One of the remaining weeks of the photography class I took over the summer focused on self care. The assignment was to do something for myself and, well, take a photo of it.
It was during this assignment I began to wrestle with the idea of “self care.” The world tells us mothers that we need to “take time for ourselves” and get some “alone time” away from our families, but what does that mean? And the question that’s been rolling around in my brain: Is self care Biblical? Surely if those of us mothers, along with countless others, get burnt out, there shouldn’t be something selfish or unbiblical about taking care of ourselves.
So I prayerfully did some thinking and research. After all, even Jesus needed to get away from the crowds sometimes, and He wasn’t seen as selfish. It makes me think that it really is okay to take care of myself.
What does the Bible say about taking care of ourselves?
We carry our own loads. Galatians 6:2-5 says that we must carry the burdens of others. I don’t think this means that we can’t carry our own, though. The call to carry others’ burdens is only if they need it. We have our own burdens to carry. The Message paraphrase says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (emphasis mine) We’re responsible for taking care of the life that God gave us.
Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others (Philippians 2:4). Is this verse implying that we can have our own interests? It’s okay to have our own interests as long as we don’t let them interfere with the needs of those around us (i.e. our spouses and children).
What brought this whole study about was the realisation that sometimes I’m selfish when it comes to my “personal time” in the mornings. If it gets interrupted, I’m not a happy camper. God has been showing me that it’s alright to take time for myself as long as I still serve my family and those around me when they need me to.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. So we should take care of them. When we take care of ourselves, we’re honouring God!
Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT
I have to confess that for awhile I felt guilty for wanting time for myself because it was taking me away from my family, which is my obligation. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! In fact, if we didn’t take care of ourselves, we’d be utterly useless to our families. As an introvert, I need that time away from my two wonderful kiddos (and sometimes my husband) to rejuvenate. It doesn’t mean I’m selfish, or that I don’t love them. And if they need me, I try with God’s grace to put them above my own.