For people who have a heart to serve, one of the biggest challenges can be taking care of self. We know we need time off. We know we can’t go full-tilt forever. We know our bodies and minds need rest. But many of us still feel guilty for making ourselves a priority.
We feel like maybe we’re short-changing God when we take a break. Or we wonder what’s going to happen to the people we’ve been helping while we’re away. Or a small part of us feels irresponsible for choosing to rest and relax.
Will God really be pleased with me if I’m not working hard for Him every waking moment?
Am I letting other people down if I make myself unavailable to them for a time?
Can I really be a good Christian if I say “no” when someone asks for help or if I don’t wear myself out in Jesus’ name?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably grappled with some variation of these questions. Maybe you still do. I had a revelation a while back that really helps with this struggle—taking care of yourself is actually good stewardship.
Your mind, body, and spirit are all on loan from God. They’re entrusted to you for a season so that you can get the most out of them for His glory. Just like your money, your material blessings, and your time. We always talk about being good stewards over those gifts, but we need to start talking about our health—physical, mental, and spiritual—in the same way.
God expects us to cherish and care for every blessing He provides. If you want to honor Him, you must take care of your body. You have to take time to feed your spirit and rest your mind. It’s not optional! It’s the obligation of every obedient servant.
As in all things, the Teacher showed us the way. Luke 5:16 says that Jesus often slipped away to the wilderness to be alone and commune with the Father. If the Savior Himself needed solitude and silence from time to time…what makes you think you don’t?
Your personal well-being (one of your greatest blessings, by the way) should be intentionally protected and carefully preserved for the fulfilling of God’s purposes. Not only is it okay to set boundaries around your soul and your sanity, it’s necessary to do so.
Self-care isn’t selfishness. In fact, taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to take care of others.
When your cup runs over, it overflows onto those around you. But if you never take the time to refill, you’ll eventually run dry.
When you take time off or step away for a while, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian. It doesn’t make you an unprofitable servant. It means you’re human, and it makes you more effective in the long-run when you take care of everything God gave you, including you.
And remember, the world isn’t going to stop turning because you go on hiatus. You may have developed a pride problem if you’ve begun to believe the show can’t go on without you. We’re all replaceable, and God’s always got a ram in the bush. Be careful not to think more highly of yourself than you should.
There’s always going to be work that’s needs to be done. But you can’t do it if you’re broken down and exhausted. There will always be people who need help and support. But sacrificing yourself isn’t going to save anyone. Only Jesus had that power.
And even He had enough sense to sit down and rest every now and then.
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