Caring for Me? Really?
Exercise! Work out! Care for yourself! These mantras flood social media, articles, and websites especially at the start of the new year. Honestly, it’s easy for those good meaning mantras to become irritating. We feel guilty for not caring for ourselves, for not working out enough, or for not having discipline. The positive slogans that we see can actually discourage rather than empower us. Then we actually take the time to work out or be in life-giving situations-AND-feel guilty the whole time! Sound familiar?
So often sleep, exercise, healthy food, and rest are ignored until we feel guilty or our physical strength is drained. How do we choose to care for ourselves without feeling shame? How can we choose wisely with our health without feeling guilty for caring?
There are a few other motivating thoughts when guilt starts to creep in-
1. Your well-being is important
By choosing to make wise choices for your physical well-being you must believe that you are important to God. It can be easy to believe that our work is more important, or what we do for God is more important than us. In reality, God desires you. Caring for yourself is not taking time away from tasks, it is acknowledging that you are important to God as well.
2. You set the example
Those who follow your leadership follow your example. If you show by your actions that you do not value your physical well-being those who look up to you will not either. What would you like your students to remember? Know that your actions will influence them, and choose to live in a way that others can copy.
3. Your health affects more than just you
We can believe that caring for our health is a selfish choice. In reality, our health affects each person we minister too. If we are unhealthy we have less energy. If our health is failing, our families will be stressed as they care for us. All of those around us are impacted by the ripple of our physical health.
4. You develop character
Caring for your physical body takes discipline. You have to set aside time, energy, and resources. It is not always easy. Even though it may seem small you are developing perseverance, patience, and self-control through caring for yourself. As you decide to make your well-being a priority you will grow those character traits as well.
5. You can do it
Choose something small. Don’t decide to change your entire lifestyle or all your eating habits at once. You will feel guilty because you will probably struggle to maintain that decision. Pick something you can conquer. Maybe it’s drinking 6 cups of water a day. Start doing that-January 1st with a goal about 3 weeks out. When you have conquered that goal-celebrate! Tell your best friend! AND then, start on another goal. This may sound so easy, but with every victory, your confidence will grow. If you start with a plan that you know you can succeed at, then you will have a greater likelihood of accomplishing that goal.
When our bodies feel awesome, we have more energy. We are better equipped to love God and to love those around us. Never underestimate the importance of setting aside time to care for your well-being. It will impact your relationship with God and others as you value who you were created to be.
Rebecca Brandt is studying leadership at Asbury Theological Seminary. When she is not planning a community event in her apartment, you can find her at the local coffee shop drinking dark coffee. She is passionate about the next generation and equipping those who will lead it. You can connect with her via Facebook or @rebeccatheradiant.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.