18 Jun Self Care for Christian Moms
Self-care is something that is all the rage right now. Is it hype? Is it a necessity? How do Christian moms handle self-care? Let’s look at the pros and cons of self-care.
Isn’t Self-Care Selfish?
On one side of the argument you’ll hear things like: Aren’t Christians supposed to be selfless? What about denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus?
Yes, Christians are called to be selfless. We’re called to turn our eyes on Jesus and say no to the flesh.
But I’d like you to consider the fact that Jesus didn’t mean denying your basic needs forever when he said to deny yourself.
Jesus doesn’t want you to try and live on 200 calories a day or 2 hours of sleep a night. And He doesn’t want you to neglect the His temple (which is your body).
What Jesus WAS calling us to do is to deny our sinful nature.
So keeping that in mind, let’s look at the world’s version of self-care and God’s version.
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How the World Sees Self-Care
Normally when you google self-care you’ll find tons of blog posts that suggest things like long bubble baths, buying an expensive pair of shoes, ladies trips to Vegas, and nights filled with Netflix, wine and rich chocolate.
This is how the world views self-care.
It screams “me me me” and offers a reasonable excuse for self-indulgence: self-care.
I’m not against a designer purse or an essential oil-filled bath, but can I suggest that self-care needs to go deeper than just a weekend away?
God’s Version of Self-Care
If we look at self-care the way the world does, we’ll end up resenting our families if we don’t get at least an hour of me time everyday. We end up believing the lie that we work hard, so we are ENTITLED to get something in return.
When I look in the Bible, I see a Savior who had about 33 years to accomplish the mission of saving the ENTIRE world. Now that’s a job description!
Jesus understood what it was like to be busy. He had crowds following Him everywhere, demanding that He heal them, pray for them, help them, and even feed them.
If anyone needed self-care, it was Jesus. How did He rest? How did He rejuvenate His mind? One huge lesson that we can learn from the life of Jesus is that self-care is ultimately about finding your rest in God alone.
Self-Care Ideas for Christian Mamas
So let’s get to the practical side of self-care and what it can look like for Christian mamas.
Get in the Word
Have you ever been in the tangible presence of God? Maybe at a youth camp or specific church service? Do you leave feeling depleted or full?
I remember an experience I had at the altar when God spoke to my heart. I left that place feeling more joy and energy and excitement for what He was doing in my life than a thousand getaway weekends could have ever given me.
Jesus was in the Word and spent time in prayer daily. Often, we don’t see prayer as restorative, but it absolutely can be.
Jesus didn’t see prayer as a drudging task. He saw it for what it truly is: restorative. We can do the same thing.
Mom Tip: Start to see your prayer time as a relationship rather than a to do list. Don’t give yourself a set amount to read each day, just take a short passage, meditate on it and ask The Lord to show you how you can apply it to your life that day.
Taking Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body is important, so important that I’ve written several posts on it! Just click on links below!
- Enough sleep and quality rest
- Adventure time: Make an exotic dish for dinner or make up a scavenger hunt in your home town
- Time with Friends: Have a Chopped contest or join a softball team
- Solitude: curl up with a good book and a cup of tea or have a bubble bath with candles lit, having a soothing routine of washing your face every night
- Unplug: don’t check instagram or Facebook, turn off your phone on Sunday afternoons
- A healthy relationship with food
- Heal your relationship with food
- Stop seeing yourself as good or bad by what you eat
- Don’t depend on the scale for success
- Dining and not just eating
- Enjoying food
- Having table time with your family
- Taking the stress out of eating
- Creating a worship experience in your workout
- Being thankful for what your body can do
- Healthy family time
- Everything from playing laser tag to planting a family tree
Cultivating Your Marriage
The closer you are to your spouse, the more rest you will experience. Taking care of your marriage is the same as taking care of your self.
We try not to talk about work or the kids, but I’ll be honest, sometimes it happens. And it doesn’t always include a fancy restaurant or dressing up. Sometimes, it’s making dinner together and just sitting and talking without the interruptions of a regular day.
My husband and I work together, but we still take time to be together one-on-one. We work hard to have a weekly date night. It doesn’t happen every week, but we work to get at least three date nights a month.
Whatever you do, work to cultivate your marriage. Value it enough to include it in your self-care.
Mom Tip: When friends or family offer to watch the kids, take them up on it! Instead of using the time to run errands or go grocery shopping, invest the time in your relationship with your husband!
Edifying Christian Relationships
Don’t underestimate the power of Christian friendship.
When I was growing up, my mom always said, “Ashley, be kind and friendly to everyone, but choose your best friends wisely. Make sure they love Jesus.”
We all know those friends who we love to vent to, the ones who help us rationalize when we’ve done something wrong. Those people are NOT the friends I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about friends that will encourage you to do what God wants you to do. Friends that will help you fight for your marriage, friends who encourage you to be a more godly parent.
It takes time to find these kinds of friends, but it’s worth it! And when you find them, here’s some ideas for getting together:
Ideas for Girls Day/Night Out
- a Christmas light tour in a limo
- getting dressed up for dinner at a super nice restaurant
- attending a local symphony or play
- trying out a hibachi restaurant
- try your hand and painting or pottery
- meet up to chat at a coffee shop
- schedule a weekly Bible study
- or get your kids together for a play date and hang out while they play
Paying It Forward
I read a quote from a popular book that said, “Being occasionally inconvenienced is a part of life, and if you’re willing to [serve others], then you better be willing to demand that they do it for you.”
This quote makes me so sad. Because serving others is a huge joy in my life. If we only serve people who can “pay us back” then it’s not really serving, it’s just trading something we have for something we want.
Mark 10:45 says that Jesus came, “not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.”
I’m so thankful that Jesus didn’t live by the words of the book that I quoted earlier. I’m thankful that He was willing to serve and give His life for me without demanding that I give Him anything back.
And the Bible says that He was able to endure the cross because of the JOY that was set before Him.
Serving others can bring us so much rest and joy, and that’s what self-care is all about. It’s about filling our cup by obeying God by serving others, by spending time with Him, by cultivating the relationships that spur us on to follow Him.
Mom Tip: Find a way to “Pay it Forward” that incorporates something you love doing! Do you enjoy decorating for events? Talk with the women’s leader at your local church! I bet she’d love some help decorating for their next event! Do you enjoy baking? See if there are shut-ins in your church or community who would appreciate a meal!
What Self-Care is Really About
Ultimately, self-care isn’t about us, it’s about Jesus. When we focus on Christ, He will make sure we’re renewed day by day. God’s Word is filled with Scripture where God promises rest with we seek Him. Here are some of my favorite verses:
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 23:1-3, “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul…”
Avoid “Self-Care” that Replaces the Holy Spirit in Your Life
There’s one other thing I wanted to share in this post that is truly from my heart about this issues.
I want to encourage you, compel you even, to avoid self-care that attempts to replace the Holy Spirit in your life.
Recently, I was talking with a friend, and she mentioned how certain types of self-care have become a substitute for the Holy Spirit.
If your self-care is the only way that you can wind down at the end of a hard day, if it’s the only way you can work up the courage to be bold, zone out, or forget your problems, then that type of “self-care” is NOT God’s will for you.
I know that is a bold statement, but God has already given us a Helper to handle life’s issues. And no form of self-care can measure up to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, our Advocate, our Counselor, He gives us boldness, and He teaches us.
So please be wary of the world’s poor alternative for the beauty and peace that only God can provide.
Self-care is important and is godly, if we begin to view it God’s way!