This post is inspired by the wise words of a good friend who prefers to remain anonymous. It’s filled with lessons she learned the hard way. I’m sharing it here in hopes that you can benefit from her wisdom and escape some of her difficulties.
I’ve been learning some difficult lessons about health and rest–physically and spiritually. At this time I’m recovering and determined to take better care of my body–not only by exercising, but also through eating and resting. We all have areas of health where we simply aren’t in control. But, we are responsible for certain aspects such as nourishment, sleep, and saying “no” to good things so we can have balance in our schedules. While stress doesn’t necessarily show itself outwardly, it can manifest itself physically in ways we’d all like to avoid. When we face illness, we ought to trust God for total and complete healing in His time, while still trying to do what we can to become healthier.
For a long time, I deliberately disliked the term “self-care” and considered it selfish. This is false. It finally dawned on me that I’ve been holding myself to nearly impossible standards that I wouldn’t think of imposing on others. Over and over, I’ve physically pushed myself to the limit and beyond. What for? I am not my own. How can I care for others and serve sustainably without a healthy view of who I am?
It boils down to these lessons for me:
- Caring for my body honors God.
- Being relatively thin (by U.S. standards) is not necessarily synonymous with being truly healthy.
- Most of the time, pain is your body telling you that something isn’t right.
- It’s possible, and Biblical to live missionally and sacrificially while also allowing one day of adequate rest each week.
- We aren’t created to just survive, but to really live, and that includes doing things we enjoy like running, cooking, reading just for the joy of it, going to a coffee shop, etc.)
- Christ is honored in our rest just as He is honored in our service.
These seem like the simplest truths, and I’ve shared them with others numerous times, but a time came when I had to learn them the hard way. Perhaps this was the only way I could truly learn for myself. If you’re reading this today, know that you are enough. Your immense value is not tied to whatever occupation you have, nor is it inextricably entwined with your abilities. You are a human being… Not a human doing. I’m reminding myself of this as well.