Has self-care become the new god in the Western World? So instead of worshipping carved images out of wood or metal, many people now worship themselves? For example, when I look up “self-care” on Google, there are over 19,000 searches a month on this topic. But is self-care bad? It depends. We are going to look at where self-care for women crosses the line to become our god.
What is self-care really?
In its simplest form, self-care can be defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” (Oxford Languages Dictionary). Sounds pretty straightforward. No red flags here.
Expanding the definition a little further, Oxford Languages says, “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” Still not too bad. There is only one word that maybe is questionable. Can you spot it?
If that is all there is to today’s self-care movement, why would God be concerned?
Is self-care a new concept?
Self-care really is not new. It dates back to Socrates or earlier. However, it has gained momentum in the last few years. As a result, self-care has become a giant industry. Merchandisers have sold it, hook, line, and sinker, to crowds of people as one of the most important preventative health care issues of our time.
Self-care for women has been touted by some as the cure-all for depression, anxiety, insecurity, and a host of other problems. Just say “no” and put yourself first. Delve deep into yourself and find your inner strength. Become the best version of yourself that you can be.
So it sounds like life should revolve around me. But don’t get me wrong as there are some pieces of truth here. However, that is the way the evil one packages his strategies against us. He gives us just enough truth so we won’t question the rest.
Examples of self-care for women
Self-care is a BIG buzzword these days for both men and women. But women seem to join in on this bandwagon more willingly. Let me assure you, though, that there are many self-care practices that raise no questions or red flags.
Generic self-care for women
“Generic” means things that benefit all genders, ages, races, economic classes, and religions. It does not exclude anyone.
- Eating healthy
- Exercising regularly
- Learning how to cope with stress
- Getting enough sleep
- Drinking enough water
- Breathing clean air
- Getting an annual physical
- Brushing your teeth regularly
- Washing your hands frequently
Specific self-care for women
- Getting an annual mamogram
- Having an annual pap test
- Receiving prenatal care
What does the Bible say about self-care for women
You will not find the words “self-care” in the Bible. However, the concept is there.
Bible verses about self-care for women
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” I Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV
“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31b
So it is clear that God expects us to be good stewards of all that we have been given, including our bodies, minds, and spirits. Certainly, we couldn’t possibly fulfill God’s commands to love, comfort, encourage and spur each other on to good works if we neglect ourselves and fall apart in one of these three dimensions.
Biblical self-care for women is not selfish
Biblical self-care is not being self-centered. It is quite the opposite. For example, it is recognizing that we are finite and can’t burn the candle at both ends without negative consequences. During Jesus’ time here on earth, He withdrew to quiet places for rest and reflection. He tells us to go to Him for spiritual and emotional rest when we are burdened (Matthew 11).
But there is more to self-care than having fun and relaxation. It requires discipline. Healthy self-care realizes that we are not God and that we need Him and the care that He gives. He wrote the owner’s manual for humans. It is God who designed us and knows what exactly we need. Therefore, we might have to say “no” to some good things to have the better things God wants for us. Biblical Self-care is God-focused. It looks to Jesus to meet our needs.
Questionable self-care for women
Just about any self-care routine can become questionable. It all has to do with our attitudes and intent.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16
“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
So these are the women who put their own desires above their family, friends, and God. They feel entitled to have and do what they want in the name of self-care. Their goal is not to serve God, but to serve themselves.
” But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
“But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” 1 Timothy 5:6
To indulge means, “to allow (someone) to have or do something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate, etc.” (Mirriam Webster Dictionary)
These are women who think things like, “I should be able to sleep until noon whenever I want” when they know they have responsibilities. Or, They might think, “I want this new outfit because it will make me feel beautiful” when they don’t have the finances to pay for it.
So is there something wrong with sleep or a new outfit? Absolutely not. It is the fact that the woman is controlled by what she wants.
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV
Trying to find strength from within ourselves
“Do you see a man (or woman) who is wise in his (her) own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him (her).” Proverbs 26:12 (emphasis added)
“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
“Vain is the salvation of man (woman)!” Psalm 108:12b (emphasis added)
These are the women who “Delve deep into themselves to find their inner strength”. The problem with this is that the Bible says apart from God we are nothing. We were created to need Him. The apostle Paul said about his personal weakness:
“But he (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (emphasis added)
How can women honor God in their self-care?
You are not likely to read about testing your routines in most self-care articles. However, this is what will prevent your activities from crossing the line from the worship of God to the worship of self.
Testing your self-care
There are a few questions that we should ask ourselves about our self-care routines.
- Am I trying to find my answers to life from within myself or from God?
- Do I have any hessitancy about this activity? Why?
- Is there any Scripture that forbids this activity?
- Will I be indulging myself at the expense of others?
- Am I so self-focused that I am not aware of those around me?
Biblical self-care for women
We need to take care of our bodies and minds so that we can effectively serve God and serve others. Biblical self-care is God-centered, not me-centered. With that in mind, here is self-care that will never cross the line to being an idol.
- Love the Lord God with all your heart, and your soul and spirit will be nourished automatically.
- Love others as your love yourself, and you will feel fulfilled.
- Read the scriptures daily and you will gain wisdom.
- Pray often and you will gain inner strength.
- Take care of your body because it is the temple of the living God.
Self-care for women in and of itself is not evil. “Caring for our bodies and minds should not come from a pursuit of our own comfort and pleasure, but from an act of worship and submission to God.” (1) There is nothing wrong with comfort and pleasure, but it should not be our ultimate goal.
The first step in healthy self-care for women is to know Jesus personally. If you have questions about this, you can call, text, or chat with the people at Chat About Jesus. Their toll-free phone number is 1-888-NEED-HIM. Someone is waiting there to help answer your questions.
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