Bible VersesChristian Life

Self Love versus Self-Care

self-care

When my focus is on Christ, then my life suddenly becomes clear.  But when the focus is changed to me, that's when everything starts to look a bit blurry. Change your focus onto Christ, and not onto self.

But for Christians, the idea of self-love is a hot-button. A danger sign. Lights and Sirens start going off. I was quickly reminded of verses I had been taught against self-love. So nope, ain't going there. "Good Christians don't do that" was my motto.  Sadly, a bad motto it was. Because the ideas of self-love and self-care are very different concepts.

Now before you call me a heretic, and lump me in the same category as false prophets. Let me remind you of the verses of which you're probably thinking of.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: - Eph 5:29

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. - John 15:12 

Mark 12:31  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 These verses are generally accepted by most Christians as a reminder to love others.  In fact, nowhere in scripture is anyone commanded to love themselves.
On the opposite end, the view is completely different. Psychology Today states that self love is "a deeper inner peace requires cultivating a certain way of being with ourselves. A warm and nurturing attitude toward what we experience inside."  While this sounds all nice and fuzzy, the problem is this.

It's not dealing with the issue of my sinful heart and expressions of it.  It's not dealing with anger, bitterness, thoughts of lust, laziness, unkind actions.

This is where I strongly disagree with the self-love movement. Loving myself more and accepting myself means I don't need God. I don't have to do the hard work and rely on Him.

What is important? Am I doing what is possible in my power to accomplish this goal?

I as a Christian have forgotten what it truly means to do ALL to the Glory of God!  And the people around me need a better response than, "Well, Christians just don't do that. It's selfishness"

Click To Tweet

So when I hear that "I need to love myself more so I can love others better", I translate it to this.  Is what I'm doing, actually preparing and readying me to give God the glory?  Will God look bigger or better in the eyes of the lost world? Is my self-care really allowing me to find the right kind of rest?

Asking questions like this make me feel all warm and spiritually fuzzy. Kind of like putting on my Batman spiritual cape, and off to slay all the evils of the world.

But no, it's not that glamorous. It's bringing it down to my world, to my city, to my house...to me.self care

Questions quickly filter down to ones like.....Is staying up past midnight finish binge-watching my favorite show actually going to make me a better mom tomorrow?

Is skipping exercising because I don't feel like it or I'm tired today going to help me in shape?

Eating a humongous piece of chocolate cake so I don't feel the guilt of skipping exercising really going to assist me

Agreeing to help out in an 18th way at church, because I'm too afraid to say no, is that really going to give God the glory?

When I change my focus to OFF of me, and onto Christ, I realize that I need to learn to go to bed on time.  I realize that I have to set aside time for self-care. Not skipping exercising. Eat a small piece of cake, and learning to say NO.

As Paul instructs in 1 Cor 9:27, I have to bring my body under subjection. I have to control the bad and the good where I can. I have to say no to extra things even though they may seem really good.

I jokingly tell people that I'm worthless if I don't get enough sleep. But the truth is, I'm not a good mom or wife...or even a good Christian when I don't get enough sleep. I've had to admit that I would rather drown my troubles in a piece of the dessert than deal with anger or my impatient attitude towards my children.

My heart, my sinful heart, is what needs true love. The love that only Christ can bring.

My heart, my sinful heart, is what needs true love. The love that only Christ can bring. Click To Tweet

I'm not just talking about salvation, as that is just the beginning.  It's a renewed focus to keep a right heart before Christ.  Asking for forgiveness of those we have wronged. Being truthful in our responses.

That is the ultimate self-care that I can give to myself because then Christ is made bigger in my life. He is the one who receives the attention.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. Col 1:18

He is magnified.

11 thoughts on “Self Love versus Self-Care

  1. I like the way you have personalised this topic, saying love yourself has a better impact when you add in what difference it makes to your life.

  2. Wow! This is a very poignant topic. Definitely promotes thought particularly if you’re negligent in taking care of or loving ones self.

    1. I feel in some aspects everyone struggles, but it helps to keep our focus on the right things. Thanks for reading 💜

  3. That is a really interesting perspective. As someone who is healing from Bell’s Palsy, I recognize that “Self-Care” is very important. As a Christian, I believe that we should love ourselves as well. I like how you reframed the “worldly” concept and brought it back in to focus!

    1. Thank you! So sorry about the Bell’s Palsy! The Registered nurse in me wishes you a speedy recovery as you heal ❤️

  4. Wow, beautifully said! I for one, do not love myself in the right ways and have made this a goal for the year. Can’t make progress with changes unless you love yourself first! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Learning the right kind of self-care has been so helpful to me in 2017, I hope that you too will find the best goals and care in 2018. Thanks for reading, Heather!