Let’s Keep Loving: The Case Against Too Much Self-Care
Self-care has become an idol for many of us. Don’t get me wrong: we absolutely need to care for ourselves. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Neglecting that temple would be wrong. So yes, we need to care for it. But more than that, we need to pour ourselves out in love and honor the call of the Holy Spirit.
I am the first to take time to binge watch on Netflix in the name of self-care. Make-up is a passion of mine. I can spend hours pouring over a book while my kitchen sits dirty. Neglecting myself is not something I’m likely to do. Neglecting those around me is.
I suspect I am not alone. We are constantly inundated with articles and magazines selling us the idea that we need to focus on ourselves more. But as Christians, we need to stop and filter everything we read through the lens of Scripture.
When I look at what God has instructed His people to do, caring for themselves to a point of excess isn’t at the top of the list. Caring for others is.
I don’t need to be reminded to take care of myself. By nature, I am incredibly selfish. Even on the best of days, when I am serving another, it is often just to boost the general opinion others have of me. I want to be known as a good, Christian woman. I want diligence, graciousness, and selflessness to be words flowing off of people’s tongues when asked about me, as long as it doesn’t cost me much.
Maybe you’re significantly more others-focused than I am but if I were to guess, I would imagine that there are many other people like me. People who, even on their best days, struggle to forget themselves for the sake of another.
But friends, we need to abandon ourselves in love.
John 15 tells us that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. That doesn’t sound like self-care, but rather self-abandonment. We are not promised an easy life, we are promised a life of self-sacrifice. We are told to take up our cross if we want to follow Jesus. That means that our life is marked by service to others.
I’m not saying we need to burn the candle at both ends until we fall over with exhaustion, but we do need to think about why we are doing what we are doing. Are we trying to serve ourselves, working to make ourselves more appealing, or are we side-stepping the spotlight as we give ourselves in service for another? My actions should constantly be pointing to the person of Christ, not how admirable I am. I should fade into the background and live my life daily as the hands and feet of Christ to those around me.
This isn’t something that just happens. It’s something I have to work towards and remind myself of daily. It’s something I fail in often. It’s easier to serve publicly than it is to actually sacrifice the time I want to spend simply serving my family. But when I put aside my book and spend time lavishly loving another, that’s when I act like Jesus and live out the calling He’s placed on my life.
So keep going, friend. Remember that God rested on the seventh day but worked the other six, and keep loving big. Serve your neighbor even when it costs you. Remember the love that was given for you on Calvary, remember the blood that was shed, and give of yourself in the same manner.
Renew your mind daily. Put aside the self-centered tendencies of the world and seek the sacrifice of Christ. Follow in His footsteps daily. He has promised to fill you with Himself time and time again.
Bailey Suzio’s journey started out in Michigan, where she grew up as the oldest of 10 (yes, ten) children, and has led her to Hawaii with her husband and their two dogs. In addition to her love for the Lord and her family, her great passions are coffee and collecting an exorbitant amount of books. Bailey has spent the last few years teaching and working with a local church. She writes at http://thethinplace.net/ about her life, faith, and infertility journey.