Alright, is it just me, or are you also feeling conflicted and pulled in two different directions by the world and by your faith when it comes to self-love?
You feel like self-care and self-denial are the extremes, and you have to choose.
So you either neglect your wellness and health in the name of “selflessness”, or you feel guilty for spending the money on a gym membership that you really don’t “need.” (Been there!)
While it may feel like it’s one or the other, in this episode of the SHE podcast, I’m here to tell you that’s just not true. It’s possible to care for yourself while also dying to self.
SELF-LOVE AND SELF-DENIAL
But what does the Bible say about “self-love”? After all, I have yet to find a Scripture where Jesus is investing in organic produce and cycling classes for his own wellness.
While this may be true, even Jesus took time to rest – to get away, and to care for his body and soul.
And as humans, let’s face it, we are naturally lovers of self.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What if you don’t even like yourself? What if you’re insecure about your acne or weight? What if you have a laundry list of ways you wish you were different?
You may not be treating yourself in a loving way, but your natural disposition, just like me and every other non-robot, is still to be self-protective and self-focused.
So when the Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself,” it’s a calling to love others just as we naturally love and focus on ourselves.
When you begin to have this mindset, the purpose of your self-care shifts from making yourself feel great, to being restored so that you can love others
To use the analogy, put on your oxygen mask first, but don’t stop there. Go and help put someone else’s on.
The Christian life is a journey of dying to self, of unlearning our tendencies towards selfishness, and, instead, learning self-forgetfulness
STEWARDSHIP IS NOT SELFISHNESS
Let me be one hundred percent clear: this doesn’t mean you’re called to self-neglect.
Some of you may be there thinking, “Okay, so dying to self means not giving myself what I need or want or what would be good for me.- I need to instead use that time, money, and energy to serve others!”
Um, no, that’s not what it means at all.
Your body is the vehicle that God has entrusted to you through which you’re able to serve
So, to the woman who feels like she can’t do or buy anything for herself, hear me on this. Investing in your health is an investment in your future, family, and legacy- it’s not a frivolous, vain purchase.
And it’s an investment worth making because it’s not about just “being your best self,” it’s about laying your life down for those you love.
When you are well (not perfect, but well), you’re better able to serve, love, and steward all other aspects of your life well.
Your health is a priority, not a luxury.
So honestly ask yourself: what would change in your life if you chose to value how you care for yourself as being a part of how you practice good stewardship?
What if you looked at your health and wellness as being a part of how you brought glory to God, rather than to yourself?
Back in Genesis 2, the first job humans were given was to cultivate a garden – to manage the very thing that produced food for their nourishment.
Matt and I recently planted a new garden in our backyard. And as I’ve started planting seeds, pulling weeds, and watering sprouts, I’m reminded that my life (and your life) is just like a garden.
Like a garden, we’re called to tend to our life and take care of it so that we’re able to produce fruit and nourish those around us.
So take whatever next, small steps are in your means to take, not for the sake of outward appearances or fun experiences, but to practice good stewardship.
Your life is a garden.
For the sake of those you serve, tend to it well.
A BIBLICAL TAKE ON SELF-LOVE
Whether you lean towards selfishness or self-neglect when it comes to how you care for your health and wellness, none of us are perfect, but we can still take steps towards growth.
And if you aren’t quite sure what next steps to take, tune in to the full episode to learn:
- What it means to “love your neighbor as yourself”
- The Biblical purpose of self-care
- Why self-love and self-denial are not mutually exclusive
- The difference between stewardship and selfishness
- Why it’s not vain to invest in your health
- Practical ways to prioritize your wellness
After giving it a listen, I’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments: what next step (no matter how small!) are you going to take towards being a better steward of your health and wellness?