Cultivating Care for Christians

Recently, I read a blog post condemning “self-care” for Christians, as though self-care is negative thing for believers. Someone even went so far as to comment that she cringes when she hears Christians talk about self-care. It’s been weighing on me because I disagree, believing it to be not only beneficial, but vital to our health.

Self-care is a three-pronged approach. It includes nourishing the body, mind, and soul. Creating a daily routine that helps us to nurture each aspect is key. And when self-care is approached in the right manner, with intention, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Our physical, mental, and spiritual selves need to be tended to.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

When it comes to our physical bodies, taking time out to exercise our temples and keep them healthy is essential. For those with chronic health conditions such as myself, even five or ten minutes of walking or light stretching can be have positive benefits. And, cooking a meal with fresh whole foods that provide nutrients for our bodies is another way to care for ourselves physically. We can honor God with the choices we make when it comes to caring for our bodies, as well as our minds.

Pausing to feed our minds and souls daily with God’s Word is also critical, as is sitting with Jesus and meditating on His word. We need His food on a daily basis to not only sustain us, but to thrive. This is how he prunes us and allows fruit to grow in our lives, helping us to blossom into healthier selves.

Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. -John 6:35

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” -Matthew 4:4

In order to flourish, we need balance, which means we need to take time to enjoy life and not just work. God wants us to delight in our lives. This means we can take time out of our day to partake in a hobby that is fun and that we find enjoyable, without letting all the “should’s” take over. I should be doing __________________ (fill in the blank) instead. That hobby may be gardening, fishing, or it may be something artistic.

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 8:15

For some, creativity as self-care can be a challenge. It can get pushed aside or blocked for a number of reasons. This is something I personally struggle with. If being creative lights your fire, making time to create without guilt is crucial. Our God is a creative God who created the universe, and we are made in His image. Creativity is an excellent form of self-care and self-expression that can be used to rejuvenate and incite passion that can then be used to glorify God. The word “created” is used three times just in this one Bible verse alone:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27

It seems that maybe it’s the “self” part of self-care that is the concern of some, however, self-care doesn’t need to be all about us. In fact, it should include God because He desires a relationship with us and for us to us to dwell in His presence. We can take care of ourselves, while being in tune with God as we engage in those activities. And if we are intentional, sharing space with God while doing self-care, we can grow in our relationship with Him at the same time! So, let’s find ways to nurture each part of us, while making sure to include God each step of the way. Taking care of and loving ourselves, not only refreshes us, but it helps us to love and better serve others.

And because I’m a lover of lists, I’ve provided you with a free printable so you can start a daily self-care routine with God.

Quiet My Soul, Lord

Fear, Fear, it’s everywhere

Slips in without me aware

The cycle is endless

The constant fear, chronic stress

The rival won’t stand down

Fired shots in this battleground

A tight grip on my heart

I can’t pry the grasp apart

My stomach’s all a knot

Just too many anxious thoughts

Round and round in my mind

Until I cannot unwind

The fear it keeps me stuck

Continued struggles to trust

You say “Don’t be afraid”

Please Father, come to my aid.

Lord, take it all from me

So in your hands it will be

Help me to rest in you

I need to sleep before two

Give me your peace and calm

Speak your Words of soothing balm

Quiet my soul, Lord, please

I’m begging you on my knees

You say your yoke is light

Show me a little more bright

Why am I so afraid?

In Your image I was made

Please take this dark gray cloud

Hanging over me too loud

Why can’t I just let go?

Surrender, so I can glow

Shower me from up above

Then I can shine Your sweet love

© 2021 Aimee Phillippi

*This was a poem I wrote in the middle of the night in November of last year, when I was struggling with fear and anxiety. It often comes in waves, but is diminishing the more I learn to trust Him in all areas of my life.