Learning to care for myself has been a difficult task. I want to avoid self-centered habits. After all, the universe does not revolve around my belly button, no matter how much I might believe the opposite. It seems there is a fine line between boundaries and self-care and self-obsessed living. How do I make the distinction?
Honestly…it’s a tough one. But it’s not for lack of a good example. Again, Jesus is a great role model. How did he care for himself and set good boundaries?
First, he took time away from his disciples and people who really needed him to be refreshed. He knew that his success depended upon staying connected to the Father.
After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.Matthew 14:23
He taught his disciples to do the same. Not only did he take them away from the crowds to teach them, he took them away so they could be refreshed.
Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them.Mark 9:30-31
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.Mark 6:31-32
Jesus also knew when to engage in conversation and when to step away. He wasn’t afraid to set boundaries or walk away from situations that would not bear fruit, even if the questions came from powerful people in his culture.
One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”“Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” So they finally replied that they didn’t know. And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”Luke 20:1-8
There are many more illustrations of Jesus refusing to be drawn into useless conversations that served no purpose. He also didn’t need to have others recognize his worth and value because his validation came from His Father.
But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.John 2:24-25
Self-care is about knowing when to engage and when to refrain; it’s knowing when to sleep and when to rise; it’s knowing who I am and embracing that person, not waiting for someone else to do it for me.
I am at my best when I take care of myself. It includes the food I eat, how much sleep I get, how I spend free time, the self-talk I allow in my mind, resting in knowing my value and worth is not dependent upon what I accomplish, awards I win, accolades or affirmations from those around me. Is any of this easy? No way. But the fruit it yields in my life is worth the effort.
Entire books have been written on this topic so the point of today is this: take care of yourself. You will be a better mother, father, sister, brother, friend, worker, PERSON! Taking care of me makes it possible to take better care of you. And that’s true for everyone!