I love the idea of self care. Any time the subject comes up, bubble baths, pedicures, and early bedtimes are inevitably mentioned. Who wouldn’t want to jump on board?
But in reality, I struggle with self- care. Very much. The whole idea seems…selfish. And selfishness is definitely not in the character qualities of a ‘good Christian.’ Besides, I am un-intentionally pretty good about self-care already. I do yoga, I take luxuriously long showers, I buy the expensive lotion, I sometimes even take naps. My introverted soul can’t help but saying no often and carving out time for couch sitting marathons, moving only for coffee refills and trips to the library to check out another book.
So when all the experts start yammering about how we need to be better about taking care of ourselves, and when all the Christians start reminding me that loving our neighbors as ourselves inherently means that we love ourself, I filter out their advice. I’ve got this covered. I’m a self-care pro. In fact, if I hear one more lecture about self-care I’ll probably resort entirely to pampering myself and caring for no one else again. Ever.
All this spews from my mouth as I shove a few Oreos in my face and go right to sitting on the couch after a long run, forgoing any post-run stretches and forgetting protein exists for the third day in a row.
Maybe I’m not as good at self-care as I thought.
Maybe I’m just good at being lazy.
Self-care is hard for everyone. It’s just different aspects that are hard. For you, it might be taking a Sunday afternoon nap after a long week. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. I’ll nap enough for both of us. I’m just struggling with, well, a whole lot of things if I’m honest:
Balanced, regular eating.
I’m really not a veggie fan. I go without protein for days and wonder why I feel weird. I survived an entire year on Starbucks scones and iced coffees. If my husband is out of town I forget entirely that three meals a day is a healthy pattern to follow. And why do I keep consuming the food that I know makes me feel rotten? We don’t even need to talk about the vitamins my doctor told me to take.
Speaking about doctors… scheduling a dentist appointment is just too large of a task. Why is it so hard to make a check up appointment or even go to the doctor when I’m pretty sure I feel like death and was just exposed to strep throat?
Going to bed on time
I’ve been walking around in a sleepy funk for two weeks straight but somehow can’t convince myself to go to bed an hour earlier. It’s just more fun to stay up and watch TV or read children’s books.
I know I love to play piano. I know writing brings me life. I know getting photos in a scrapbook and framing them with scraps of pretty paper makes me happy. But actually sitting down and doing these things seems like too much of a hassle.
Making time for friends
Yes, I am an introvert. But a coffee date with a good friend can fill up my heart like nothing else. And yet I neglect to pick up the phone to set up a time to connect. That text is a lot of work.
Vitamin D consumption
This is especially ridiculous. I live in the mountains. I love the outdoors. The sun supposedly shines on my state 300 days a year. And yet, I like my couch. Winter is especially hard. I don’t want to pull on my boots and coat when I could stay cozied up in a blanket.
I think the conclusion we can make here is that I am a hermit.
But also: self-care isn’t easy.
I’ve been reading through Exodus lately. The story is moving along with excitement and drama and then we get to the part about how the tabernacle should be made. Pages and pages devoted to describing a tent. But it was not merely a tent. It was the place God dwelled. And for that reason the most intricate details were painstakingly explained because the place where the most Holy God was to live needed to be cared for.
God no longer dwells in a tent. He’s chosen us – HUMANS – as his dwelling place. Shouldn’t we put some effort into taking care of these tabernacles?