Self-Care Guilt and Shame.
Self-care gets a bad rap in many Christian circles. And that’s a problem because it leaves those who need to practice self-care the most feeling guilt-ridden when they set appropriate boundaries and actually prioritize themselves.
Instead of praising the Lord, those who do not practice self-care end up wondering “Lord, didn’t you promise me a life of peace and joy? What happened?”
As Christian women, we tend to think that we’re supposed to think of others before ourselves and give freely so as to avoid being self-centered. And if you’re a mom, go ahead and crank the guilt dial all the way up.
Christian Mom Guilt
I’m a mom and trust me, I get it.
Mom guilt does a great job keeping self-care far far away. In fact, I’ve actually convinced myself that I like my coffee lukewarm. #Denial.
But even before that I was addicted to people pleasing and I desperately wanted others to be happy. I was always wondering what I could do to make people change.
As a result of my chipper and optimistic attitude, I attracted a lot of glum people who seemed to thoroughly enjoy shooting down my little bubble of sunshine.
I felt like Mary Poppins in a sea of Eeyors.
Desperately trying to get everyone around me to look on the bright side.
Now, I know better.
As a life coach, I no longer feel the need to make anyone cheer up.
But I do help them to put things into perspective and choose their own emotions wisely. I teach them to use one of the most valuable and underappreciated gifts of God- The mind of Christ, to evaluate and make important decisions.
Today, I want to help you do the same.
And it begins by…
… Taking Responsibility.
First of all, taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions can be the difference between merely surviving and thriving
And, if you’re doing it properly, your self-care routine should ultimately bring you closer to God.
This is Self-Care
One of my daily rituals is getting up at 6:30 am to have coffee with Jesus. This is a habit that never feels good at 6:30. But, it’s a decision I made a long time ago and every morning I wake up and followthrough. And, by 7:00 am it feels much better. This is self-care.
Listen, too many Christians are afraid of self-care. They think it makes them selfish. That if they do anything for themselves, they’re not letting God do it.
As a parent, it is extremely important to me that my children learn to do things for themselves. As soon as possible, I leave them to button their own jackets and carry their own backpack.
Sure, I could do it for them, but then they wouldn’t learn. They are powerful and capable and I want them to know that.
God wants the same for us.
Too often we become passive and expect God to do everything for us. We use cliches like, if it’s meant to be, God will make a way.
He doesn’t need to make a way. He made a way, and the way is JESUS. And YOU are expected to do all things through Him.
Jesus is the way.
This means we need to take responsibility for the things we are capable of. God’s not going to give you a miracle when you’re perfectly capable of doing something for yourself. God is not an enabler of laziness. In fact, most lazy people in the Bible are referred to as wicked and slothful.
And, if you’re praying for God to remove all the stress and problems from your life, that’s a bad prayer. Because you’re capable of dealing with 95% of the problems in your life, and if you would take responsibility for those issues and work on them, you would grow.
Self-Care Enables You To Grow
They say that if you try to help a baby chick hatch you’re killing it. It needs to work its way out of the shell in order to survive. Too often we are crying for God to take us out of our shell, or hard place, but God knows it’s good for us. His grace is sufficient. You don’t need a miracle, you need determination.If you try to help a baby chick hatch you're killing it. It needs to work its way out of the shell in order to survive. Too often we're crying for God to take us out of our shell, our hard place, but God knows You don't need a… Click To Tweet
God put us on earth to have dominion. That means we are here as stewards of the world around us. But our primary responsibility is ourselves. And here’s why; You Can’t Control other people.
You’re struggling to control yourself. You’re overwhelmed with temptations and urges. Why not work on those first.
As Jesus said, remove the log from your own eye.
That, my friends, is self-care!
First of all, God gave us this body and this life, and we can honor Him by taking care of ourselves. This starts with accepting salvation, but it doesn’t end there.
As Christians we have a crucial role to play in the world, we are ambassadors of the One True KING.
That means, when we fail to take care of ourselves we are doing a disservice to the Kingdom of God. We need to be ready and able to show up. As Christians, we need to be fit for the call. We are called to love the Lord God with ALL our mind, With ALL our strength and with ALL our soul. We can’t do that when we are exhausted and miserable.
The Temple of God
Self-care should be done with the same reverence Solomon showed for the temple of God. Because that’s what we are, The temple of the God, we are the living breathing house of the Holy Spirit.
When Solomon was building the temple of God, he spared no expense. He invested in all the best building material. Gold, Silver, Bronze, Ceder, and Gemstones in abundance. They used so many precious metals, they just stopped counting!
But how many of us as Christians survive on the scraps of life. We purchase cheap processed food and wonder why we are exhausted, and we judge the people spending 5x more at whole foods.
We judge them with self-righteous thoughts like; “they could have given half that food budget to the poor. There are children starving in Africa”.
But let’s be clear, the people who are really helping starving kids in Africa, are the ones who know how to make themselves extremely useful. They intentionally improve themselves, grow their businesses and don’t just donate $12 to the food bank. They put together a 12 million dollar initiatives to feed the world.
We all know the airplane announcement, that we must remember to put our own mask on before we try to help others. Never underestimate the importance of this! It’s true in the air, and it’s true in your day to day life as well.
You’re Not Their Saviour
Because you are not the savior, and when you turn yourself into a martyr, you’re doing those around you a disservice. If you really care about them and you really want to help, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.When you turn yourself into a martyr, you're doing those around you a disservice. If you really care about them and you really want to help, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Click To Tweet
Too many pastors and ministers and Church ladies forget this. They give up all their time and then are exhausted and resentful. They sacrifice too much and burn out. Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience comes from a place of love and respect. Its an act of trust that says I believe you have my best interest at heart.
Sacrifice comes from a place of fear and lack. It’s the voice in your head that says “Do it or else”.
In an effort to be more like Mary by spending time in the presence of God, we have inevitably turned ourselves into Martha. Somewhere in the midst of Church activities and good turns, we look in the mirror and Mary sees Martha looking back at her.Somewhere in the midst of Church activities and good turns, we look in the mirror and Mary sees Martha staring back at her. Click To Tweet
Self-Care as Worship
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Self -care can and should be an act of reverence. Dare I say an act of worship. To slow down and appreciate what God has done for us, and to prepare ourselves to do what God has given us the ability to do.
When taking care of ourselves, we can fulfill Jesus’s primary command, to love others as ourselves. Because self-care means you stop hating yourself. And if God loves you, what right do you have to hate yourself?
Does this make sense to you?
Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
If you’ve got hang-ups and guilt around self-care I’d love to hear about them. Share your stories of guilt or go ahead and brag about something you’re doing to honor God by taking care of you.
One of the Best Ways to practice self-care is by asking for help.
If you’re struggling to care for yourself, book a free coaching call Today.