Throughout Scripture we see God take a keen interest in humans being kind to themselves and compassionate to one other. It comes out clearly with Jesus when he tells us that to love others well means we first know what it means to love ourselves well (Matt 22:37-39). It’s normalized to deny your own needs so you can care for others in the church, but that creates a cavernous and hollow person. We are made in God’s image and we’re wired to care for ourselves and seek to become healthier people spiritually, emotionally, and physically (1 Cor 6:19-20; 3 John 1:2).
Putting it into practice
In order to be full people who love God and love others, it’s essential that we love ourselves too. Otherwise we’re hollow and cavernous. Parker Palmer writes, “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to our true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
To help you seek health, take some time one evening this week to reflect on these questions. Even if you’re not much for journaling, it might help to sit down at a desk or table with a pen and a notebook to write your reflections.
Before you begin reflecting on these questions, sit quietly for a few moments. Listen to the sounds around you. Observe your breathing. Choose presence.
What do you feel? What do you need right now?
Think back on your day. Walk through the day moment-by-moment. As you reflect on your day or week, what’s catching your attention? What filled you with life and energy? What drained you of life and energy?
Imagine tomorrow. What can you do tomorrow to care for yourself? What do you need to gift yourself with this?
Ask God to help you love Him, love you, and love others. If you need help from someone as you seek health, reach out to them and voice your need(s).