3 Reasons to Make Self-Care a Priority
Today, self-care for me was watching Netflix and eating chocolate chip cookies in my bed. No, that's not the healthiest version of self-care I could have chosen, but it was all I could muster. I also took a nap. Because seriously, being a mom is hard. Sometimes it's cry-your-face-off-into-your-pillow hard. It's not a role that any woman can survive without learning how to take care of herself.
For every mom, self-care needs to be a priority. It's your responsibility to take care of yourself--no one else can do it for you. Sure, your husband or other family and friends can support you (and they should!) but ultimately, we cannot rely on others to take care of us. In fact, it would be unhealthy to expect others to fill those needs.
The only one we can rely on to fill our needs is God. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit within us. This means learning to listen to your body, to pay attention to your physical capabilities, and your emotional limits. Since He is our creator and knows us better than we know ourselves, it's important to connect with God and understand how we can best care for ourselves.
Self-care is not selfish when we seek God first.
1. It honors what God created.
As moms, we spend a lot of time taking care of our children; we pride ourselves in taking good care of our children. Why? Because they are ours. Whether a child was created in our own womb or not, the moment that child becomes ours, it becomes our top priority to ensure his or her care.
We don't want to see our kids become hungry, dirty, overtired, stressed, anxious, or suffering. As our children become older and more independent, it can cause us emotional pain to see the results of their poor choices.
Neither does God want to see His own children--the ones who He took great care to create--slipping into a state of physical or emotional depletion.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
When we honor our own bodies by taking care of ourselves, we honor God as our creator and our Father. Self-care expresses our gratitude for the gift of life that God has given us.
2. It maximizes the impact of our lives.
If you're alive and breathing, you have work to do. God has given each one of us life so that we can impact this world. The unique gifts, abilities, and strengths He has given us are meant to be used.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
If we truly allow ourselves to believe that God made us on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose, then we have no choice but to live our lives to the best of our abilities. That means taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so that we are ready for what God places in front of us.
Whether it's parenting with patience, being a positive role model for young women, or traveling around the world to teach people about Jesus, we cannot give of ourselves if we're already depleted.
We often think we need to ignore our needs to meet the needs of others, but that's not true. We need to make it a priority to connect with God and allow Him to fill our needs so that we can serve out of an overflowing cup, not an empty one.
3. It minimizes our discontentment.
Women, especially moms, have an uncanny ability to neglect themselves and then pass the blame on everyone else around them. It's too easy to start feeling bitterness and resentment towards the people in our lives when we feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
That resentment always leads to discontentment and ungratefulness for the life we've been given and the people we get to serve.
When we make it a priority to take care of ourselves, we are not only better at our roles but we also enjoy them more. There is a feeling of peace and joy when your soul is nourished; that peace becomes a shining light that spreads outward into your entire life, relationships, and circumstances.
I'll say it again: self-care is not selfish when it's sought with God and others in mind. Make it a priority to take care of yourself and you will see the positive benefits in your relationship with God, with yourself, and with others.