is better awareness of whereour hearts are.

Where do we need tostart?

Let’s start with our hearts, and to start with our heartsmeans we need to know where our hearts are. As women and as leaders, we’re goodat asking other people questions (How was your day? How are you feeling? Whatare your plans?). We often neglect asking ourselves the questions that ourhearts need to answer. Here are a few to start:

  1. How is my reliance on the gospel?

  2. How is my prayer?

  3. How is my time in the Word?

  4. How is my worship?

  5. How is my patience with others and compassion toward others?

  6. Are my actions bringing glory to God?

  7. What fruit of the Spirit do I see growing in my life?

  8. What am I trusting God for?

  9. What am I thanking God for?

  10. Who am I sharing Christ with?

Instead of running to temporary bandaid cover-ups for ourdeep heart needs, let’s first turn to His Word and the truth it brings to mind.Let’s be women with hearts that run to Him in need. Let’s be women that knowthe best care for ourselves is the daily meeting with our Father. Let’s bewomen that cry out as David did, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test meand know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and leadme in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.TM


Melonie Wagner has the joy of serving full time on staff as the Student Ministry Associate at First Baptist Mt. Juliet in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Her passion is to see girls come to know and love Jesus Christ through the local church. As a born and raised Tennessean, Melonie enjoys all things outdoors, the coziness of a good book, and quality time with her people. Connect with Melonie: Instagram.