How Christians Should View Self-Care

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Would you run a marathon on an empty stomach? Would you drive cross-country after staying awake for 36 hours straight? Would you go on a spending spree with $2 in your bank account? Think these questions have obvious answers? Then let’s do one more: would you keep pushing forward like nothing is wrong while your body, mind, and soul are screaming for a reprieve?

Self-care is a trendy topic and can also be somewhat controversial. Like many other topics buzzing among Christians, we wanted to lend our own voice to the conversation. We entered the topic with our July podcast episode with Beth McCord, known as Your Enneagram Coach. Self-care is a deeply personal practice, so in order to ensure you’re choosing the most beneficial self-care, you should know what makes you tick. Beth walked through the nine Enneagram types and offered her insight into self-care that could benefit each type.

Jane McGrath, a 4word: Philadelphia leader and inspirational woman, shared her story of adjusting to her husband’s sudden change in health and how she had to take on the mantle of breadwinner. While juggling going back to school, reentering the workforce, raising her children, and caring for her husband, Jane quickly learned that she couldn’t expect herself to be everything those around her needed if she neglected to set aside intentional time for herself periodically. Jane ended her story with an encouragement to always be careful to align your self-care with God.

“Be careful to look at self-care from a biblical lens and not the world’s lens. There are boatloads of self-care ideas online yet without a keen biblical lens, we can become out of alignment from Christ’s example.”

Jane McGrath

A big part of people’s aversion to self-care is feeling guilty about taking time for themselves. Some may even go as far as to say that self-care isn’t Biblical. Christy Baca guest-wrote on the 4word blog with her personal experience of putting off self-care until it was too late. She shared that guilt was the main reason for not acknowledging her need for rest. Christy’s advice to other’s feeling guilty about needing self-care: God created you and knows what you need to operate to the best of your human abilities, and prepared the work that would fit your life. The only way you can live a life that honors God’s plan is by giving your temple the care it requires to be on fire for God.

“The truth is that God is bigger than you and bigger than the guilt you may feel for taking care of yourself. Read that again. God is bigger than the guilt you feel for taking care of yourself.

Christy baca

We couldn’t have a conversation advocating self-care if we didn’t practice what we were preaching, so the 4word team shared what each of us makes time for in our lives. While we are all different and each participate in different forms of self-care, the end result is the same: we all come away with renewed souls and invigorated drives to continue the work we are doing at 4word. If you’re wondering where to start looking for self-care inspiration, take a peek at the practices we shared!

“Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:4 NIV

No matter which self-care practice you end up with, there is one goal that all self-care should have in common: to prepare you for deeper, richer service to the Lord. He loves when we are at peace and are open-hearted to the things He has for our lives. When we allow our lives to own our hearts and define “progress” as running ourselves ragged, our souls are likely depleted. Let go of the guilt, stop making excuses, and don’t overthink it. Ask God to open your eyes to something that will truly calm your spirit and renew your physical body, so that you may draw close to Him and be an immensely more effective child of God.