Self-care has become a buzzword the last couple of years. With people feeling overwhelmed because of the pandemic and the pressures of life weighing them down, they have looked for relief, rest and restoration in the middle of exhaustion. As Christians, we must consider what we should do with the topic of self-care.
There are many different forms of self-care, and I have heard many suggestions for taking care of yourself—from walks in the woods, to journaling, to breathing exercises, to coloring in coloring books. Should Christians be looking to these types of things to find rest and relief? Shouldn’t we be looking to God for our healing and restoration?
Yes, we should definitely be looking to God for our relief and recharge. Jesus told us, “‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 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).
I believe our approach to self-care is what makes all the difference. It’s not the specific things we do to recharge. We all are wired differently, and different things bring refresh and recharge.
For me, a coloring book is probably not going to get it done. But give me a good book or a good movie that I can get lost in, and I will reemerge refreshed and ready to give back.
Jesus also taught us, “‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Matthew 5:13).
We can lose our saltiness. Any person who has tried to walk the Christian life for any length of time has found this out. We can get tired of serving and burnt out by the ministry we are called to provide in the name of Christ. This is not a minor issue. We need to know how to combat burnout.
We find our strength and our restoration in Jesus. We find refreshment by reading His Word. And in His Word, we see Jesus pulling away to recharge and reconnect with His Father before serving others. We must follow His example to take time to rest so that we can be ready to serve others and bring Jesus’ love to the world.
Christians are to work in a partnership with God. We are called to serve God and be good stewards of what He has given us. Being a good steward means we take care of our whole selves so that we can take care of others. If we neglect ourselves, we actually impede our ability to help others.
I desire to be salt in this world. I want to make an impact with my life. I want to serve others and give others what I have been given. But I know that I can easily lose my saltiness if I am not taking care of myself and then I am good for nothing.
I have learned that it is dangerous for me when I am exhausted. I am capable of making very bad decisions when I am exhausted. I must be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me, and that includes taking care of myself.
As long as I approach self-care with this in mind, I can remain salty, in a healthy place, and ready to serve.
Dave Spruell leads the Care Ministry at Southeast Christian Church.