Should Self-Care Be One of Your Duties in Life?
By Mary Arcement Alexander
Websterâ€™s dictionary defines duty as one of the following: a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility or a task or action that someone is required to perform. Typically when people think of the word â€śduty,â€ť work comes to mind as well as parenting, abiding the law, voting and/or paying taxes. But I would like to pose this question: Is self-care a duty or a choice? Letâ€™s look at this from Godâ€™s perspective.
â€śOr do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.â€ť 1Cor. 6:19-20.
â€śGlorify God in your body.â€ť Let this one phrase sink in, really sink in, and then answer this question: Is how you treat your body glorifying God? I have a strong feeling your answer is probably â€śno.â€ť So often we as Christians will know and even speak of how we are made in His image or how our bodies are a temple, yet we often fail at living out this belief. As a counselor, I hear from both women and men, mostly women, about how much they hate their bodies. For some, the hatred is visceral. We know not to hate people, or for that matter, we know not to hate at all. Yet hating of oneâ€™s body is a truth for many and this truth reveals itself in both words and actions. We have control of only two things, our thoughts and our actions. Our feelings will happen on their own. Feeling hatred towards your body is technically out of your control. However, what you do with this feeling (hence thoughts and actions) circles back to what you can control. Would you like to glorify God in your body? If yes, stop wherever you are right now, close your eyes and whisper a quiet thank you to God for your body, just as it is.
â€śVery early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.â€ť Mark 1:35.
Had anyone told me just a few short years ago that I would not only love my time in solitude but Iâ€™d love it in the early morning, I simply would not have believed them. But here I am, relishing each day in the wee hours of the morning where itâ€™s just me, my coffee and God. Silence truly is one of the best gifts in life and Jesus knew it all very well. I believe He too relished in His quiet time with His Father. Imagine for just a moment what it must have felt like to have people always vying for your attention?Â It sounds a bit like motherhood, wouldnâ€™t you agree, moms? I imagine, just like Jesus, you too want to go off to a solitary place and just be. I believe we all do. Taking time for yourself is not a luxury, it is a must! We all have the same 24 hours in the day, which means we all have the time. And although you may not like it, this time just may be â€śvery early in the morning.â€ť
â€śYou formed my inmost being; you knit me in my motherâ€™s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.â€ť Ps. 139:13-14
Oh how I love this scripture! When I was growing up, my momâ€™s hobby was sewing and quilting. She would sit for hours carefully weaving together the fabric that would evolve into her creation. Whenever I read this scripture, I have this image of God (much like my own mother), sitting in a chair with two large knitting needles in His gentle hands, carefully moving in and out, up and down, back and forth. His smile is brilliant and proud as He slowly begins to see the formation of my hands (His hands), my feet (His feet) all carefully being crafted. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I pose this question again: Is self-care your duty or choice? From what I hear God saying, it is not only our duty, but a way we can best glorify Him.
â€śGod saw all that God had made, and it was very good.â€ť Genesis 1:31