This post is by Cheryl Gilbert.
Most of us love a good manicure or facial, some retail therapy, or the occasional girlfriends’ weekend away. We hit the jackpot if we can manage to combine the three! Sometimes we just feel the need to “tune out” - whether it takes the form of scrolling social media, binge-watching a favorite show, or finding a quiet corner to flip through a magazine and sip a glass of wine. The good news is that none of these common “self-care” techniques are inherently wrong; being a Christian woman does not prohibit us from enjoying these activities. They can, however, become problematic, and even addictive in some cases, when we elevate our perceived need for these outlets above our real need for time with God.
In a culture rife with the ideals of self-care and self-help, where much is made of our individualistic desire to feel valued, content, and appreciated, it’s easy to separate “God time” from “me time.” But should we? Largely in our culture, self is replacing God. We see it daily in the promotion of “living our best life,” and in the fact that speaking one’s own truth is celebrated while speaking of one Truth is deprecated. To be sure, it is important that we nourish, move, and rest our bodies, that we engage our minds, and that we connect with others in healthy relationships. In fact, scripture says we are to rest just as God rested (Hebrews 4:9-11). What’s more, God wants to continually satisfy our desires, to make us strong, to refresh us “like a watered garden, like a spring of water” (Isaiah 58:11). That is not, however, the whole picture; He wants us to experience these joys and comforts with Him, not just in addition to Him, and certainly not in place of Him.
The enemy loves manipulation, and he’s excellent at convincing us that what we really need to feel refreshed is a “brain break,” and that spending time with God does not constitute rest or refreshment. The enemy effectively convinces us that God time is too hard, too much work. The truth, however, is quite the opposite. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that we who hope in the Lord will find our strength renewed, that will “run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.”
Time with God is refreshing; it helps us find motivation, energy, strength, and stamina for all the tasks, roles, and relationships that exhaust and drain us. Let’s shift from thinking of “God time” and “me time” as mutually exclusive, to realizing that they are mutually beneficial and inextricably linked. Spending time with God is actually the best possible self-care. Paul says in Galatians 2:20 that “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” So let’s let our faith drive our self-care.
By spending time with God - conversing with Him in prayer, seeking Him in His word, worshiping Him - we are in fact providing care for the most important part of our innermost being: the Holy Spirit placed there by the almighty God. Jesus tells us, as He told Martha in Luke 10, that the only thing we really need is time spent in His presence.
Cheryl Gilbert is a loving wife, proud mom, voracious reader, beach fanatic, sun-seeker, and - most important - Jesus follower, living in the Pacific Northwest. She is a cancer survivor, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Personal Trainer, Enneagram 3, and the Youth & Kids Administrator at her church. She is passionate about sharing the connection between physical and spiritual health and has a deep desire to share and model the love of Christ. Cheryl feels closest to God and most grounded when near the water, and treasures her front porch writing spot with a peek-a-boo view of Lake Sammamish.
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