I’ve disliked the terms self care and self love ever since they became popular buzzwords in the last couple of years. I don’t know where it came from, but suddenly, out of nowhere, the internet was obsessed with this idea of ‘self care.’
A quick Pinterest search gives you:
- A 30-day self care challenge
- 50 ways to practice self care
- Self care for busy women
- Ideas for practicing physical, mental, and emotional self-care
- Your self care routine
- Self care ideas for frugal people
- How to make a self care kit
And on and on. This idea has exploded, and honestly, I’ve found it pretty annoying. It’s a term that makes me roll my eyes and keep scrolling, wondering, why is everyone so obsessed with themselves, meeting their own needs and keeping themselves happy? Isn’t that pretty self-centered?
Until this summer.
I still question the validity of a “self care kit” or a “self care challenge,” but in the last few weeks, I’ve discovered the value of caring for my own physical, mental, and emotional health – even when it seems like I should be doing something else.
For me, in this summer camp ministry season, it looks like:
- Going to my apartment and making a smoothie for lunch instead of eating at the Dining Hall.
- Sleeping in and having breakfast at home with Brett on Saturdays, before going to the office for the day… even though I know the other office lady is probably there working earlier.
- Shutting off the computer and spending a few minutes decompressing before bed, though I still have so much work to do.
- Not allowing myself to feel guilty for going home and having a quiet time instead of attending the kids’ chapel service.
In the setting of full-time ministry, we are so programmed to give give give, all the time. To constantly be denying ourselves and doing more. That work trumps rest, and being exhausted means you’re serving well.
This summer, I have realized that – although denying ourselves to serve others is absolutely Biblical and Christlike – it is also absolutely necessary to take time to care for ourselves. Even Jesus exemplified this when He stole away to the mountains to pray and be away from the crowds.
So though I have spent the last year or two rolling my eyes at the “self care” trend, suddenly, I think I’ve discovered its value and what it means for me in this season of life. Not something selfish, not a “kit” with tea and candles and a face mask, not an excuse to push others way and only satisfy myself. Instead, it’s more of a mindset – training myself to keep my cup filled. Remembering that it’s okay to say no. Making the choice to keep myself healthy, so that I can continue being effective in my work and ministry.
Because if I’m unhealthy and miserable in my service, is God really being glorified?
But if I’m healthy and able to serve Him whole-heartedly, then He shines brightly in my life. And that’s the whole goal.