Jul 06 2017

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Is Self-Care Godly? Knowing God’s priorities are transformative

Godly self-care

Is Self-Care Godly?

I look at my Fitbit. 50%, sweet. I’ve got lots of time before recharging. I go on my way. But when it gets below 10%, I start thinking about charging it. If it gets too low, it turns off and becomes useless, and I’m motivated to recharge it. There are lots of similarities between the Fitbit and me. We’re created, serve a purpose, and need to recharge. The Fitbit, however, can’t do anything to care for itself. It needs me. I, on the other hand, have responsibility to care for myself. But that sounds self-centered. Is self-care Biblical? If so, what is godly self-care?

What is godly self-care?

To be simple, self-care is taking responsibility for one’s own well-being. This applies to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. A self-care focused on self as the highest goal doesn’t align with Biblical priorities. Live longer, be happier, and achieve greatness get lots of press. When the Bible addresses these, however, the focus is not on self but on following God’s purposes and plans (see Ephesians 6:3; Matthew 5:3-12; Matthew 20:26). His plans aim much higher than a great, long, happy life. We can achieve God’s “much higher” plan for our lives through godly self-care.

My definition for godly self-care comes from Luke 10:42,

“but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

In the story, Martha was distracted (v. 40). Mary “was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word (v. 39).” Mary practiced Biblical (or godly) self-care.

Godly self-care is a choice to listen to and obey God’s word. This kind of self-care asks God,

  • “What’s important to you?”
  • “What do you want me to prioritize?”

Godly self-care requires an ongoing communication with God through the study of scripture, prayer, and the discipline of listening. Mary put herself in a posture of listening. Martha could’ve been in the same position too, but she approached Jesus with instruction rather than listening to him.

Imagine if…

What would’ve happened if Martha had come to Jesus . . . and joined her sister, sat at Jesus’ feet, and listened? She might’ve struggled to be still. But he could read her mind and knew how insane she felt inside. Wouldn’t he care for her and meet her deepest heart’s needs? Sitting and listening rather than serving was harder for her. But Jesus said only one thing was necessary, and listening to him was primary over all the service Martha could do.

Take away the complicated and busy

Living as God intended strips away the crazy go-go-go of our society and gives us his simple plan. There’s just one thing we need to do: listen. Ask him and listen.

  • “God, what’s important to you?”
  • “What are your priorities for me today?”

As best as we can, let’s strive to listen. The biggest teacher of God’s priorities is the Bible, so we can’t skimp on reading, studying, and meditation on his word. The harder part comes when our pride and control issues get exposed, and he asks us to let go. We’re easily addicted to impressive. But when we ask God, he gives us the right portion of work and rest.

We’re not a Fitbit.

God knows our “battery” level and when we need to recharge. We’d do well to follow his re-charge lead. As we follow God’s design of work and rest, we walk in godly self-care.

Sign up for the PARK Plan

If you’d like to find out how I approach asking him what’s important, sign up for my PARK Plan email series. PARK is an acronym for Pray Ask Rest Keep. After you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email taking you through each step of the PARK Plan.

Got Questions?

While I’ve spent thinking about godly self-care and applying this “ask and listen” principle to my life, I’m still on the journey of growing.

As you consider godly self-care, what questions do you have? What are your biggest struggles with self-care?


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