I once thought self care was selfish and that it only benefitted me. I used to feel that the best way to care for others was to put everyone else’s needs first. This meant working 12-14 hour days at times without eating anything. It meant giving to others at times until I was struggling financially. It meant sometimes praying for others when I had not had my own quiet time with the Lord. While others may have been helped, I was often depleted, trying to pour from an empty cup.
Recently, I started developing some daily habits that fill my cup so I can effectively pour into the lives of others: prayer, meditation, exercise, eating well, listening to uplifting recordings and affirmations, and reading. These practices have made all the difference in my life.
One morning, I got a late start and was about to rush into trying to prepare for work. I felt like I heard the Lord say, “Fill up on Me, first.” His gentle conviction prompted me to sit quietly before Him. My day flowed beautifully as a result.
Self Care is Love for God, Ourselves, & Others
Contrary to my old belief, rest and self care are not selfish. Instead, these practices demonstrate love for God, love for ourselves, and love for others.
Self care is love for God because God ordains rest for us. He Himself rested after creating the world. He did not do it because He was tired. He did it to show us a pattern of work and rest to live by. In fact, He calls us to a weekly day of rest and worship with the Sabbath. The song “Fill My Cup, Lord” originates from Psalm 23:5 “…my cup runneth over.”
Self care is love for ourselves because it replenishes our spirit and soul. We are more resilient and able to handle life’s stresses when we feel our best physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We get more done, learn more about ourselves, gain more confidence, improve our resistance to disease, and drink from God’s overflow to accomplish His vision for our lives.
Self care is love for others because we make the best impact in the lives of others when we are full of God’s life ourselves. Consider what flight attendants tell us on the plane. In case of turbulence, if oxygen masks fall, we have to put our own masks on first, then help others with theirs. We take care of our physical safety first so we can take care of others. If we do not do it for ourselves, no one else will do it for us. We cannot effectively serve others from empty vessels.
What’s one thing you can do today to take care of yourself? Do it and share your results below. I’d love to hear from you :).